Gavin Hamilton: Overseas player can plug East Bierley's gap

East Bierley second-team captain Dan Abbott looks onto the flooded square after their first-team match against Yeadon was called off

East Bierley second-team captain Dan Abbott looks onto the flooded square after their first-team match against Yeadon was called off

First published in Sport Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Sports Reporter

Skipper Gavin Hamilton is hoping new overseas player pace bowler Muhammad Irshad will kick-start East Bierley’s season in the JCT600 Bradford League.

Bierley have not made the best of starts, with only one win in the first six matches.

But Hamilton believes Irshad "is going to add a bit of value to the team".

The 30-year-old was due to make his debut in the home match against bottom club Yeadon yesterday, but the game was abandoned, along with every other match in the Bradford League.

Rain caused flooding in and around the square, and Hamilton said: “It was as bad as I have seen it for a long time.”

Bierley moved in for an overseas player after Yassir Abbas, who was second in the league’s Division One bowling averages last season, decided to leave for Huddersfield League Hoylandswaine just two weeks before the start of the new campaign.

Hamilton, who has the distinction of having played for both England and Scotland, as well as Yorkshire, was particularly disappointed at the timing of Abbas’s departure.

It might not have mattered if the player’s decision had been made before Christmas, but to leave just before the season began was "extremely disappointing", he said.

“You can only rely on commitment. There has got to be an element of loyalty towards the club,” he added.

Irshad has not played in England before, but he has taken 360 first-class wickets in 101 games in Pakistan and has come recommended from former Bierley players Jaffer Nazir and Muhammad Azharullah, who now plays for Northamptonshire.

“A couple of players pulled out just before the season began and that left us with a hole in the side,” said Hamilton, “and I believe he will make a difference. All the overseas players around the league speak highly of him.

“Everyone has got to prove their worth when they start, but I am sure he will add real value to the team.”

Bierley began the season with heavy defeats against Lightcliffe and Pudsey St Lawrence before beating Pudsey Congs at home – their only win.

Since then they have lost at Bradford & Bingley and seen two matches abandoned.

Hamilton said: “We have got enough quality to take us where we want to be. I don’t think we will be far away. We are more than capable of beating any of the top teams. We have all played together long enough to deal with all manner of crises. I don’t see why we can’t go on a run.

“Our defeat in our last match at Bingley wasn’t disastrous, but it wasn’t good enough and we are looking for more consistency.”

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