Kiwi hitman Henry Cooper has a special driving force in the All Rounder Sykes Cup this weekend.
The 24-year-old Northern Districts all-rounder is hoping to help guide Broad Oak to quarter-final victory at Meltham on Sunday.
That’s not just because he’d like to achieve some tangible success with Lee Baxter’s talented Premiership side this summer.
But he’s determined to follow in the footsteps of his father, Barry, and become a Sykes Cup winner.
His father played 11 years of first-class cricket in New Zealand and was an overseas signing for Holmfirth when they won the Section A title and Sykes Cup double in 1980
WATCH: Henry Cooper on being back at Broad Oak
“How good would that be to have two Sykes Cup wins in the family?” beamed Cooper, who switch hit a six over the Broad Oak pavilion last Saturday!
“He’s got that one over me at the moment but hopefully we can change that this year and I will be able to brag back to him!
“I would really love it if we could win the Sykes Cup, but Cup cricket is Cup cricket and you can never take anything for granted.
“We have to forget Meltham are in the Championship section and make sure we go out there and put our best foot forward.”
Cooper has hit a Drakes League best of 536 runs so far at 70.57, and taken 13 wickets at 15.54 with his spin ahead of the massive clash with Drakes Premiership leaders Delph & Dobcross.
His father arrived for a visit last week and watched the 77-run win against Kirkburton in which his son hit 72.
Cooper senior, 57, is from Whangarei on the North Island and played 62 first-class matches for Northern Districts in the 1980s and 90s.
A right-handed batsman, he hit 2,982 runs with four centuries, taking 26 wickets with his off-breaks to boot, and also represented the North Island.
He had two seasons at Holmfirth, playing for Derbyshire Seconds at the time, and in the 1980 Sykes Cup final at Fartown, he hit a half century in the win against Marsden.
Son Henry is hoping to earn his own Northern Districts contract under coach James Pamment at the end of this year.
“Dad played 11 years of first class and it’s great to have him here,” said Henry, in his second year at the Oak.
“He stays out of trying to coach me as such and lets me make my own career, but he’s been there and done everything so it’s really good to have him to talk to.
“If he sees something which is blatantly obvious he will talk up and tell me, but it’s great to be able to get his thoughts on the game at any time.”
So what has he been told of the Sykes Cup final?
“Dad got 50 in the final win and got £150 in the collection, which back then was a massive amount of money, so he was so happy,” he recalled.
“I would be just happy to follow in his footsteps and win the final, that would be great for everyone at the club, the supporters and everyone involved.
“We are in the quarter-finals now, so the possibility is getting closer, but we know it will be hard work to get through because it’s Cup cricket and everyone has it all to play for.”
In the 1980 final, dad Barry hit 58 in Holmfirth’s all-out total of 193 in front of 2,000 people at Fartown (hence the big collection). Gate receipts were £560.
Marsden were held at 181-8 in reply in their 45 overs. In the semi-finals, Marsden had beaten Huddersfield while Holmfirth had beaten Honley.
While Meltham are aiming to end Cooper’s hopes, their fellow Jedi Sports Championship rivals Slaithwaite are also at home to Shepley.
Drakes Premiership leaders Delph & Dobcross are at home to Armitage Bridge, while last season’s beaten finalists, Scholes, take on Hoylandswaine at Chapelgate.
All Rounder Sykes Cup: Delph v Armitage Bridge, Slaithwaite v Shepley, Meltham v Broad Oak, Scholes v Hoylandswaine.
Fired Up Paddock Shield: Barkisland v Hoylandswaine, Clayton West v Broad Oak, Moorlands v Scholes, Kirkburton v Slaithwaite.