WOODLANDS captain Cieran Garner oversaw the club’s successful return to cricket last weekend, with two impressive victories.

Anyone who thought the Bradford side would be rusty, having opted out of the 2020 coronavirus-affected season, was very much mistaken.

Their resounding victory over Shelley in the Heavy Woollen Cup on Sunday was preceded by a tight 10-run win over Bradford League Premier Division title rivals Townville the day before.

That sets Woodlands up nicely for a league clash with newly-promoted Batley tomorrow, but Garner does not see the game as a guaranteed win, saying: “It will be tough, all the sides in the top division are.

“We aren’t going to underestimate them just because they came up at the end of the 2019 season. We’re preparing for a tough game.”

Woodlands face a tricky encounter in the next round of the Heavy Woollen Cup on May 9 too, having been drawn to play Townville again.

Asked if he felt they could easily make it two from two against their rivals, Garner said: “You have to take every game on its merit and they are all very much different.

“We were delighted with any win against them last week, because we respect them and know what a good unit they are, so we were really happy with that.

“We back ourselves and our team spirit as well as our togetherness, which got us through in the end last week.

“Townville finished second in the league in 2019 and they are one of the top sides in the division.”

When asked about how Woodlands felt to be playing their first game since 2019 against Townville, Garner responded: “It was great to be back on the field playing some competitive cricket.

“With the time we spent away from playing, it was eagerly awaited and for it to turn into a good game topped it off. It was fantastic to be out there with the lads.”

That joy was obviously mixed with tension as the Townville clash went to the wire, but Garner was able to rely on his teammates, saying: “I am surrounded by a lot of experienced Bradford League cricketers so they come to me with their ideas.

“It’s a team effort as much as anything. The quality of the lads and our togetherness pulls me through.”

Elaborating on his captaincy role, he said: “You have extra pressure on at the level we play at. You have to put that pressure on yourself to do well at Woodlands.

“Being captain I have a big part to play in that. I understand what pressures and expectations the captaincy brings.”

Undoubtedly one of the best aspects of being a captain is winning things, with Garner lifting both the Premier Division and Priestley Cup trophies in 2019.

Asked if he believed Woodlands could add this year’s Heavy Woollen Cup to their collection, Garner said: “Absolutely. We have a tough draw against Townville in the next round but you have to be confident.

“You have to back your own ability and there is no reason why we can’t do very well in the Heavy Woollen Cup this year.”