DRAKES Huddersfield Cricket League champions Hoylandswaine have already plunged into the ‘transfer market’ to try and back-up this season’s Byrom Shield success.
In order to replace Australian all-rounder Michael Cranmer (who had two very successful seasons at Haigh Lane), Hoylandswaine have tempted former Yorkshire and Durham all-rounder Ryan Robinson away from Kirkburton. Robinson is well-known to Swaine skipper John Sadler, himself a former player at the Riley Lane club, and should still do a job in the Drakes Premiership.
Robinson scored around 500 runs last year, and although his bowling was restricted to less than half the games he played in, he was still able to produce a five-wicket haul against Scholes as well as a couple of four-fors.
Hoylandswaine’s other major signing is that of former Barnsley captain Richard Wilkinson who has been snapped up after quitting the Shaw Lane outfit.
The 35-year-old Wilkinson, who is a right-hand batsman and right-arm offbreak bowler has enjoyed two spells as Barnsley captain, during which he led them to the Yorkshire League title in 2006.
He is also a former player with Yorkshire’s Academy side and, along with Amar Rashid, will represent a severe spin threat next season.
Apart from losing Cranmer, who scored nearly 700 runs (including a ton against Kirkburton) and took 33 wickets, the only other departure from Swaine is that of Chris Schofield, who has announced his retirement from first-team cricket at the age of 37, although he may make the odd appearance for the Seconds if required at any point during the campaign.
In the absence of both Cranmer and Schofield, much will be expected of Ben Potter this season.
The 21-year-old former White Rose player has shown genuine all-rounder capabilities and played one Minor Counties match last season for Cumberland.
Hoylandswaine captain Sadler will undoubtedly be looking for a bigger input from him this season, if they are to make the same impact on the League in 2014.
It is expected that Joe Sayers, who has signed a new contract with Yorkshire, will again be available for some part of the season (he scored nearly 850 runs last season), which, along with Sadler and Alex Morris – plus the new signings – will ensure that Hoylandswaine are one of the teams to beat again nexst season.