Huddersfield Cricket League champions Hoylandswaine might be top of the Premiership again but a club official says they have yet to hit top form.

Swaine were knocked out of the Heavy Woollen Cup by Huddersfield rivals Scholes in an early season blow to their hopes.

The inter-league Heavy Woollen Cup was a target this season but Swaine went out in the second round.

They have reached the final three times and the semi-finals twice but are yet to lift the trophy and the club spokesman said: “We just seem destined to not win the Heavy Woollen Cup and it’s the one we’d love to win.

“We’ve been close on a number of occasions and it just hasn’t worked out. We are disappointed not to go through and we say congratulations to Scholes who beat us on the day.

“Obviously we have three competitions to go for now – the league, the Sykes Cup and T20 competition and we’d like to go for all three. That’s the aim for the rest of this season.”

Despite having overseas recruit Junaid Khan leading the bowling attack and already rattling over the wickets, there is a feeling within the club that the team has yet to hit top gear. That could be an ominous warning to the rest of the league.

The spokesman added: “I don’t think we’ve put in a complete performance yet. We have either shone with the bat or the ball but not the two together. We haven’t been particularly good with the bat and our bowling has saved us in a few games this season.

“We are having to really fight in every game this year. Everyone has strengthened, which is good to see. It’s a strong division this year and everyone is fighting to stay in it with three teams going down at the end of this season.

“The Huddersfield cricket landscape is strong at the moment. If you look at the Championship, if they play a Premiership team at home they normally give them a real test which is great to see. That was proved with Mirfield Parish against Scholes in the Sykes Cup.”

With three clubs being relegated this year, there’s no margin for error for many clubs which will increase competition.

Hoylandswaine supported the move to reduce the league to 12 teams and the spokesman said: “We were in favour of that change because we played far too many games last year.

“Next year we are losing four Sundays because the league is going down to 12 teams but that isn’t a bad thing. We then have a choice whether to have a break or to enter another competition on the Sundays.”

One worry that Swaine shares with the rest of the clubs is the size of the player pool available to them and the amount of youngsters taking up cricket as a sport locally.

The club official said: “It’s difficult for lots of these players because they are having to play in so many matches and I and others have noticed that some players are now taking the Sunday off to be around family. You then have matches midweek and so for lots of players that is too much.

“As the future goes, as far as players that are available and want to play are concerned, the pool is getting smaller all the time.

“There are youngsters coming through but not many. So we are slightly worried that when the juniors are getting to an age where they can play second and first team cricket, they’ve already found something else to do. A lot of young people don’t want to come for six or seven hours’ worth of cricket.

“We tried to put some rule changes forward as regards to second team cricket. We put forward that there could be less overs and a start earlier/finish earlier time, but sadly this was rejected.

“Hopefully, though, we can revisit this because we think it’s crucial to keep younger people in the game.”

Coming out of the pandemic has seen many changes, including a change in drinking habits which has seen fewer people putting money over the bar.

There are positives, though, and the club official said: “One good thing to come out of the pandemic is that the league has started to modernise and look at their own rules.

“They have started to listen to clubs a lot more and so that can only be a good thing. It’s not always easy to change and the league have to be commended for putting some innovative things in place during the pandemic which have carried on to now.”