LEAGUE champions Honley have once again recruited a left-arm spinner as they attempt to lift the Drakes League title for a record-breaking fourth successive year.
Following the success of Indian stars Rajesh Pawar, Praveen Gupta and Vishal Bhatia (who all played their part in the club lifting the Byrom Shield in 2005/06/07), Honley have gone down the same road for this year’s overseas man, and have signed a genuine Test player.
Twenty-one-year-old left-arm spinner Enamul Haque has played 12 Tests and three one-day internationals for Bangladesh, and most recently was in action in New Zealand when his country were the touring party, immediately prior to England’s arrival.
Haque has bagged 32 wickets in his 12 Tests, his best being a seven for 95 return, and although his batting may not be up to the standard of his Honley predecessors, he does have experience of playing in English conditions, having also played with Bangladesh’s Under 19s.
Honley secretary Tim Hirst said the club had initially been hoping to re-sign either Pawar or Gupta, but neither proved viable, while Bhatia was not considered, although he did set a club record last season when he notched nine for 28 against Micklehurst.
The opening bowling attack will again be spearheaded by Harlon Haye and Ritchie Howarth who were both 70-wicket performers last summer, while the batting line-up also remains the same, fronted by John Greaves, Simon Kelly, Matt Cox and Danny Howard.
Rob Moore again skippers with top-ranked keeper Richard Jakeman behind the sticks.
Last summer Honley were chasing trophies on three fronts (four if you include the Black Sheep Champions’ trophy) but had to settle for just the League Championship, having lost to Skelmanthorpe in the final of the Sykes Cup and to Scholes in the inaugural final of the Examiner Twenty/20 trophy.
Honley will be aiming to get among the silverware again this summer, and are already guaranteed hosting the Romida Sykes Cup final and the Black Sheep Champions’ Trophy final later in the year.
If they should retain the Championship crown, they would become the most successful team in the history of the League.
Elland (twice), Holmfirth (twice) and Meltham (once) have won the Byrom Shield three times in succession, a feat which Honley matched in 2007 – but no-one has ever won the title four years in a row.
Now that would be some feat!