By Marcus Ally
Mayfield Cricket Club are just one match away from a Lord’s final.
The Sussex Division Two East League leaders will play host to Liphook & Ripsley, who are ninth in division one of the Southern Premier League, in the semi-final of the National Village Cup this Sunday (1pm) at Wellbrook Ground, with the winner reaching the final to be played at Lord’s Cricket Ground.
Skipper Rob Sharma could achieve every club cricketers dream of leading his team out at the home of cricket but he remains focused on the task in hand. “I can’t say it’s not something I haven’t thought about,” admitted Sharma. “But every time it crops into my head I bring myself back and say, ‘we’ve still got a game of cricket to go.’”
The club are expecting up to 400 cricket lovers from across the county to attend in a huge day for the local community.
It is Mayfield’s best ever run in the competition. They have reached the latter stages in recent years, this is the best chance for the tight knit group to play together at Lord’s
Aggressive left-arm spinner James Allen is the leading wicket-taker in the competition and Sharma believes that his eight overs will be a crucial section of the match. Having been a consistent performer for Mayfield in years gone by, Allen is now closer than ever to getting the opportunity to showcase his talents on cricket’s biggest stage of all.
Recent weather would have led some to believe it will a different type of match when it comes to this Sunday. However, Sharma explained “We’ve had a couple of days of rain which the groundsman is very happy about, it’s going to make the outfield and the wicket even better for the weekend.
“We know the wicket, we know the outfield and we know where the ball goes more regularly than not.”
The squad are not getting too carried away and will not let the occasion get the better off them Sharma said, and that the mindset is the same as when they beat Worlington in the quarter-final.
“We have the same approach, not taking things too seriously, we’ll have a good time on the pitch together, nothing really changes.
“There’s no pressure on the younger players, they go and play the cricket that they want to play, and with no fear of failure.
“The pressure is on people like myself, Jim Chaplin and Carl Shankland to put in the performances and win the game.
“There will be some nerves, but a little bit of adrenaline is not a bad thing.
“You’ve got to think of it as another game of cricket, not what it could lead to and not lead to, it’s about getting the job done on the day.”