Many clubs in the Huddersfield Cricket League bemoan a lack of local talent coming through the ranks.
They say that young people have other priorities and pastimes and don’t want to tie up their Saturdays with cricket.
One club proving there’s no shortage of young talent is Mirfield-based Moorlands. The club’s second XI is packed with young players – and to prove their ability and potential they’ve reached the final of the Paddock Shield.
Moorlands captain Andrew Fortis said: “We are all really proud of our second team because it’s made up entirely of local lads, and nine of the players are under 18 and have come up through our junior system.
“To me that says we are doing something right and while I know some clubs have said there’s a lack of junior players that isn’t something we can say here.
“There is a talent pool out there and we have put a lot of time and effort into our junior system and, if you do that, you’ll see the rewards as we are doing now.”
The second XI take on Delph & Dobcross in the Paddock Shield Final at Delph on Sunday August 14.
Before that, however, the first team have a date in the league’s showpiece – the final of the Sykes Cup. In a repeat of last year’s final they aim to overcome league champions Hoylandswaine once again. That game is at Shepley on Sunday August 7.
Whereas last season Moorlands pushed Hoylandswaine all the way in the league, this time it’s been a struggle.
Fortis said: “At the beginning of the season the aim was to stay up in the league and have some good cup runs.
“It’s been hard to stay in the league because of the changes to the league with three teams getting relegated. The league has got a lot tougher with teams improving the quality and depth of their teams.
“This has meant there has been a real dogfight throughout the league to get as many points on the board as quickly as possible. Obviously, we aren’t as high in the league as we were last year and we know why that is. I don’t think we’ll go down but we need to get some points on the board as quickly as possible.”
The club, however, has found some winning momentum in both cup competitions though Hoylandswaine will be gunning for revenge in the final.
Fortis said: “While we’d love to win the Sykes Cup again, I think if our second team can win the Paddock Shield that’s just as big an achievement for us as a club if not more so.”
Fortis knows that Hoylandswaine will be favourites to wrest back the Sykes Cup but says his team will go into the final with confidence.
“We are confident of beating them this time whereas I feel last year we were more nervous,” he said. “We’ve been to this stage in the cup and beaten them so we know it’s possible.
“It would surpass last year if we won it because we are defending it this year and that puts an obvious target on our back, but hopefully we can bring the cup back to the club.”