While the Ashes series is set to be finish at the Oval over the next three days, across London at the home of cricket Lord’s, Houghton Main CC will be looking to make history.

Houghton have come through eight rounds of the National Village Cup, which was entered by 426 clubs, beating champions Folkton and Flixton before winning their semi-final at Astwood Bank in Worcestershire.  They won the final in 2006 and are hoping to do the same again at the 30,000-seater stadium against Hertfordshire club Reed.

Captain Michael Brown said: “We are getting more and more excited by the day.  “We have picked our team and done some research on the opposition so it’s sinking in now. “It’s a great occasion but we’re definitely turning up to win. We want to go all the way. We have a lot of competitive lads who will be up for it. 

“Reed are top of their league so we suspect they will be a good side but so are we if we are on our game. It’s been a great summer for anyone who loves cricket with the World Cup and the Ashes and we’re hoping to finish it off by bringing this trophy back to Barnsley.”

Houghton are expecting plenty of support from people in the local area as they look to replicate the achievements of the 2006 team under the captaincy of Ernie Heseltine who is now team manager.  Brown said: “There are lots of people going down in coaches, trains and cars to support us. They are people from the area, friends and relatives of the players but also other lads from local clubs who want us to do well.

In Text Promo Image

“Ernie tells me on a regular basis that we have to do what they did in 2006 and we have a 100 per cent record at Lord’s as a club which we want to maintain.”

Houghton have players in their team from Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan as well as Barnsley and the surrounding area.  Brown said: “We have a good mix of nationalities and personalities and we’re very inclusive as a club. We’re a tight-knit group who get on well with each other and that shows on the pitch.”

Senior player Michael Bates said: “It’s finally sunk in now that we’re going to Lord’s. None of us have played in a game like that but it will be a huge day for the club and the area. It will be massive to win it for all the volunteers and people who have been involved with the club for many years.

“Walking through the Long Room and doing the walk people have been doing for centuries will be completely different to anything we have experienced but, once we get out there, we just need to treat it like a game of cricket and win it.” 

Jamie Allinson, from Worsbrough, is the youngest in the team at 19.  He said: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I never thought I would play at Lord’s.  I joined from Worsbrough Bridge and I have become a much better player.

“It was a long run in this cup but, once we got to the semi-finals, I was very confident we would get to the final and hopefully win it.” 

Houghton lost their penultimate South Yorkshire Championship game at champions Appleby Frodingham on Saturday. Imran Khan made 52 in Houghton’s 158 but the hosts won with six wickets left.  Houghton are now seventh.