Davidstow National Village Cup Final preview: Rockhampton CC v Cleator CC at Lord's
VILLAGE cricketers from Rockhampton will be treated like international stars as they prepare to play at Lord’s on Sunday.
The Rams are bidding to become the first-ever side from Gloucestershire to win the Davidstow National Village Cup, with only Cumbrian side Cleator standing in their way in the showpiece final.
Whatever the result, though, it will be a unique experience for the match-day squad, who will be put up in the Marriott Hotel in London on Saturday night before the game and head to the Home of Cricket the following morning wearing tailor-made suits, as arranged by competition sponsors Davidstow and organisers The Cricketer.
Rockhampton captain James Williams says the players are excited ahead of their big day and are determined to lift the prestigious trophy.
He said: “When you start the competition you look to play at Lord’s but don’t realise until they send through the itineraries exactly what it’s going to be like. They turn it into quite an occasion.
“There is a bit of a buzz with the media coverage. It’s excitement more than anything else now but it could turn to nervousness.
“It’s amazing to see peoples’ attitudes change. If we don’t win I think we are going to be massively disappointed, but from the outset our aim was just to get to Lord’s.
“We’re definitely going out to try and win it and it will be a blot on our copybook if we don’t to be honest.”
Rockhampton have won eight games to reach Lord’s having, remarkably, never progressed beyond the regional round of the competition before.
Having reached the quarter-finals in 2008 and the last 16 on other occasions with previous club Marshfield, Williams joined Rockhampton the week after they were knocked out of the Village Cup last year and was asked by director of cricket Jack Spence to captain the side in the competition this season in an attempt to change their mentality.
Williams is just one of three players in the side set to play in the final not to come through the ranks at the club, and with paid-for and first class cricketers not eligible to play in the competition he felt they could go far.
He said: “The club I played for before took it very seriously. We couldn’t get over the line and people got nervous when we got close to Lord’s but there’s a different atmosphere here – there’s a lack of fear because it’s unknown to them and they just play what’s in front of them.
“Marshfield were a very good side but I said to Jack that, because we don’t lose more than two players, all our star performers can play so I knew we were going to be hard to beat.”
Rockhampton played the same side who will be involved at Lord’s in their 12-run victory over Dumbleton last Saturday, with Williams scoring 133 to secure their highest-ever finish of fourth in the Glos/Wilts Division of the West of England Premier League.
Most of their victories on their route to Lord’s have come by convincing margins and Williams insists they will approach the final in the same way as they have the previous rounds by concentrating mainly on themselves rather than worrying about the opposition.
He said: “I don’t think they’re as much of a procession as they appear. We put a lot of effort in and the intensity is good.
“We are playing good cricket in the league and we’ve had a couple of good wins since the semi-final.
“We have looked at other teams in terms of who averages what but I think if you do that you build these people up.”
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