Harber admits Thackley's top-flight title triumph an unexpected bonus

Thackley celebrate their title success with a few well-deserved beers

Thackley celebrate their title success with a few well-deserved beers

First published in Aire-Wharfe League Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Sports Reporter

Thackley skipper Leon Harber is surprised how little time it has taken his club to become Aire-Wharfe League Division One champions.

They only joined the league in 2000 from the Bradford Central League and were in Division Three – the bottom section – as recently as 2008.

They won that division that year and were promoted again the following season.

“We finished seventh last season and set ourselves a target of finishing in the top five this season,” explained the hard-hitting opening batsman.

“But the good thing is that we kept all the players from last season and made some additional signings.

“We signed Adam Morgan from Derbyshire, who is a student at Leeds University, Shane Marshall from Idle, and Rishad Jain – an off-spinner from India who can bat a bit – as our overseas player.”

However, two players who were at Thackley last season have arguably been the most influential.

Mahir Ali and Nasser Jamal have each taken over 50 wickets, and Harber added: “Mahir has been with us for six years and Nasser has just finished his second season with us.

“We know that Undercliffe and Woodlands etc have been looking at them but they have stayed loyal to us and have taken 120 wickets between them.

“But it hasn’t been all about the two of them. We have five bowlers, with the others chipping in with 20, 18 and 12 wickets, so we aren’t just reliant on Mahir and Nasser performing.”

As for batting, Harber, who joined Thackley five years ago after three years at Windhill, has led the way.

He said: “I missed four games through injury but I have scored 560 runs in 18 innings, Adam Morgan has got 500 runs and we have four who have got 350, which overall is the equivalent of three players getting 600, 700 and 800 runs. Maybe now we will be more attractive as a club to other players, who will realise that they don’t have to go to Beckwithshaw or Burley to get somewhere – they can come to us.”

Harber added: “I am stepping down as captain now as my wife is going to have a baby this year.

“Andy Stothart is taking over as captain next season and I will be vice-captain.”

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