NEWLY-APPOINTED Crossflatts Cricket Club first-team captain Dominic Bennett is hoping that the coronavirus pandemic ends soon so that his side can pick up from where they left off last season, which proved to be the most successful in their proud history.

Under Joe Greenwood's excellent leadership, the Ryshworth Park based side won the Craven League First Division and The League Cup double - and were also crowned Bradford Evening League champions.

They made great progress in the National Village Cup too, defeated in the West/South Yorkshire regional final by eventual losing finalists Houghton Main.

This is Bennett’s second spell in charge after first skippering the side in 2017 and 2018, and he is looking to take the club further forward this season.

Bennett said: “I’m excited to be taking the reins as skipper again but it will be tough to follow on from Joe, who had such a good season last year.

“Joe has had to step down due to work commitments and I feel honoured and privileged to lead the side again.

“Our departing overseas all-rounder Bright Njanji (919 runs at 45.95 and 28 wickets at 13.36) will be a big miss, which will make my task harder, but I am confident that the other players in our squad will step up.”

Wicket-keeper batsman Bennett added: “All the players that we brought in before last season bedded in well and they all made telling contributions.

“I’m expecting even bigger things to come from the likes of James Roper, Josh Brooksbank and Mohammad Shahnawaz this season.

“On paper I can't see another batting line up to match the strength we have - but we all know the game's not played on paper.

“So putting in all-round consistent performances is something I am hoping for on a regular basis, if and when we get to play.

“Competition for places in our batting order will arguably be the toughest it has been in years, and picking a lineup for that first game isn’t something I am looking forward to.

“The addition of Saltaire’s Joe Hicks and Oakworth's Brannan Lawn will add further strength to our squad.”

The club has also been boosted by the return of bowling all-rounder Jim O’Hara.

The 29-year-old seamer is returning after a season away from the game, and is rated as one of the league’s most consistent operators.

O’Hara has snared 154 wickets in his last four seasons and his return is bound to send shockwaves through the Craven League.

Bennett said: “Having Jim back in the ranks is a massive plus. I think he will be an even better bowling threat after having last season off. He seems hungrier than ever.

“His line and length is second to none and he is hard to get away.”

Bennett was pleased with how his new look squad was shaping up in pre-season training, before the coronavirus crisis struck.

He said: “Winter nets had been going well, with some good team banter, and it was a shame when they were halted due to the pandemic.”

Crossflatts’ second team also look in good shape this season and they will look to push on after finishing third in the Second Division and getting to the semi-finals of the League Cup last year.

Bennett added: “The additions we have made to our first team will have a positive effect on the second team, who will once again be lead by the talismanic Lee Bailey.

“With a mix of youth, experience and flair, they will be going full tilt to claim some more first team cricket scalps and will want to enjoy another fine cup run after reaching last year’s semi-final.

“I just hope that things get started sooner rather than later, so that we can build on last year’s trophy laden season.”