THE Bradford Premier League have released their fixtures for the 2022 cricket season, with a mouthwatering opening day clash catching the eye.

April 16 will see last year’s Premier Division champions Woodlands, who are based in Oakenshaw, host the 2021 runners-up Townville at Albert Terrace.

It is an encounter club secretary Brian Pearson cannot wait for, and he said: “It is a big opening game and it’s always a good fixture against them.

“We go back a long way with Townville, to our days together in the Central Yorkshire League, and they used to beat us easily every time back then.

“It’s much more even now, but it will still be challenging, especially because they’ve recruited well this winter with a couple of new faces, though we had to play them at some point in the season.

“The weather might be a factor on the opening day, and the wicket is likely to be softer, so that’s something to take into account, but all in all we’re looking forward to it.”

Unlike Townville, Woodlands have not recruited over the winter, with Pearson explaining: “We’re going with the same two squads as last year.

“We work on the principle here of of bringing players in and encouraging them to stay for a long period of time.

“It helps when you’re successful like we have been, and with us having two good squads, I’m delighted to say they’re all staying.

“Brad Schmulian is coming back from New Zealand to captain our first team, and our previous skipper Cieran Garner is happily dropping down to the seconds.

“We have the Collins brothers here too, and Liam is moving down to the seconds for a time, while we give Kieran a chance to have a crack at the firsts.

“Tom Clee is going up to the firsts with Kieran too.”

The work never stops for Woodlands, and they have been busy this winter, with Pearson saying: “We’ve completely reseeded the outfield, like we did in 2020, but it will be 2023 before that’s exactly where we want it to be.

“We’ve got ourselves some more storage space for our machinery and equipment and done some work on the patio in front of the sports hall, where we’re still hosting indoor football over the winter.

“The biggest thing though is the work we’re doing with kids coming to our winter nets and getting one-on-one coaching.

“That’s been a big focus for us over the last quarter of the year, and it’s been very pleasing, especially with the number of coaches coming in to help out.

“From next month, we’ll be running our winter programme, where clubs book the nets here to prepare for their own seasons.

“It’s funny, because in some respects, we’re almost busier here in the winter than we are in the summer.”

To view the 2022 fixture for the Bradford Premier League, follow this link for their websitenk.