Winrow back as Elland ring changes

Actions from the game: Barkisland v Micklehurst at Barkisland CC'Pictured batting (Barkisland) is:- Paul Winrow
Actions from the game: Barkisland v Micklehurst at Barkisland CC'Pictured batting (Barkisland) is:- Paul Winrow
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Paul Winrow is back as captain and Dennis Midwood as cricket chairman as Elland CC look to put a miserable 2014 campaign behind them.

An 11th-place finish in the top flight last September was a major disappointment for one of the Huddersfield League’s most successful clubs.

Major surgery was inevitable and the Hullen Edge club’s first team which takes to the field at Skelmanthorpe on April 18 will bear little resemblance to the one which finished last season.

Master batsman Winrow is back from Shelley after just one year away and he will team up again with hard-hitting opening Niall Lockley, who returns from Golcar.

Elland will have an overseas player in 20-year-old seam-bowling all-rounder Nishant Desai. He is from New Zealand but his family has Indian origins.

Desai, who plays for Hutt District CC in Wellington, has played for the Wellington State Under 19 side. He will arrive on April 9. Winrow said: “He will bat at four or five and open the bowling.”

The skipper is also excited by the recruitment of South African born Robin Broom, who has lived in Perth, Western Australia for last few years and has a British passport.

“He has spent the last 18 months in the UK working for Kelloggs and lives in Leeds,” said Winrow.

“He plays first grade cricket in Australia and is a very good player. He is a top order batsman and a leg spinner.”

Winrow said Broom had been recruited via his former University of Western Australia teammate Sean Fox, who played for Elland in 2013.

Elland have also signed three Yorkshire Under 16 squad members.

They are Ben Birkhead, a wicketkeeper/batsman from Rastrick; seam bowling all-rounder Alec Jakeman, the son of ex-Elland player Gary and Midwood’s godson; and leg-spinning all-rounder Siraj Sajid from Delph and Dobcross.

“They are all friends and will play in the firsts, Ben as ‘keeper,” said Winrow, who has led Elland to second and third-placed finishes.

Alistair Finn, Wayne Swift, Ashton Blakey and Will Gardner remain from last year’s side while the departures include 2014 skipper Greg Finn to Woodlands, batsman Fahid Rehman to Methley and quick bowler Wasim Qasim to Delph and Dobcross. Young Aussie batsman Dan Arms was last year’s overseas player.

With Midwood back as cricket chief in place of Mark Ward, it is certainly all change.

The 39-year-old Winrow, whose greatest claim to fame is helping Barkisland win the 2008 Sykes Cup final with 130 against Delph and Dobcross at Honley, is optimistic the new-look side will gel well.

“Obviously we have a lot of new signings. Myself and Wayne are the older heads and there are a lot of younger players, giving us a mix of experience and youth.

“Hopefully we can win our first game or two and get on a bit of a roll.

“We have been training since mid-Jan and we have had fitness sessions at the gym.”

Winrow, who scored almost 700 runs last year but missed a few games with torn ankle ligaments, said it was not all just about the first team’s results.

“The players are getting involved in fund raising and it is important there is a good social side and that we get club back to where it should be.

“It just didn’t happen for Elland last year. The organisation and recruitment wasn’t right.”

Meanwhile, Winrow believes the Huddersfield League can retain its strength in spite of opting out of the Yorkshire pyramid system.

“The players like playing in the Huddersfield League,” he said, adding that most away trips were relatively short.

Elland have a pre-season friendly at Ossett on April 12.