Rockhampton CC captain James Williams hopes to return to Lord's in Davidstow Village Cup final in 2014
Rockhampton celebrate a wicket in the Davidstow Village Cup Final at Lord's. Picture by Sam Bowles, The Cricketer
A HEARTBREAKING defeat in the Davidstow Village Cup final will not stop Rockhampton attempting to return to Lord’s next year.
The Rams were just one wicket away from lifting the prestigious trophy at the Home of Cricket on Sunday, but Cleator’s last pair put on 15 in an incredible finish.
Having never gone beyond the regional stage of the competition before, Rockhampton’s run to the final caught the imagination of the village and surrounding areas with the club taking six coaches to London and approximately 600 fans cheering them on.
Home semi-finals and quarter-finals also attracted bumper crowds to give the club a significant financial boost through bar takings.
The players were put up in a hotel the night before the final, provided with tailor-made suits and given the same dressing room used by England during international matches.
And the dust had barely settled on their loss when Rockhampton captain James Williams insisted they are keen to go back for another taste of the unique experience.
He said: “We’ll be entering again next year and hopefully the draw is favourable to us. There’s nobody we think we can’t beat in the competition.
“It’s been surreal, from arriving at the hotel and going in the home changing room. It’s not something many clubs get to do.
“The fans were outstanding – very very loud – and the only disappointment was that we couldn’t get over the line.”
Williams admitted he has never played in a game of such high drama with the momentum shifting from one side to the other throughout.
Despite reaching 129-1 off 25 overs with Williams and Matt Tyler both hitting half-centuries and looking in good touch, Rockhampton were pegged back to 192-7 from 40 overs – their lowest score when batting first during the competition this year.
And Williams felt that both rain breaks – one in each innings – had an impact, particularly the second one, which saw the players go off with Rockhampton well on top having reduced Cleator to 106-6 with 16 overs left.
Williams said: “It’s something I’ve never experienced before. I think it was a game of two rain breaks.
“In our innings we were still up at a decent rate and to be fair they clawed it back superbly. “From where we were, we were disappointed not to get 220 or 230 but I thought 192 was defendable.
“Once we had them six down we were in the box seat when the rain came, and then they batted superbly after the break.
“They just held their nerve slightly better than we did in the end.”
Williams said playing at Lord’s with its famous slope was a ‘novel experience’.
The 28-year-old certainly thrilled the crowd with a highly entertaining 57 off 37 balls, but was frustrated not to go on and get a bigger score.
“It’s the best track I’ve played on this season to be fair,” he said.
“I was disappointed to get out when I did. That was when we really wanted to get on to 160 and then let the middle order have a go.
“It was nice to be hitting the ball that well, but they stuck to their guns and took wickets when they needed them and started to squeeze when they could.
“It definitely moves (off the slope). You don’t realise until you’re out there and you play bowlers like they’re off cutters and leg cutters rather than seam.
“That’s what we tried to do with the slope and hit towards the short boundary but sadly they did it better than we did.”
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