Barkisland have signed a highly-promising overseas batsman/wicketkeeper in their quest to back up last season’s excellent showing in the Huddersfield League.
He is New Zealand Under 19 player Tim Seifert, who recently made his first class debut for Northern Districts .
Seifert, who comes highly recommended by Districts coach and former Huddersfield man James Pamment, replaces Australian LJ Brown at Woodfield.
Brown had a modest 2014, scoring 508 runs at 22.09, but Barkisland still finished third in the Premiership and just lost a close Twenty/20 final to big spending Hoylandswaine.
Captain Darren Robinson is keen to maintain that progress and with all of last season’s squad remaining he is hopeful Barkisland can do that.
“We now have an excellent blend of youth and experience,” he said.
Bowlers Alex Scholefield, Matthew Steers and Chris Williams did much of the damage in 2014, taking 141 wickets between them and all finishing in the top 10 in the league averages.
Robinson, the leading batsman with an average of 25.53, believes leg spinner Williams has more improvement in him following last season’s experience.
Barkisland will also look for some of their high quality juniors to establish themselves in the team.
Players from Jamie Coleman’s second team are expected to mount a strong push as well.
Meanwhile, the ex-Halifax League club have establishment their own Junior Academy.
Dave Weston, the Junior Cricket Development Manager, said: “We now have 24 youngs training on a regular basis. These range from the age of 12 years up to 21.
“Most have experience in open age cricket and even the youngest are expected to be playing at senior level sooner rather than later.”
Barkisland have a new under nines coach for next season and hope the club’s girls’ section will continue to flourish.
They have pledged not to spend all their resources on players and aim to always have at least five or six local players in the first and second teams.
The Barkisland clubhouse is now used throughout the year and improving the ground remains a priority.
Weston said: “We have taken advice and invested in the square and major improvements to the outfield.
“Whilst these things take time, we are confident we will soon be up there with the best in the league.
“We continue to add to our very healthy and loyal band of sponsors and there is a very positive feel around the club.”
Barkisland firsts open their league campaign at home to last year’s runners-up Shelley, the 2013 champions, on Saturday, April 18.
They have an early-season derby at Elland on Sunday, April 26 and will travel to Almondbury Wesleyans in the first round of the Sykes Cup on Sunday, May 3.