Mistley are just two wins from Lord’s final

MISTLEY Cricket Club and Sussex opponents Rottingdean will enter “unchartered territory” when they meet for a place in the semi-finals of the Persimmon National Village Cup on Sunday.

The Essex side, who entered the competition for the first time this season, and their opponents face each other at Mistley’s picturesque New Road ground starting at 1pm.

Mistley skipper John Manning, who has been with the club for nine years, said: “I subscribe to The Cricketer magazine, who run the competition, and when I was reading it during the winter I wondered if we were eligible to enter.

“I put an entry form in and we found out in March that our application had been accepted. We have won five rounds to get this far, and have had some complimentary remarks from opposing teams about the standard of our team.”

Manning, who is now 36 and in his third year as captain, admitted he did not know much about Sunday’s opponents, who are expected to bring around 30 supporters with them.

“I spoke to their chairman to arrange the logistics for Sunday and he said it is only their second season in the competition, and they went out in the first round last year, so it will be unchartered territory for both teams.

“We have been drawn at home in every round so far, except against Elmstead Grasshoppers in the regional final, and we will be at home again in the semi-final if we get through.”

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Under the rules of the competition, which culminates in a final at Lord’s on September 4, Mistley are unable to field Australian Kyran Young and South African Kemsley Robb.

“It means we will be without two of the top-five batsmen, but it is an opportunity for our 2nd XI players to come into the side and do well. Unsurprisingly, availability was sketchy in the previous rounds, but otherwise we will be at full strength on Sunday!” added Manning.

A crowd of around 120 were present at New Road to see Mistley reach the last eight - 286 village sides entered the competition in its 40th year this season - and an even bigger turn out is expected on Sunday.

Mistley’s 3rd XI have brought the start of their match against Copdock & Old Ipswichians on the club’s adjoining second pitch forward to an 11.30am start so that they can watch some of the tie.

Mistley’s run so far

Round One: v High Roding - won by 12 runs

Round Two: v Bentley - won by 3 wkts

Round Three: v Elmstead Grasshoppers - won by 4 wkts

Round Four: Great Brickhill - won by 4 runs

Round Five: Rowledge - won by 3 wkts

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