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Woodhouse Grange skipper keyed up for league and Village Cup deciders
ALL-CONQUERING Woodhouse Grange Cricket Club are counting down to the biggest weekend in their 70-year history.
Captain Steve Burdett will lead his side out at Lord’s on Sunday in the final of the Yorkshire Tea National Village Cup against Reed.
And, 24 hours before their fifth date at HQ, the Sutton-on-Derwent club host Dunnington in a Hunters York & District Senior League premier division title decider.
The Hunters Premier League Cup is already safely tucked away in the trophy cabinet and the addition of a 13th championship shield plus a third Village Cup would represent a momentous treble.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, it’s the biggest weekend in a long time,” said Burdett, a veteran of the club’s last three Lord’s outings.
“Ultimately, league cricket is where you are judged and the table never lies over the course of a season. Tomorrow’s game against Dunnington is between the two strongest teams in the premier division. We are seven points ahead so it is in our hands, which is all you can ask.
“It’s difficult to think about Sunday when we’ve got such a big game the day before. It’s not ideal to have two big games so close together, but if we do well it could be a fantastic weekend.”
Woodhouse lifted the National Village Cup in 1995 and 2007 and finished as runners-up in 1999 and 2008, with Burdett one of six players to have previously experienced the Lord’s atmosphere.
The skipper believes the old heads have a key role to play in nursing the five final debutants – Tom Young, Mike Hattee, Chris Bilton, Andrew Horner and Chris Suddaby – through the occasion.
Burdett said: “I can recall when I played the first time that you feel you have achieved something just getting to Lord’s.
“I believe it is no good getting there and not winning. Hopefully that bit of experience from the lads that have been before will help us.”
He added: “This is an achievement for everyone who works so hard at the club and for the young lads who will have the chance to experience it for the first time.”
Grange have used only 13 players in the first team this season and Burdett believes a settled side has played a significant role in their success.
Richard Mann, who joined the club from Goole last season, is ineligible under the strict Village Cup rules, while Andrew Anderson is the other unlucky man to miss out.
“We’ve only had 13 players all season, which is an advantage,” said Burdett. “We’ve got really good commitment from all our players.
“Richard can’t play but he will be coming with us. Andrew will also miss out and that is just down to availability through the competition.”
Grange came through the North Yorkshire (South) section of the draw with wins over Alne, Sheriff Hutton Bridge and Staxton before negotiating the national rounds of the competition in four successive home ties, beating Scottish side Freuchie, local league rivals Sessay, Streethouse and Cropston.
Only Hertfordshire League side Reed now stand between Grange and a third Village Cup triumph, but Burdett said: “I’m never one for looking at the opposition and finding who does what for them.
“The more homework you do the more you might worry about certain players and not worry about others. It is a single game of cricket and everybody is good enough to beat everybody else.”
Vastly-experienced opener Nick Hadfield has been one of the mainstays of the Grange batting line-up and wicketkeeper Mike Burdett has made a huge contribution behind the stumps.
However, Burdett reserved special praise for emerging talent Chris Bilton, who conjured one of the knocks of the season against Streethouse, smashing 100 not out off a whirlwind 52 balls.
“Chris has performed on Saturdays and Sundays and will continue to develop,” he said. “He’s the best young talent I’ve seen for a lot of years.”
Dunnington have agreed to bring tomorrow’s league game forward from 12.30pm to 11am, allowing Grange to travel to London for an evening drinks reception ahead of the final on Sunday, which starts at 11am.
• Keep up to date with the National Village Cup final by following The Press’ Steve Carroll on Twitter @scarrollpress on Sunday.
Woodhouse Grange (v Reed): Mike Hattee, Nick Hadfield, Chris Bilton, Mike Burdett (wkt), Andrew Bilton, Tom Young, Steve Burdett (capt), Chris Suddaby, Andrew Horner, Tom Quinn, David Suddaby.