GOLCAR have a couple of big surprises up their sleeve as they firm up preparations for the new Drakes League Premiership season.
The first shock is that Ashley Pamment, who skippered Scholes to the Premier title in 2001, is taking over the reins of captaincy at Swallow Lane after many years of stalwart service with the Chapelgate club.
Previous Golcar captain Dave Robinson said: "For the past three years, the role of skipper and everything that goes with it has taken over my life.
"And besides that, I'm getting a bit long in the tooth now!"
Robinson has played a large part in turning round the club's fortunes and getting them back into the Premiership after many years in the Conferences.
"Four years ago we were a mid-Conference team and out of the Premiership for 10 years. But now we have lads who want to come and play at Golcar."
Robinson aims to continue his role as wicketkeeper, but is delighted to welcome on board new captain Pamment.
"Ashley is just the sort of person we needed at Golcar to take us on to the next level.
"He will bring with him a lot of knowledge and experience of the Drakes League, having been there and done it with Scholes."
Another big signing, only just rubber-stamped, is that of Jamaican-born fast bowler Orrell Blackford.
A close friend of Honley's Harlon Haye, Blackford played with Ossett in the Central Yorkshire League last season, but prior to that was one of the star performers in the York Senior League and represented them against Huddersfield in the Yorkshire Leagues Knockout at Honley two years ago.
A qualified English player, Blackford is seriously quick and Golcar will be hoping he proves to be a potent strike bowler at Swallow Lane this summer.
Joining him in the bowling attack will be Adam France, who has crossed Manchester Road from Broad Oak where he came up through the juniors.
Last season France took 32 wickets in the first team, while away from the pressures of the Drakes League he also enjoyed himself in the Evening League with Roteballe, for whom he smashed an unbeaten 154 in one game, to underline his possible potential with the bat.
With popoular Aussie Jeremy Brown unable to return again this summer, Golcar are still exploring signing an overseas player (probably a batsman) who will be joining one of the League's top all-rounders, Steve Whitwam, and another of Golcar's close-season signings, James Sykes.
The former Hall Bower and Lascelles Hall opener, who captained Huddersfield to the White Rose Trophy in 1999, has returned to the Huddersfield League after a spell with Castleford, and will almost certainly join Whitwam at the top of the order.
Another new signing is that of Italian leg-spinner Paulo Girardi, who was supposed to have been joining Golcar last season but never made it.
Girardi is also described as a handy batsman, and is an EU player.
* Gary Rank is running an umpires course for Central League officials at Flockton WMC later this month. The six-week course is mainly for (in Gary's words) "Saturday afternoon recreational umpires," and there is no exam to sit at the end of it.
The course starts on Wednesday, February 21 until March 28 and is free to everyone.
* Armitage Bridge are holding a sportsman's evening in their clubhouse on Friday, March 2, when former England star Phil DeFreitas is the chief guest.
`Daffy' will be holding a question and answer session, and will be joined by at least two ex-Yorkshire players in Paul Hutchison and Scott Richardson.
Tickets are available from either Andy Hallas or Chris Bullock.