IRAQ veteran Bradley Lilley is back on the hockey pitch.
The Flockton 21-year-old has returned to Huddersfield Hockey Club’s Fourth XI after four years Army service.
Bradley, who was frequently fired on during eight months in Basra, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant to be back playing hockey again.
“I used to do sport every night before I went into the Army, but as a soldier my workload was so high that I didn’t have time to play.”
The centre forward celebrated his return to the team with a goal in the 3-1 victory over Hull V on September 22.
Bradley, who was in action again on Saturday against Lincoln IV, said: “I’m looking forward to a good season and I’m full of confidence after getting a goal.”
He joined 3 Regiment the Royal Logistics Corps in 2003 and won the best recruit and best PT recruit awards after a 12-week training programme at Purbright in Surrey.
Bradley, who went to Honley High School, was the first person ever to win both awards.
He spent April to December of 2005 working as a driver and gunner on supply routes in and out of Basra.
Bradley said: “We were shot at many times on the roads, once every few days. And our base was mortared as well, but the toughest thing about Iraq was the heat.”
But he enjoyed the experience.
Bradley said: “It was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.
“I was constantly on my toes and I never knew what the next day would bring.”
He left the Army four months ago and now works as a driver for Craven Timber in Heckmondwike.
Bradley said: “I’d done what I had wanted to do in the Army and decided that enough was enough.”
Huddersfield IV captain Gurveer Birdi is happy to have him back on the team.
He said: “We’re good friends and he’s a very good player so I’m glad that he’s back.”