MATTHEW WOOD will spearhead Honley’s drive for a record fifth straight Drakes League championship this summer!
The Emley-born county batsman has been contracted by them as player and club coach for 2009 after ending his one-year association with Glamorgan because of personal reasons.
The 31-year-old opener helped Honley land one of their four titles in 2006, when he played eight games – notching centuries against Elland and Kirkheaton.
He has played on and off with Honley since 2001, when his commitments with Yorkshire allowed, before he opted to play with Emley in 2007.
“We’re absolutely delighted to have Matthew back at the club,” said skipper Rob Moore, “and we are all really looking forward to welcoming him back in his new capacity as club coach.
“He will not only be playing in every game, but will also be running every training session. And not only will it be a huge benefit to the first team, but it will also be fantastic for our junior players to be coached by someone as influential and experienced at Matthew.”
Wood scored 994 runs in his season with Emley, where he began his career as a junior, including tons against Meltham and Hall Bower. He can also send down some useful ‘tweakers’.
Wood’s return will more than make up for the departure of Matt Cox, who has returned to Australia (with girlfriend Carly and son Ashton).
“Coxy’s gone back to Melbourne with our best wishes, although he is definitely a big loss to us, both on and off the field,” added Moore.
“As well as being a brilliant fielder, Matt was our major run-scorer last season, when he scored three tons, and he will certainly be missed.”
Honley have already taken the decision NOT to employ an overseas professional this season, having put together their record run of Byrom Shield wins with a pro spinner in the side.
So the man charged with filling those shoes this season will be ex-Holmfirth player Ibrar Ali who, although not impressing as much as he would have liked last season, has previous pedigree with Todmorden in the Lancashire League, Widnes in the Cheshire League and has also topped the Bolton League bowling averages.