LEEK cricketing legend Kim Barnett, pictured right, has left Bignall End to join Hem Heath in the top tier of the North Staffordshire & South Cheshire League.
The 53-year-old former Derbyshire, Gloucestershire and England all-rounder is no stranger to the Trentham Lakes-based club, having coached there for the past couple of seasons.
Hem Heath skipper Lee Ridgway said: "Myself and vice-captain John Cheadle are both young lads, so it is going to help us having Kim on the field to offer advice. After training sessions last season, I'd sit down with Kim and talk through different scenarios, particularly about cup cricket, which was beneficial.
"Hopefully, he will not only improve us as a team but also help me to become a better captain as well," added 30-year-old Ridgway. Barnett scored more than 28,000 runs during his first class career after taking the step up from local club cricket with Leek, and he is rich in experience. Last season, he amassed 723 runs for Bignall End – but it wasn't enough to prevent the club from being relegated to Division Three of the NSSCL.
Barnett's move up into the Premier Division is sure to see him receive a warm welcome when Hem Heath visit Leek and his other former club Checkley this summer.
Ipstones native Barnett, who lives in Leek, won four Test caps with England and made a single one-day appearance.
Another local player who has switched clubs in the NSSCL this winter is Cheadle captain Shaun Jenkinson, who has joined Barlaston.