FORMER Keighley Cricket Club captain Simon Bailey has returned after nearly a decade away at Baildon.

Local lad Bailey, who is 37, started his senior cricket career playing in the Craven League but was also starring in the Bradford Junior League at Bradford & Bingley at the same time, as well as representing West Yorkshire at Taverners level.

Bailey started his Bradford League cricket life at Keighley and played at Lawkholme (as well as captaining the first XI) for four years, gathering experience from the likes of Richard Robinson and Ross Towler.

The left-handed batsman and off-spinner then made the move to Baildon, where he has spent the last nine years, amassing more than 4,000 runs for the Bradford side, including several centuries.

He skippered Baildon for four seasons, where he captained the likes of Mushtaq Ahmed, who is one of only 14 players to have taken over 1,000 Bradford League wickets, and current Pakistan international Waqas Maqsood.

The 2021 season saw Bailey take 33 league wickets, as well as average over 30 with the bat.

Bailey insists he is excited and is relishing a new challenge with Keighley this coming season.

He cited the transfers of players like Scott Etherington and Billy Whitford as key to him coming home, saying: "When I saw that Keighley had signed Scott and Billy, both with top division experience and both very good players, then I knew that the club was moving forward.

"It also helped show me that things had changed around the club (for the better).

"Plus, knowing that Scott was here, with all his experience on and off the field, then I knew it was the right time to come back to my hometown club."

Keighley still hope to announce at least two more signings before the start of the 2022 season, according to chairman Paul Barker.