WOODBANK captain Anthony Harris has hailed the development of opening batsman Harry Singh following the 15-year-old’s impressive start to his first full season of GMCL Premier Division cricket.

Singh broke into the first team at the back end of last summer and has opened the batting with both pro Josh Gale and, currently, former first-class wicketkeeper batsman Charlie Lowen.

Singh may have only scored five in Saturday’s commanding six-wicket victory at Clifton, putting Woodbank second in the table, but he has scored 217 runs in eight matches and shared in century stands with both men.

Harris believes the current partnership of Lowen and Singh, with Gale batting at three, is the best balance for a team which started the summer aiming to just avoid relegation.

“Saturday was Harry’s first real failure where somebody’s actually got him out. He’s either been run out or got at least 20-odd. He’s been a real positive,” said the skipper.

“Charlie opening has taken a bit of pressure off the pro, who’s in at three.

“The pair will work well together because Charlie thinks a lot about the game and will talk to Harry.

"Charlie picks things up I’ve no idea about. He’s telling me that somebody’s bowling with a scrambled seam. I just go in, see it when it pitches and try and whack it!”

Lowen is an ex-Leicestershire second-teamer with two first-class appearances in early 2016 for Loughborough MCC Universities under his belt, including a draw against Surrey in which he scored 66. 

Current England Test and one-day players Rory Burns, Ben Foakes and the Curran brothers, Sam and Tom, were all in the opposition team.

On Saturday, in pursuit of only 117 at Clifton, he top-scored with 44 off 69 balls, while Harris chipped in with 25, securing the win inside 28 overs of the chase.

Earlier, new-ball pair Kieran Grundy and Lewis McIntosh shared three wickets, while left-arm spinner Chris Read battled against injury to star with a superb 4-17 from 15 overs, including the prized wicket of Gareth Cross for 19, as Clifton were bowled out inside 45 overs.

It means Woodbank (10 matches, five wins, three abandonments and two defeats) are second, 14 points behind unbeaten leaders Denton St Lawrence. 

“Our target at the start of the year, having lost a couple of players, was just to avoid relegation. That’s still our target,” said Harris. “But if we keep winning, we’ll be there and thereabouts.

“We stuck Clifton in knowing they were a couple short. Kieran and Lewis tied them down, and then we got Gareth when he was just settling.

“Chris is struggling with a hamstring injury and a broken thumb after Friday night’s T20, but he bowled seven maidens. He has high expectations in the field and drives people forward. He’s a real leader. Steve Holt is too. He’s someone I go to and run ideas past.”

Two of Woodbank’s three rained-off matches have been against DSL and champions Flixton, who are fourth.

“That’s frustrating,” added Harris. “Beat Denton and you’re seven points closer. They haven’t lost a game, but lose one and they could lose two. Then it’s a different picture.”