CRICKET: Woodhall skipper Luffman praises Sri Lanka star Bandara

Jack Luffman - full of praise
Jack Luffman - full of praise

Woodhall Spa skipper Jack Luffman has praised the club’s overseas’ star Malinga Bandara for the positive impact he’s made at the club this season.

Bandara faced a difficult task stepping into the shoes of fellow Sri Lankan star Prasanna Jaywardene who did so well at Jubilee Park 12 months ago.

With Jayawardene back in his country’s Test squad, Woodhall stepped in to sign leg-spinning all rounder Bandara.

After a relatively slow start to his time with Woodhall, Bandara has highlighted his impressive pedigree in recent weeks.

He’s picked up six wicket hauls in both his last two appearances and - promoted to number three in the order - was also in the runs against Grimsby at Jubilee Park last Saturday.

Luffman said: “Malinga is a great guy and a top class cricketer. He’s settled in really well and is a popular figure at the club.

“He’s helping out with coaching and a lot of the younger players really do look up to him.

“His bowling record speaks for itself and it’s good he’s taking wickets. It’s also nice to see him score a few runs and I’m sure he’ll be looking to keep his form going.”

Woodhall - and Bandara - will be in action tomorrow (Saturday) at Billingborough when they will be looking to step up their challenge for honours.

After a sticky patch a couple of weeks ago, Luffman is hoping a much improved display against Grimsby is a sign of things to come.

He said: “We had a long chat before the Grimsby game and it was a much better performance.

“We’re still in a good position in the league. There’s not many points between the top five or six sides and anybody could win it (the title).

“Let’s be honest, we discovered last season that you don’t win anything by being top of the table in June and July.”

Woodhall led the title race for the majority of the 2013 campaign only to be overtaken by Sleaford on the very last day of the season.

Luffman is hoping all rounder Matthew Sargeant will be fit to return tomorrow after back trouble while seamer Luke Smith will face a test on his damaged ribs

*Woodhall’s hopes of selecting Nottinghamshire’s Andy Carter appear to be over after the highly rated pace bowler was ruled out for the season by a stress fracture of his back.