WOODHOUSE GRANGE are eyeing a treble of the right variety in their date with destiny in tomorrow’s Davidstow Village Cup final at Lord’s tomorrow.
The all-conquering York Senior League outfit, fresh from being crowned as Premier Division champions for an unprecedented fourth successive season last weekend, are seeking to provide considerable polish by way of victory over Oxfordshire-based opponents Great and Little Tew at the home of cricket (11am start).
Sutton-upon-Derwent based Woodhouse have previous experience in the blue-riband 40-over national competition, with tomorrow’s encounter being their sixth final appearance, while their Home Counties Premier Cricket League rivals are in their maiden appearance in the showpiece.
Not that final days have been too kind to Woodhouse, who have won just twice in five appearances – in 1995 and 2007 – and are seeking to avoid a hat-trick of final defeats tomorrow as they aim to add another entry to their packed club honours board.
Captain Nick Hadfield is hoping to lift the trophy for the first time under his command in his fifth final appearance and admits the side’s recent history in the competition, given that most things have gone Woodhouse’s way in recent seasons, represents a bit of a bugbear.
After defeat at Lord’s in 2008, the York-based side lost abjectly to Hertfordshire side Reed in their last appearance in 2012, which will serve as a motivational tool for tomorrow’s assignment.
Given the fact that tomorrow’s final has extra gravitas as it coincides with bicentennial celebrations at Lord’s, Hadfield and his team-mates are desperate to making doubly sure it is their day on the pitch.
Hadfield said: “We are really looking forward to it. Lord’s is an amazing place, even though we have been lucky enough and privileged enough to get there before.
“It does not get any better for an amateur cricketer to go to Lord’s and to be treated as a professional for the day, the night before and following evening. But obviously, you want to win – we are in pretty good form and looking forward to performing well.
“We have quite a rich heritage in the competition. But the only blot on the copybook is that we have only won it twice, two from five and we are hoping to definitely turn it around.
“It will be my first time as captain there, so to lift it would be very nice.
“We did not perform particularly well up to our ability in 2012. It was a game we really should have won and were disappointed with that, so, hopefully, we can turn that one around and win it.”
On their final opponents, Hadfield, who will travel down along with his team-mates to the capital this evening after their league game with Easingwold, added: “We have not played against them before, so they will be an unknown quantity.
“But we expect them to be a good team, having got to the final. For us, it’s just about playing well this time.”
That is certainly what they did in the semi-final against Birmingham Premier League Division Three outfit Milford Hall, in a powerhouse display against their Stafford-based hosts.
Leading the way was big-hitting Tom Young, who smashed 155 from just 88 balls – his knock featuring 14 fours and eight sixes. He and Chris Bilton, who hit 75, put on 220 for the fourth wicket as Woodhouse recovered from 29-3 to reach 298-9 before dismissing the hosts for 172.
It was Woodhouse’s eighth victory in this year’s competition, which has attracted 320 competing clubs from across the country and followed national-round wins over White Rose rivals Sessay, who won the cup in 2010, Flintshire outfit Northop and more Tyke opponents in Oulton.
Those wins arrived after triumphs against Fairburn, Spofforth, Sheriff Hutton Bridge and Studley Royal in the North Yorkshire (South) qualifying section, with their cup journey starting way back in April.
Hadfield, who shares captaincy duties with fellow stalwart Steve Burdett, who leads the side in league games, said: “We have a great mixture of experience; I count myself in that category along with Steve and Mike Burdett, who have been to the final five or six times; and some exciting young players.
“This year, everyone has performed. It has not been one guy who has dominated. There have been performances from many players and everyone has contributed, which is very important.”
A special commemorative dinner organised by the MCC will take place in the Long Room at Lord’s tomorrow evening for both teams to tie in with the 200th birthday celebrations of the home of cricket.