Sun-kissed beaches, azure-blue seas and a glass of rum punch – whisper it gently, but the New Farnley boys could be going to Barbados, writes Leon Wobschall.
The Central Yorkshire League Premier Division outfit, currently enjoying a calypso summer, are dreaming of the Caribbean and it’s all thanks to their sizzling exploits in the Cockspur National Club Twenty20 competition, which has seen them progress to the northern finals, which take place on August 28.
Triumph in that and they will progress to national finals day on September 29 when they will come under the glare of the spotlight on Sky Sports, which will screen the showpiece live from the Ford County Ground in Chelmsford – home of Essex CCC.
While that represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, there’s the not inconsiderable prize of a mega-holiday to think of as well, with the winners of the competition jetting off to the cricket-mad West Indies island – birthplace of legends such as Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott and Sir Everton Weekes – early next spring on an all-inclusive pre-season trip, courtesy of the Barbados Tourism Authority.
So don’t be surprised if the current song in vogue at Farnley’s clubhouse is Barbados – the typical tropical retro no.1 of the mid-1970!
Skipper Dan Busfield said: “It might be a long way off, but we’ve definitely all been speaking about that (Barbados). We want it querying how many people we can take and everyone suddenly wants to be part of the squad!
“It’s a fantastic prize, although just to get to the final would be a big achievement.
“We’ve already had a number of lads saying they want the earpiece in when Bumble (Sky Sports cricket pundit David Lloyd) is talking to the fielders.
“I think we’ll have to be careful who we select if that happens. It might have to be ‘Fish’ (Neil Fisher) with his experience...”
Farnley – the only non-ECB Premier League club still standing in the competition – won through to the northern finals last Sunday after triumphing in the Yorkshire regional tournament at Tickhill Cricket Club.
In the first game, Farnley swatted aside Lincoln-based Bracebridge Heath, current leaders in the Lincolnshire Cricket Board Premier League, by 59 runs, dismissing their rivals for 90 after opening with 149 all out.
That put Farnley –- who qualified for last weekend’s event after beating Townville in the Central Yorkshire League t20 finals at Northowram CC – into the final against highly-rated South Yorkshire League outfit Wickersley, who very much had “home advantage” with their ground just down the road.
After dismissing Wickersley for 126, Farnley knocked off the required target for the loss of just one wicket, with wicket-keeper/batsman Joe Suggitt following up his innings of 30 in the first game with an impressive contribution of 46.
But pride of place went to Fisher, who struck 62, while proving more than useful with the ball with two notable contributions.
The next hurdle in their path are South Durham and North Yorkshire League outfit Chester-le-Street, although Farnley will have to do it the hard way to beat them with the north-easterners having home advantage.
Busfield’s troops will travel up the A1 in eight days’ time and despite the date of August 28 also being pencilled in for the Senior Yorkshire Council Championship play-offs, which Farnley are scheduled to play in, an arrangement will have to be reached for the club to feature in the t20 showpiece with the other assignment put on hold, which the club are confident will happen.
And Farnley certainly have plenty of priority business today in the shape of a huge home clash with current Premier Division leaders Wrenthorpe with the Lawns Lane outfit still having a sniff of lifting the top-flight title for the first time in their history.
Busfield added: “We are doing fantastically well this year. We haven’t lost a game since June 2 in any form of cricket and at the moment we’re four points behind Wrenthorpe.
“In terms of the t20 (northern) final, we still don’t quite know what we are doing with that as it’s planned for the same day as the play-offs. we’ll need to speak to the league about that.”