IAIN Wardlaw has come a long way since cutting his teeth at Hartshead Moor but the opening bowler has now embarked on the most important season of his cricket career.
The popular 26-year-old was picked for Yorkshire in their opening County Championship Division Two game against Kent at Headingley, which started yesterday.
It comes on the back of several impressive displays in Yorkshire’s pre-season campaign, both on tour to Barbados last month and in a two-day game against Durham last weekend.
Although he started last year’s four-day game against Lancashire, Wardlaw was replaced after day one as Tim Bresnan returned from England duty.
He also featured in four Twenty20 matches last summer but to play in his first full County Championship game is the highlight of the Cleckheaton man’s career.
Wardlaw claimed 2-50 off 10 overs against Durham last Sunday and was also unlucky not to claim the prize scalp of Michael Di Venuto, who was dropped in the 40s, before going on to make 143.
Wardlaw played all his junior cricket at Hartshead Moor and having made a big impact for the senior sides at Highmoor Lane, he moved to Cleckheaton, where he has spent the last six seasons.
The Wardlaw family have a long association with Hartshead Moor and Iain’s sister, Helen, played there before going on to represent England Ladies.
Hartshead Moor cricket chairman Dave Baldwin said: “Iain grew up living just a six-hit away from our ground and he played all his junior cricket at Hartshead, along with Helen.
“His parents, Billy and Pauline, are still members and a big part of our club and Iain is also a regular.
“We advised Iain to move to Cleckheaton to play in the Bradford League first division and advance his career and it has proved a right move as he is now a county cricketer.
“It is great for the area to have so many local lads in the Yorkshire set up and it’s fantastic for the Bradford League – let’s hope more can follow the likes of Iain and another Cleck lad Andrew Gale.”
Yorkshire’s side who are playing Kent include four players with Cleckheaton connections as all-rounder Richard Pyrah and opening batsman Joe Sayers have both previously played for the Moorend outfit.