It’s not often you find yourselves in a cricket cup final in the middle of June, only two months into the season.
But Papplewick and Linby aren’t complaining - because the reward for winning it would edge them ever closer to a dream date at Lord’s.
Papplewick have reached this Sunday’s regional final in their maiden season in the Davidstow National Village Cup. And victory would propel them into the knockout stages as champions of the Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire district.
As one of 32 regional winners, they would take on the champions of the Worcestershire section on Sunday 28th June and then progress to meet the winners of the clash between the Shropshire champions and the Northamptonshire champions on Sunday 12th July. After that, it’s the quarter-finals on 26th July, the semis on 9th August and the final at Lord’s on 13th September.
Last season, one of Papplewick’s rivals in the Bassetlaw League, Clipstone Welfare, reached the last eight. But Jim Rhodes’s side have already knocked out Clipstone.
They followed up by crushing Leicestershire outfit Newbold Verdon, and on Sunday, they travel to meet another Leicester-based club, Newtown Linford, who won their regional semi by just two runs last weekend. Papplewick know little about Newtown, except that they hail from the same league as Barkby United, whom they thrashed by 88 runs in the last round.
The locals’ success is made even more praiseworthy by the fact that they are not allowed to play two of their best batsmen.
Competition rules forbid professionals, which rules out West Indian Justin Brathwaite, and any players who did not play at least four times for the club last season, which rules out star new signing Shaharyar Aslam.