THE Yorkshire club Woodhouse Grange, the champions, will play Valley End, from Chobham in Surrey, in the final of the npower Village Cup at Lordís on Monday Sept 8, having beaten off competition from the soggy summer and more than 400 other village clubs.
Both teams had to contend with the frustration of two successive washed out semi-finals before claiming a spot in the dream final at the home of cricket.
Woodhouse Grange return to Lord's, courtesy of a comfortable 87-run away win at Lancashire rivals Woodhouses. Valley End booked their first npower final with a 37-run home win by against Carew, from Dyfed.
Valley End will arrive at Lordís with an average age of just 22, with only one player, cricket manager Ian Guest, over 30. According to Guest, one of the sideís strengths is a long batting line-up, with all players used in the cup run having scored centuries for the club. Batsman Karen Singh, 126 not out in one of the rain-affected semi-finals, all-rounder Scott Jarvis and left-arm spinner Ed Young are highlighted as three players who could catch the eye.
Woodhouse Grange are fast becoming a dominant force in the village game with a fourth appearance in the npower Village Cup final in 13 years, following successes against Tiddington (1995) and Findon (2007) and a loss to Linton Park in 1999.
The npower Village Cup attracted entries from more than 400 teams this summer.
The competition is organised and administered by The Wisden Cricketer magazine www.thewisdencricketer.com
This competition has a certain feel-good factor, but the standard is simply too high, suspiciously high. It's hardly Sunday village cricket, more the equivalent to premier league. And there are some clubs among the 400-plus who fill the side with Saturday league pot-hunters.