CROSSFLATTS won the race to sign batsman Joe Hicks a few weeks ago and the talented 28-year-old middle order batsman has been speaking about that, as well as his unique contribution to England's Cricket World Cup celebrations last year.

Hicks played much of his cricket as a youngster for Saltaire, when they competed in the Bradford League, but now he is itching to get back on the field after a playing absence of over seven years.

A delighted Hicks said: “Firstly, I would like to say how excited I am to sign for Crossflatts. I cannot wait to play under my old pal (and captain) Dominic Bennett.

“I used to play for this excellent club as a junior with Dom, James O’Hara and Nathan Bradbury.

“Flatts won pretty much everything last year and I hope we can do the same this season - assuming we get the go ahead to play before the end of the summer.”

Hicks’ career started at Saltaire at the age of eight and he stayed there until the end of the 2011 season.

In 2012, he spent a solitary season at London club Finchley CC in the Middlesex County Cricket League, before embarking on a break from the playing side of the sport.

During that hiatus, he ended up playing an unofficial, yet integral, role in England’s World Cup victory celebrations after they beat New Zealand in the final at Lord’s last July, in what Hicks believes was ‘the greatest game of all time’.

He explained: “During my break from playing the game, I was working for the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board).

“I was part of their commercial team and I looked after their sponsors. One of the ECB’s sponsors was T.M. Lewin, who were responsible for the team’s clothing.

“My World Cup final weekend was such a bizarre one.

“I got called into a meeting room at 4pm on the Friday afternoon before it and was told that the team may go to Downing Street on the Monday after the final if they won.

“But the players didn’t have anything official to wear. It was a bit of an oversight by everyone.

“The Downing Street invite only came the week before from (former) Prime Minster Theresa May.

“It was a bit of a vague invitation too as we were told that there was a chance that Theresa May might have been double booked but it was all up in the air, so we had to plan as if it was definitely happening – plus we still had the final to win in any case.

“I spent the Friday night beforehand pulling things off T.M. Lewin website. I had to look for shoes with no names on because some of the players had individual sponsorship deals.

“T.M.Lewin thankfully managed to pull together enough bits, but the next issue we had was that the only place we could get everything from was their warehouse in Wakefield.

“I hired a small van from Leeds Bradford Airport so that I could collect the clothing from Wakefield on the way down to Lord’s.

“The rental company didn’t have the small van that I ordered so they gave me a huge one. It was a stroke of luck really as I would have never got all the clobber in the van that I had ordered.

“I left home at 4am on the Sunday morning and headed to Lord’s via T.M. Lewin in Wakefield to collect the clothing.

“I managed to get a spare ticket for the game and I got there just in time before the first ball was bowled, after I had dropped all the clothing off at England’s hotel in Central London.

“It’s fair to say that I had a few drinks during and after the game and I celebrated into the night.

“The next morning, feeling slightly delicate but on good form, I took the van back to the local branch of the hire company and headed back to get the clothing from the team hotel.

“Some of the chinos and shoes didn’t fit the players so I had to run across a very busy London in the sweltering heat visiting the five different T.M. Lewin outfits to exchange some. Running was a lot quicker than using the Tube.

“Team Operations Manager Phil Neale then asked me about belts. We weren’t asked for them so I had to dash to Primark on Oxford Street of all places and I just grabbed 30 belts.

“I returned to the team hotel in the nick of time before they made way to Downing Street, much to my relief.

“The players looked fairly smart in the end. I thought I did a half decent job with their attire, considering the short notice.”