Good afternoon and welcome to the first game of the season a week later than planned! I have to say a big thank you to groundsman Chris Reynolds for getting the ground ready as well as our Dales Council ground under very difficult circumstances with the elements testing us to the max!
Jack Hainsworth leads the team as new captain Jonny Reynolds recovers from an ankle injury. We also await our new overseas Blair Oakley from Australia who will fingers crossed be with us next week. Good luck to our 4 new signings today. Hamzah Iqbal (Bradford & Bingley), Seif Hussain (Idle), Stefan Mather (Thackley) and the returning Brett Kinsey (Morley) who will be looking to make a strong first impression. Our visitors Pudsey Congs will be looking to bounce back to the Premier Division at the first time of asking and start the season as one of the favourites for promotion.
Whilst we will be looking to get the season off to a flying start the cricket itself takes a bit of a back seat today as we continue to mourn the death of committee member, beer festival organiser and overall funny guy Simon Heginbotham. As most of you know Heggers passed away on Friday 20th April and as a club we are still coming to terms with the loss of a man who put so much effort and commitment into keeping the club going.
Not the greatest cricketer by his own honest admission Heggers had the ability to make you howl with laughter on and off the pitch. He was certainly the funniest person I’ve ever played with or against. His chirping from behind the stumps and from the sidelines made you laugh and occasionally wince in equal measure.
Unfortunately Heggers had battled depression for many years and whilst his exterior was witty and full of banter, underneath he had his troubles which finally took its toll.
All 4 teams will be paying their respects with a minute’s silence before today’s fixtures and we hope we can deliver some victories in his memory.
No doubt he’d say something deeply inappropriate but equally as funny if he could see how we were paying our respects today. He’ll be sorely missed by everyone that knew him.