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Programme Notes - Saturday 8th August 2020 vs Pudsey Congs

This week James Butterfield, former chairman, captain and now current club jack of all trades talks us through the action.

A warm welcome to Jenny Lane to our visitors from the Britannia Ground. As I’m writing this on Friday I’m still hopeful that we will have spectators at the ground tomorrow – fingers crossed that the current situation doesn’t deteriorate further and we see measures like those applied to our friends in the Kirklees area.

It is always a pleasure to welcome clubs like Pudsey Congs to Baildon – I tip my hat to every team that has a solid history of producing junior players that have progressed through the ranks and become first team cricketers. I tip my hat further when these youngsters have gone on to represent their county and then their country.

There is no better way to spend money on club cricket than to spend it on your junior section; as every pound spent on equipment, facilities and coaches will eventually comeback tenfold. It is not an easy ride however, clubs have to steel themselves for seasons where young players have to be given the room to fine tune their game and adjust to the world of adult cricket. Juniors bring fresh life and new directions to clubs, they also bring new members, families and supporters – so where once a ground was empty, suddenly benches can become full again.

We have grasped the opportunity in this shortened season to promote a number of our juniors and to make sure our four senior teams are all equipped with young people looking to make a name for themselves. Juggling this with players taking well deserved holidays, some players choosing to protect delicate members of their families and stay away from cricket grounds and players having to work unseasonable hours, has meant selecting our four senior teams has been pretty tough, especially this week! However, in the context of all that has been going on, we have managed to turn out all our senior teams and junior teams (under 9’s, 11’s, 13’s, 15’s and 18’s) every week and hope to continue doing so until the season ends.

The emergence of the brothers’ Kelly (Will and Sam), has given our first team a well needed shot in the arm. They have both found ways to contribute to every match this year and have definitely not been passengers along for the ride. Their performances have been vitally important for the ones, but even more so for the rest of the club. To see young players who are Baildon through and through, rise up and play a part in our first team should prove a very strong example to their peer group and those below them in the younger age groups. I’ve watched our under 18’s team play twice this year and it is heartening to realise that every single member of the team has been active in our 4 senior teams this season. Dom Kelly and Alex Shaw have done a fantastic job in preparing these young boys for senior cricket. The junior production line does not end with Will and Sam; the likes of Adam Hussain, Adam Dean, Louis Turner, Sam Woledge-Wilkinson, Ben Grimmett, Jake Terry and Lucas Shaw should all be populating our first and second teams for many years to come. But it doesn’t end there. Our current under 15’s will be the next group of players to break through, followed by our 13’s etc etc.

I wish I could’ve been at last week’s match against Keighley to see one of our favourite sons, Richard Robinson tie our batters up in knots! From those that were there, I understand that James Ford and Johnny Reynolds are showing signs of being close to their best with the bat so hopefully one or both of them will register our first centuries of the season tomorrow (it’s not a curse because they won’t read this!). James Ford is one of a trio of wicket keepers that we have shared with Congs over the years, following on from Matthew Duce and Colin Chapman. It’s great to have him back at the club and fingers crossed he will a leading light for us once again. On a similar note Dan Atkinson has answered our call out for an emergency plumber to plug a gap in the first team – rumour has it that if you sing all the words of “Hurrah for the boys in Green and Gold” at him, he promises to give you 20% off a new boiler.

With every team capable of beating each other this year, there is definitely everything still to play for so I wish both teams luck and hope that the mighty Plough and Sheep come out on top.

James Butterfield

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