HEAVY rain wiped out the bulk of the Drakes League programme – but couldn’t dampen spirits at Broad Oak.
After the misery of relegation from the Premiership, they were making a great start in their bid for a quick return.
Star of the side who were unbeaten at the top of the Frank Platt Conference and three points in front of Slaithwaite was Vikram Rathour.
One of three Indian Test players operating in the league – the others were Wasim Jaffer at Scholes and Atul Bedade at Golcar – Rathour had been a surprise signing.
The Linthwaite club were due to bring back Jamil Nasir, but the previous season’s skipper gave notice that he had failed to recover from surgery on a leg injury – and promptly joined Lascelles Hall!
The Oak were put in touch with Rathour, who had come to England on business, through their former player Harvey Anderson.
It turned out to be a lucky break for Broad Oak, because in his first four games, the 33-year-old had hit three centuries.
They included a knock of 144 in the Romida Sykes Cup first-round victory over Rastrick.
“My family own a tool manufacturing company in India and I came to Morley because we are opening a new forge,” explained Rathour.
“I wasn’t intending to play cricket, but Harvey Anderson, who is a friend of mine, contacted me and told me of Broad Oak’s problem.
“I ended up signing on for the full season, and I’m pleased I did, because it’s a good club.
“The people are really friendly, and I’m enjoying having a bowl, which is something I don’t do a lot of back in India!
“People back home are amazed I’ve actually taken some wickets!”
Rathour was operating in a side skippered by former Armitage Bridge player Andy Hallas.
“Broad Oak said they were looking for someone with a bit of experience to help bring the younger players on, and it’s been like a new lease of life,” said Hallas.
“The club have great drive and really want to get straight back up, and the recruitment of Vikram, who is a class act, means we’ve got a great chance.”