MOST observers would suggest that Woodlands skipper Cieran Garner has taken to captaincy like a duck to water.
A maiden Priestley Cup success under his belt after helpling his side secure their third final triumph in four years after a four-wicket win over New Farnley at Undercliffe on Sunday, the glittering prize of the Bradford Premier League title is now firmly in the sights of Garner.
For Woodlands, it is a case of one down and one – and hopefully two – more to go with the Albert Terrace outfit mindful that league success would qualify them for a shot at Yorkshire Premier League title glory.
That would turn a great first season of captaincy under Garner into a truly outstanding one in his first season at the Woodlands helm.
On Sunday’s triumph, secretary Brian Pearson said: “I am delighted for Cieran. They have all played very much as a team this year and the dressing room is in excellent order and that counts for a lot.
“A lot of that is down to Cieran in the first instance, but secondly in the way they have all come together.
“Of course, the old adage is that winning just builds confidence. When you are winning, the dressing room to some extent takes care of itself.
“But Cieran now stands on the threshold of a double in his first season and, of course, if we win the league, we are into the Premier League knock-out competition.”
Unsurprisingly, stellar overseas player Brad Schmulian played a leading role in Woodlands’ win at Undercliffe, with Pearson quick to pay tribute to the host club for ensuring that the match went ahead on time after a rain-hit Saturday, which ravaged the league programme.
Put in to bat, Farnley were in trouble at 87-6, but rallied superbly with man-of-the-match Adam Waite, who hit a marvellous unbeaten 97, and Max Law sharing in an unbroken stand worth 81 to take the West Leeds side to a competitive 178-6.
Replying, Woodlands were sweating at 41-3, before Schmulian (68no) took the baton and later put on 48 in an unbroken seven-wicket partnership with Muhammad Bilal to see the Oakenshaw men home – with victory sealed with a six.
Pearson observed: “First of all, I have to give a major accolade to Undercliffe.
“The fact they got that game on was a credit to them with the weather that was around. It is an excellent facility.
“It was one of those where what do you do if you win the toss and we put them in to bat and we had an excellent seat and we were in the driving seat, but Waite’s innings was brilliant and I am sure it was chanceless.
“Given the conditions, we felt their score was competitive.
“We were in a bit of early trouble, but Brad did what Waite did and slowly built his innings.
“And we had two cameo innings from Liam Collins who changed the momentum when he hit three sixes and two fours and Bilal, who got going straightaway. We ended up winning with six (balls) to spare.
“And we are all delighted.”