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Home advantage key for Woodhouse Grange's Village Cup semi-final tie
BIG game experience could book Woodhouse Grange a trip to Lord’s on Sunday.
The Sutton-on-Derwent club, who play in the Hunters York & District Senior League, entertain Leicestershire outfit Cropston in the semi-finals of the Yorkshire Tea National Village Cup with a trip to the home of cricket awaiting the winner.
Grange last made the final in 2008 and key players, including skipper Steve Burdett and opening bat Nick Hadfield, remain from the side that fell to Valley End at the final hurdle.
With a number of young players eager to taste a day out in London, Burdett reckons home advantage, plus the wise words from the players who have experienced what it takes to win a semi-final before, could prove the difference.
“It is a wonderful experience to get to Lord’s,” said Burdett. “Our biggest advantage could be that some of our players have been fortunate to have experienced it before. It’s a big game for the club and prestigious for the Senior League.
“From the squad that got there four years ago, I think there are eight different players this time. Some of the lads have seen it but not experienced it but we have that balance of youth and experience.”
Woodhouse know little about Cropston, but the uncertainty does not worry the skipper.
“I’m not one for looking at stats and figures,” Burdett added. “You have to play what’s in front of you. If we concentrate on our own performance and strengths, do our best, and someone else wins then good luck to them.
“But if we play to our potential there is no reason why we can’t return to Lord’s.”
Much will depend on opener Hadfield, who scored successive centuries in two games last weekend and is the leading scorer in the competition – having struck 347 at an average of 86.7. Grange’s exciting teenager, Chris Bilton, is close behind with 273 runs at an average of 91.
Woodhouse also boast a well-rounded bowling attack with the Village Cup wickets shared evenly between Tom Quinn (12), Andrew Horner (ten), Burdett (nine) and David Suddaby (eight).
On having home advantage, Burdett added: “It is a nice advantage. Our wicket is different to most clubs. It’s a bit more bouncy and a harder wicket. It’s better than travelling. When we travelled to Freuchie earlier in the competition, and didn’t play, some of the lads said they were tired and that will make a difference (to the visitors).
“It’s home advantage and home support and how the wicket plays.”
But Burdett won’t look forward to the cup until Saturday’s Senior League commitments at Easingwold are out of the way. “I still very much concentrate on the league,” he said.
“Sunday cricket is a huge bonus and, when you get as close as this, it is nice to see all the rewards for all the other people in the club. It would be lovely to get back to Lord’s.
“It’s a wonderful experience as an amateur cricketer.”