Skipper Gary Fellows believes Hanging Heaton have got the ability to challenge for the Bradford League First Division title – they just need the consistency.
His side, whose match at Bradford & Bingley along with all other Bradford League matches was abandoned due to rain, began the season with defeats against Woodlands and New Farnley.
However, they have since won four completed matches in a row against Yeadon, Morley, Lightcliffe and Farsley to leave them fifth in the table, 19 points behind leaders Woodlands.
It’s the sort of consistency Fellows is looking for from his team, who were strengthened by three close season signings.
“We have not had the big scores we planned at the start of the season,” he said.
“But we are a strong batting side and we were able to recruit well over the winter.”
Hanging Heaton lost former Yorkshire leg spinner Mark Lawson to newly-promoted New Farnley, where he took over as captain.
However, they signed all-rounders David Paynter from Morley and Ben Elvidge from Yeadon, plus left-handed opener Nick Connolly from Methley.
“We have got the talent and the ability – it is a question of putting it all together – that is the challenge,” he said.
“It is early in the season and you try not to look at the league table too much – you just try to concentrate on each game and look to put pressure on the more established teams like Cleckheaton, Pudsey St Lawrence and Woodlands.
“We look at the teams who can win the league and realise there are no easy games.
“A lot of teams can beat each other but if we can keep close to the leaders, it only takes a couple of slip-ups and there are big points to be had.”
Like many people in the Bradford League, Fellows admires the all-round strength of 2012 league champions Woodlands, who are fancied to win the title again after finishing third, 26 points behind champions Cleckheaton last season.
“Woodlands are a strong side and they have Chris Brice back in the fold after missing half of last season through injury. He is a quality spinner.”
Fellows believes that having Brice back is of ‘massive importance’ for Woodlands, coupled with match-winning performances from long serving overseas pace bowler Sarfraz Ahmed.
“Everyone aspires to the performances Woodlands produce,” he admitted.
This is Fellows’ second season with Hanging Heaton, whom he joined after winning league and cup honours with Wrenthorpe in the Central Yorkshire League.
He enjoyed a successful first season at Bennett Lane, scoring more than 1,000 league and cup runs and helping his side to reach the Sovereign Health Care Priestley Cup final, where Hanging Heaton were beaten by Lightcliffe.
It is ten years since he retired from first-class cricket but he still retains an interest in his former side Yorkshire.
He said: “I haven’t seen a lot of them because of work – I am business manager for a firm selling motor parts – and playing cricket on Saturdays and Sundays.
“However, I keep in touch with some of the lads I played with and it is great to see Yorkshire doing well and also to see some of the Yorkshire lads playing in the England side. I hope they have some success.
“A strong Yorkshire side makes for a strong England side.”