Following his run spree last summer, Sleaford is delighted to announce the re-signing of Henry Cooper for their 2023 Lincolnshire Premier League campaign.
Cooper is one of New Zealand domestic cricket’s stand-out batters in recent times. An accomplished opening bat, Cooper represents the star-studded Northern Knights, a squad featuring no less than 11 Blackcaps, including the likes of Williamson, Boult, Southee, and de Grandhomme.
Since his first-class debut in November 2016, Cooper has become a key performer in Northern District’s Plunket Shield (FC), and Ford Trophy (List A) sides. Heading into the 2022/23 season, Cooper averages 35 in both formats, but his numbers are on the rise.
In first-class cricket, Cooper averaged 40.90 (17/18), 36.23 (18/19), 49.90 (19/20), 26.62 (2020/21), and 34.88 (2021/22). In the one-day competition, he finished 6th (19/20), and 4th (20/21) on the Ford Trophy run charts, with 417 runs at 52.12, and 405 runs at 50.62, respectively.
He has career-best scores of 149 (FC), and 146* – the latter, a quite sensational maiden List A ton in March 2021 in what was a sudden-death elimination final against Wellington. His 94-ball effort included 11 fours and 7 sixes, all with a strike rate of 155.31. The Knights racked up a match-winning total of 351, and incredibly, Cooper finished not out in the rain-shortened 42-over affair.
His exploits in recent years, including his record-breaking 59-ball 107 in a T20 for his Minor Association, Northland, have thrown his name into national consideration. He has represented a New Zealand XI against the touring Indians, played for the Knights against Pakistan A, and was picked for New Zealand A in a practice match against the touring Windies side.
The opening bat, who also bowls very useful off-spin, has also enjoyed similar success abroad, during 5 prior UK stints. The first three were in the North, with a 2-season stint in the Huddersfield League for Broad Oak (2015-16), followed by a season in the now-defunct Pennine League for Rochdale (2017), one in the West of England Premier League (Burbage and Easton Royal – 2018), and his latest for Sleaford (Lincolnshire ECB Premier League – 2022).
In 2016, he was named the Drakes “Overseas Player of the Year” (1,135 at 66.76 and 21 wickets at 19.27). The following summer, he belted a further 1,216 runs at 57.90 (889 at 59.27 in the League) and took 17 wickets at 18.24. He moved to the West of England Premier League in 2018, where he continued to star for Burbage and Easton Royal hitting 844 runs at 56.27 and 34 wickets at 12.88 (685 at 48.93 and 29 at 14.34 in the league).
Cooper’s focus has been heavily on churning runs in domestic cricket since, but after a 3-year hiatus, the run machine returned last summer to play for Sleaford in the Lincolnshire ECB Premier League. His UK run-spree continued, racking up an incredible 1,710 runs at 106.88 alongside 38 wickets at 17.47 for good measure.
Unsurprisingly, given his exploits, Sleaford was quick to re-sign their Kiwi star for a second stint in 2023.