Woodlands, champions of Yorkshire, are aiming for national success next year as they bid to add another trophy to their already impressive collection.
The Bradford League Premier League winners beat Appleby Frodingham of the Yorkshire Premier League South to triumph in the countywide final at Headingley in September, winning by nine wickets chasing 151.
It was their 36th senior trophy in the last 20 years, including nine Bradford League titles and the last three on the trot.
Their Headingley triumph owed much to the brilliance of captain and professional, Brad Schmulian, the New Zealander who claimed three wickets with his leg-spin and hit an unbeaten 100 from number three.
Domestic success remains a key goal, a record-equalling 10th Bradford League title in 2023 is the “blue ribbon” according to secretary Brian Pearson MBE. But they also want to marry that with glory in the ECB National Club Championship, which was won by Bexley CC at Lord’s in September.
“The one thing we have set our sights on that we haven’t managed to do yet is the national ECB 40-over competition,” said middle order batter Liam Collins.
“We got to the last 16 this season, and we have a real desire to go and win that.
“You’re playing against good sides who you’ve not necessarily seen before, and we think we have what it takes to win it.
“That doesn’t take any emphasis on wanting to win the league and our cups. But we really want to have a go at that.
“It’s an ambitious aim, but that’s Woodlands. We’re a club full of ambition.”
Pearson echoed Collins’ comments: “We only played in it this season for the first time, and we did quite well, getting to the last 16. And we definitely want to better that,” he said.
“But what I would say is that the blue ribbon for Woodlands Cricket Club, and I suspect it would be the same for any club in this area, is to win the Bradford League.
“If you said to me at the start of each season, ‘Which one do you want to win most?’, it would be our league title because that’s the long haul.
“That’s 22 games against top sides week in and week out.”
Woodlands brushed aside Appleby Frodingham in September to put to bed two previous YPL play-off final disappointments at Headingley.
In 2019, they were beaten by Sheriff Hutton Bridge, while in 2020 they lost out to Castleford, both sides from the Yorkshire Premier League North.
Collins added: “The win was fantastic for us.
“From our point of a view as a club, it’s a great day. But having been there twice before, been on the losing end and experienced it all before, it was a case of, ‘Get the job done and then think about it rather than taking in the surrounds’.
“We were lasered on to winning that game. Nothing else.
“But it’s a fantastic day out. For a club cricketer to play at Headingley, we’re very, very lucky.”
Collins and Pearson were speaking for the purposes of a wider feature on Woodlands’ recent success – to be published in the 2023 YCCC Yearbook.