SKELMANTHORPE will try to overcome the massive loss of Wasim Jaffer who, along with Qaiser Rashid, led the Lidgett Laners to Sykes Cup glory last season.
The Indian superstar is still hoping to return to the UK and get a county contract (memo to Yorkshire) but almost certainly will not be appearing in the Drakes League again this summer after his 2,000-run exploits of last year.
Nor will fellow Cup-final century-maker Qaiser Rashid who is set to rejoin one of his former clubs nearer to his Manchester home, while likeable opening batsman Sarfraz Ahmed has moved the short distance to join newly-promoted Shelley, and opening bowler Craig Glover has returned to join brother Danny at Shepley.
In-coming talent to Lidgett Lane are two players well known to the Drakes League, Louis Aspeling, who moved from Kirkburton and ex-Marsden/Meltham all-rounder Peter Lombard, who most recently had been playing at Ossett.
South African-born Aspeling, but now married and living in the area, fell just short of 1,000 runs last season (by one!), a repeat of which will see him take him half of Jaffer’s input from last summer, while Lombard is better known as a bowling all-rounder.
The two major signings are Haroon Rashid (brother of Yorkshire’s Adil, whose third brother Amar has signed for Shepley) and their overseas man is Australian Paul Davis, elder brother of Greg Davis who had a cracking season for Clayton West last year.
Twenty-six-year-old Rashid was at Hanging Heaton in the Bradford League last season, and is a right-hand batsman and medium pace bowler.
Whether Skelmanthorpe’s new signings can fully replace the out-going talent remains to be seen, but one assumes Davis must a reasonable player as the Lidgett Lane club could have signed his countryman Dean Brownlie who is now looking for a club, preferably in Huddersfield.
He lives and plays in New Zealand and was in the Black Caps’ provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup and has represented New Zealand in the 20/20 internationals against Pakistan.
He has a close friend who is already signed to a club in the League and could stay with him if he could get a club himself.
Should anyone feel they could meet his (modest) requirements and are still looking for an overseas man for 2011, they can contact Skelmanthorpe president Andy Needham, on 07880 601 053) for a contact for Brownlie.
Davis is reportedly a rapidly-quick opening bowler, who has played State cricket with Perth, before being released.