WOODLANDS secretary Brian Pearson has lauded the influence of overseas player Brad Schmulian.

The 29-year-old Kiwi is the top run-scorer in the Bradford Premier League so far this season with 577.

He also proved pivotal in the club’s recent Priestley Cup success too, hitting 68 not out to take Woodlands to cup glory.

Schmulian was first contacted by the club through an agent. As the wheels got rolling on the move, it was time for Pearson to get his research done, knowing full well the risks involved in bringing in an overseas signing.

He said: “We spoke eventually and working through all that, he eventually started talking to us.

“Then I made a number of enquiries into his background as to his credentials.”

In a weird twist of fate, one of those to recommend Schmulian was former New Farnley player Mattie Good, who now lives and plays in New Zealand.

Pearson said: “Mattie Good was one of them and as far as he was concerned, he was a good fit for us.

“There were several others too, in particular James Pamment, who coaches in the IPL and New Zealand.

“Everyone came and said what a good lad he was and how dedicated he is and that he could play cricket.”

The secretary’s extensive research brought up a number of interesting features.

It included the fact Schmulian had been to England before to play in Bournemouth - four or five years ago.

But most eye-catching was he held a record for being the youngest player in New Zealand to hit a double ton.

That pedigree has translated well to the Bradford Premier League.

Pearson said: “Since he’s come, he’s created a balance to the side, which is what we were looking for.

“He bats at three and has given lots of backbone to the batting, which has then probably allowed our other two opening batters to flourish.”

Schmulian also adds extra to the leg-spin bowling armour, but it’s the Kiwi’s competitive yet personable nature that stands out most to Pearson.

He said: “I knew on the journey back from the airport, we had got the right guy, from the questions he asked and what he talked about.

“He’s got a winning mentality and he’s produced winning performances.”

Schmulian has committed to another year with Woodlands - while hoping to establish himself back home at the same time.

This weekend he will hope to help continue his side’s charge to the title in their match at holders Pudsey St Lawrence.

The All Rounder Cricket Bradford Premier League Fixtures (Saturday, August 17, 1:00pm):

Premier Division: Methley v Cleckheaton; Undercliffe v Farsley; Bradford & Bingley v New Farnley; Pudsey St Lawrence v Woodlands; Lightcliffe v Hanging Heaton; Wrenthorpe v Townville.

Championship One: Wakefield St Michael’s v Batley; Baildon v East Bierley; Pudsey Congs v Bankfoot; Scholes v Keighley; Hartshead Moor v Gomersal; Ossett v Morley.

Championship Two: Altofts v Buttershaw St Paul’s; Bowling Old Lane v Birstall; Spen Victoria v Adwalton; Carlton v Hopton Mills; East Ardsley v Liversedge; Yeadon v Jer Lane; Hunslet Nelson v Northowram Fields.

Conference: Rodley v Gildersome & Farnley Hill; Great Preston v Heckmondwike & Carlinghow; Crossbank Meths v Sandal; Windhill & Daisy Hill v Brighouse.