CRICKET: Spin star Sykes sets sights on successful Godmanchester Town return

James Sykes in action during his time at Leicestershire. Picture: ED MELIA

James Sykes in action during his time at Leicestershire. Picture: ED MELIA - Credit: Archant

James Sykes is back at Godmanchester Town in 2018 – and he has Cambs & Hunts Premier League title glory in his sights.

The spin bowler has returned to his first club, where he first tasted cricket as a primary school pupil, following a seven-year spell at Leicestershire.

Sykes played more than 40 first class, List A and T20 matches in that time. He also claimed the wicket of former Australian captain Shane Watson during a 2012 game against the touring side.

Now he is relishing a return to the local scene and he is targeting success in Whiting & Partners Division One for a Godmanchester side which will again be skippered by Matt Durrant.

Sykes said: “I wandered down to Godmanchester last summer and realised how long I’d been away from friends and family.

“I had a great seven years of my life at Leicestershire, but I’m looking forward to playing with mates again, being close to my family and enjoying the social side of cricket a bit more.

“I’ve always loved club cricket. Even while I was in Leicestershire I would ask to play on a Saturday at Lutterworth.

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“I had an initial chat with Matt and a couple of others, but we haven’t set any specific targets yet, but the aim overall has to be promotion. We should be aiming to win the league next season.”

Club chairman Dave Ash believes the return of Sykes will be a major boost to a Town side which surprisingly struggled for much of 2017 – eventually finishing in ninth position.

Ash said: “We are thrilled that James is coming home to Godmanchester.

“He brings with him a wealth of first-class experience and an enviable bowling record.

“But James is not only a talented bowler – he is also the type of all-round good clubman that h always been the hallmark of a Godmanchester player.

“After a disappointing season in 2017 for the fist XI, we now have the basis of a team that can genuinely challenge for the league title this summer.”

The new Whiting & Partners Division One season begins on April 14 when Godmanchester go to fierce rivals Ramsey, who were the leading local club when finishing as runners-up last season.

Three other local sides - ambitious Eaton Socon, Waresley and newly-promoted Kimbolton also feature in that section.