SAM SCOTT is a busy man right now.
Not only has he guided Shelley to fourth place in the Drakes Premiership on the back of three successive wins, but the 23-year-old is playing a key role for York City Knights in rugby league’s Kingstone Press Championship.
Indeed, 24 hours after skippering Shelley to all six points at Scholes last Saturday, the second row forward was on duty at the Huntington Stadium where the Knights beat Doncaster 42-10 to move to the very edge of the play-off places (the Championship is just one division below Super League).
Scott will be hoping for a similar result tomorrow, when York host Keighley, but he has some tasty top-flight business to take care of first when Shelley take on the club immediately above them, Kirkburton, at Westerley Lane.
“We made a bit of a mixed and slow start to the season, but we’ve picked up three wins on the trot now and that’s great because we’ve got a tough month coming up at Shelley,” said Scott, who represented the Drakes League in the Under 21 White Rose Trophy when it was still on the fixture list.
“It has certainly helped us to have Bilal Khiljee available from the start as he’s scoring runs and taking wickets, but we are capable of beating anyone on our day.
“From our point of view, it’s just a matter of getting more consistency to put against that potential, because we do have plenty of ability.”
While experienced Pakistan-born Muhammad Azharullah has signed a one-year contract with Northamptonshire and will now be available only when county commitments allow, Scott is encouraged by the back-up he has for the outstanding Khiljee.
The much-travelled all-rounder hit a century and grabbed seven for 71 as Shelley added Scholes to the successive Bank Holiday scalps of Holmfirth and Skelmanthorpe, and he now has 442 runs to his name – the top tally in Drakes first-team cricket so far this summer – to add to 25 wickets (seventh in the bowling list).
“Bilal is a fine player and a big help for me,” said Scott.
“He offers me lots of advice and helps me out as captain and he’s not only a great bloke to have around but he’s still a top player.”
Joe Sykes and Sarfraz Ahmed open the Shelley batting, Khiljee and Scott are next, and they have bolstered both the batting and bowling this term.
“We’ve signed Imran Malik from Linthwaite, who looks a really good player,” said Scott.
“He’s made a slowish start, but now the wickets are starting to harden up a bit he looks really impressive.
“With the bowling we’ll have Azharulla when he’s available, but we’ve signed Martin Sykes from Almondbury (he led them to Oddfellows Cup success last season as skipper) and he’s got plenty to offer. He looks exciting and, when he gets it right, he’s really dangerous.
“Then we’ve got young Mohammed Bhoola, a slow left-armer who is bowling really well for us already and is going to be a tremendous player in a few years time.”
So what are the objectives at Shelley in this 2013 campaign?
“There are no specific targets set out, really, other than to improve,” said Scott.
“We finished sixth last season, so we will be looking to better that if we can, but it’s a tough league with a lot of sides who can beat each other on their day.
“As long as we can improve and keep on building then we’ll be happy and, like I say, we could do with a bit more consistency, that’s our main concern.
“The Premiership is getting stronger year on year in my opinion and there are certainly some good players about and some good teams. I think it’s really good to be in a competitive league where if you are not on your game you can get turned over.”
With the rugby, Scott is very much in the same boat with a testing month of matches coming up.
“It’s my first year with York and it’s obviously a bit different, having left a Grand Final winning team in Sheffield,” said Scott, who helped the Eagles defeat Featherstone Rovers 20-16 in last season’s showpiece at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium.
“We’ve been at the other end of the table, but I’m enjoying the challenge and we’ve got some key games coming up.
“If we win those we should finish in the play-off placings, but it is a very competitive league and we need to build on the win against Doncaster.”