Skipper Lee Baxter says he feels physically sick when picking the Broad Oak team this season.

That’s not because of any dodgy ale in the clubhouse – quite the contrary, the beer is very good I’m told – but because he knows a couple of really talented players are not going to make the final cut most weeks.

Just two seasons on from being promoted as winners of the Jedi Sports Championship, the Oak have assembled an impressively gifted, all-rounder packed side in the Premiership.

They have caught the eye with a powerful start and progression to the last eight of the All Rounder Sykes Cup, and thoughts are already turning towards the possibility of lifting some silverware (realistically, I might add).

Broad Oak were, in fact, the last Colne Valley club to win the Byrom Shield.

But that was 35 years ago when Shergar won the Derby, beer cost 53p a pint and petrol was still sold by the gallon (until September 1981, anyway).

Up at the Oak, Richard Horner and current president, representative and groundsman Craig McCreadie were part of a solid batting order, while Alan Sanderson was skittling teams for fun. They took the title by four points from Lascelles Hall.

Baxter – the league’s all-time leading run-scorer, and counting – has sights set on restoring first-team top-flight success (the Oak last won the Sykes Cup in 1985). And in his case, those sights are much clearer now he’s benefited from successful laser eye surgery which has knocked a couple of decades off his 41-year-old retinae.

The Broad Oak team of May 1985 which went on to win the Sykes Cup that season

The skipper says there will have to be squad rotation – leading wicket-taker John Keeling was left out last week in favour of an extra seamer – hence his agonising over the XI, but he says the whole squad have accepted what has to be, including himself.

“I can’t remember the last time I played in a team where the dressing room atmosphere was so good – and that’s the major factor,” said Baxter, who broke John Cooper’s run record of 20,141 last year.

“Playing with such a good bunch of ladsmakes it like having an extra man – and we’ve got plenty pushing for the first team already!

“The main thing which keeps everyone going is the dressing room and the buzz around the whole club.

“There is no divide between first and second team and it’s an absolute pleasure to be playing and captaining at the club where I started out. From battling against relegation to be where we are now is a dream come true, and it’s not cost us much to put the team together.

“I’ve never earned a massive amount of money from it, but too many average players are getting paid nowadays. We are not spending much money, but a lot is getting put behind the bar, which is perfect!”

At least a dozen regulars from the first and second teams came through the juniors at the club – no mean feat when many clubs are struggling for juniors.

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Ask Baxter to talk about his team, he gets to 13 men without pausing for breath.

“Myself and Charlie Roebuck are up top and I don’t need to tell anyone how good Charlie is,” he beams.

“This is the only season I haven’t asked him to come and play for me, yet after week one he wanted to sign and, when someone of that calibre asks to join you don’t say no and it’s a massive bonus.

“Our Kiwi, Henry Cooper, is a class act at No3. We saw glimpses last year of what a good player he is but he has come back a much better player with tons under his belt already, in addition to being a more than useful off-spinner.

“Harvey Booth is already looking like becoming one of the best all-rounders in the league at No4, and he’s playing with a smile on his face.

“Jack Hargreaves is a Broad Oak lad who is really looking to push on this season, and his bowling will be another bonus when he gets over a rib injury – too much football!

“Dom Finn is in at No6 and the reason we got Dom was because when you are in a hole, he’s the sort of guy who will work you out of it, because the rest of them like to tee off.

“That brings us nicely to Tom McCreadie, who plays his shots and has had a brilliant start.

“Relieving him of the keeping duties seems to have improved his batting and he’s a great bloke in the changing room.

“Alex Slack is another top all-rounder who opens our bowling but also opens the batting in the T20, while Matt Butters has joined from Marsden and, alongside Bubs up at Scholes (Richard Holmes) I rate him as the best keeper in the league.

“Leg-spinner Danny Taylor is more than capable of holding a bat at No10, Adam France is back from Scholes and had a really good knock to get us through in the Cup against Rastrick, John Keeling has been doing great with his off-spin and we’ve even had Harlon Haye up practising his batting!

“All in all, it’s very enjoyable at the moment and on our day – and especially on our own ground – we reckon we’ll give anyone a run for their money.”

The Oak visit Championship side Meltham in the Sykes Cup quarter-finals, while the seconds visit Clayton West in the Paddock Shield.

Perhaps fate will have a role to play. When the Oak won the Cup back in 85, they also took the Paddock Shield and the Walker Cup (now Philip Oldfield Trophy) to become the first club to achieve that treble.