Lord’s fever grips Royston

Reed Cricket Club gears up for biggest weekend in its history

REED Cricket Club are preparing for the biggest two days in its history this weekend – with a trip to Dunstable on Saturday in which a win would secure promotion to the Saracens Herts League Division One, before the small matter of the Yorkshire Tea National Village Cup final on Sunday at the home of cricket, Lord’s.

It has been a season of unprecedented success for the club, who have maintained their impressive domestic form while effectively negotiating their way through eight rounds of the National Village Cup (292 teams entered), leading to Sunday’s final against two-times winners, Yorkshire-based side Woodhouse Grange.

The furthest Reed have ever got in the prestigious competition was the quarter-final stage back in 1988 – a feat that has been talked about ever since. But having already gone two better than their predecessors, club captain James Heslam, 29, who has been at the club since the age of seven, says the players have a fantastic opportunity to write their own names into the history books. And to add further sentiment to the cause, James and his brother William – who both open the batting – are sons of John Heslam who captained the side in ‘88.

Chris Jackson’s father Mike was also the part of that team, as was Tim and Peter Tidey, father and uncle to current duo Sean and Jack Tidey.

“The achievement of the 1988 team has always been well talked about, and it has always been the aim to equal that – but to go two better is unbelievable and I still don’t think it has really sunk in,” Heslam told the Royston Crow.

So why have things suddenly clicked into gear this summer? The answer is simple, according to the skipper. “We’ve got a more rounded squad this year,” he said. “Everyone has contributed to our success, whereas before it was maybe restricted to fewer individuals.

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“The younger lads have also got more experienced, and their improvement over the last two/three years has greatly benefitted the team. We have also had a bit more luck than we perhaps have had in previous years, as we lost by one run last season in the last 32. The potential has always been there, but things have just come together this time.”

The team will be treated like professionals this weekend, with event sponsors Yorkshire Tea putting on a coach to transport the players direct to London straight after Saturday’s match at Dunstable.

They are being put up in a hotel near Lord’s on Saturday night, while every player has been given a tailored suit to wear for the special day.

“The whole occasion will be great,” added Heslam. “Leading the team out on to the famous pitch in front of a lot more spectators than we’re used to will special.

“It will be great to get the club’s name on the trophy. It would be a huge achievement that is recognised nationally, and would be proud day for everyone connected with the club.

“Promotion on Saturday would be absolutely fantastic, and if we can do the double it would be terrific.”

n Visit www.reedcc.co.uk for information on match tickets and travel.