The ECB Premier Leagues near their season conclusion
TEN years ago Wakefield Thornes had just achieved promotion to the Central Yorkshire Cricket League, and were playing premier division cricket for the first time in their history.
As expected, the club struggled in the division at first but they have managed to gradually build up their side and were able to find their feet and became a regular top-four club in the division until 2015 when they finished as runners-up.
In 2016 there was a league shake-up in Yorkshire and Thornes competed in the new Yorkshire South Premier League, winning the competition at the first time of asking.
And on Saturday a season’s best unbeaten 90 from Matt Jordan fired the club to victory over Whitley Hall, to retain the title with one game to spare and cap a miraculous decade-long journey.
“It’s amazing to think of the club that we were not too long ago, to the club where we are now,” explained Jordan after the game.
“I’ve been there six or seven years and every year we’ve signed one good player that brings a good personality and attitude to the team.
By adding those players it brings something different that fits in with the club ethos.
“We’ve been bringing good youngsters through and they’ve come of age and we’ve built on performances.
“It’s been a slow build but the development of the team and of players has enabled us to take that next step and make that big push.”
After winning the league last season Thornes were there to be shot at this year. They made a slow start and any title ambitions looked to be on hold after several early-season defeats.
However they were able to turn things around, and put together 11 successive victories to seal the title, with Jordan scoring the all-important winning runs.
“At that one moment you think ‘bloody hell, look where we were at the beginning of the year and look where we are now’, and how we’ve managed to come through that,” Jordan added.
“Especially when you look up to the balcony and you see all the lads hugging each other and punching the air.
“It’s a really nice feeling to be honest with you, and it could’ve been any one of those lads.”
As champions of the division Thornes will now look to defend their Yorkshire Premier Cricket crown, a contest between the winners of the Yorkshire leagues, and have an upcoming play-off semi-final on September 16.
“We back ourselves against anyone,” added Jordan. “We’ve played against some good teams this year and held our own. We’re very confident, quietly confident that we’ve got a strong squad and we pride ourselves on how we play as a unit.”
Celebration: Matt Jordan