FOLKTON & Flixton Cricket Club are celebrating a special occasion after lifting a major national trophy at the home of cricket.

The North Yorkshire outfit, who play in the Hunters York & District Senior League premier division, beat Hampshire side Liphook & Ripsley by 72 runs at Lord's in the final of The Cricketer National Village Cup. 

The result, courtesy of a fine bowling effort, maintained the York Senior League's recent dominance of this competition for village teams, with Woodhouse Grange winning in 2014 and 2015 and Sessay triumphing in 2016 and reaching the final last year.

F&F captain Will Norman told The Cricketer magazine: "We are a small village but because our ground is so good we can attract players. 

"In April I didn’t think we’d make this. I started daring to dream in the last-16 tie when we knocked off 270 against Broadbottom, nine down, the last-wicket pair putting on 40.”

Asked why Yorkshire do so well in this competition, he said: “It’s in Yorkshiremen’s blood. We just love it.” 

About 300 sides from all over the British Isles entered this year's Village Cup, which has been run by The Cricketer since the competition's inception in 1972.

F&F had negotiated eight rounds to reach their day out at Lord's.
They had chased seven times in those eight ties but this time were asked to bat first after losing the toss - and they started unconvincingly, falling to 59-4 around the midway stage, before recovering to post 198-8.

Liphook & Ripsley's top order also fell for an underwhelming score, leaving them on 55-4. 

But, whereas Folkton turned their innings around, Liphook were all out for 126.

Charles Janczur, the Liphook captain, was responsible for the first two Folkton wickets to fall, removing Stuart Stocks - who could have been dismissed in the second over - and Rich Malthouse with 19 runs on the board.

Tom Norman and brother Will departed in quick succession to leave the southern outfit in good shape, before 17-year-old student Will Hutchinson and Matthew Nesfield, a gamekeeper, knocked the ball around nicely to take the score into three figures.

Hutchinson (48) was denied his half-century by George Neave, but Folkton were sitting prettier on 144-5. 

Nesfield (60) was later removed by Suman Ganguly, who also took out Harry Walmsley - but only after the lorry driving club stalwart had smashed 35 off 17 balls to boost the final total.

Liphook began their reply with intent, scoring at eight an over, but three wickets from Connor Stephenson and one from 16-year-old Jake Hatton put Folkton on top, the score on 55-4.

Once key man Ganguly was removed, the Yorkshiremen had the edge.
Grant Rouse and Richard Williams briefly threatened a turnaround, but they fell in quick succession and Walmsley mopped up the last two wickets, all amid some reckless batting.

Off-spinner Tom Norman (3-18) was the standout bowler, taking a wicket in each of his first two overs before removing danger-man Rouse, brother of Kent star Adam. 

Richard Malthouse also bowled tidily, taking 1-18 in eight overs.

Skipper Will Norman added: “We desperately wanted to bowl first, and at 59-4 we were a bit nervous. Matthew and Will rescued us. 

"My brother Tom bowled beautifully. In big games he stands up. The more pressure you put on, the better he bowls."