National Village Knockout: Sessay ready to shock York champs Woodhouse Grange

NARG 1206267 Sessay's Mark Wilkie and Matthew Till. (1206267AM6)
NARG 1206267 Sessay's Mark Wilkie and Matthew Till. (1206267AM6)

Underdogs Sessay must thwart the leaders of the York Senior League on Sunday to edge within touching distance of their time to shine at the ‘Home of Cricket’.

The village side will travel to Woodhouse Grange of the league above for a North Yorkshire quarter-final clash, with the winners moving one match away from a spot in the Lord’s Cricket Ground final.

Sessay have made sweet progress in the Davidstow National Village Cup competition, and have already knocked out the holders Cleator CC of Hull and 2012 runners-up Woodhouses.

And captain Stephen Langstaff believes his side are prepared to upset the odds again at the weekend and rattle Woodhouse.

“We are starting as underdogs but that’s not something that fazes us,” said the skipper.

“If you ask most people in Yorkshire who will win, they will naturally say Woodhouse.

“We have already achieved all of our objectives in this competition. Now we are just two games away from playing at Lord’s.

“Everyone is keen to play. Everyone is excited and looking forward to it. I hope they all play with freedom and confidence.”

Langstaff’s men must reverse the form between the two sides if they are to reach the last four of the national competition.

Sessay lost to Woodhouse Grange in the YSL League Cup earlier this summer, when a “bad 10-over spell” cost them a Bank Holiday shock.

Woodhouse, the reigning champions in the YSL Premier League, also reached the Black Sheep Cup final last season, which pits Yorkshire league winners against each other.

“They are a very well-drilled side that’s competent with both bat and ball,” Langstaff added.

“We know we are going to have to play well to beat them.”
And the importance of success in the National competition has not been lost on the captain.

Sessay won the competition at Lord’s in 2011, and Langstaff said the whole club was aiming for a repeat in 2014.

“We have prided ourselves over the last few years at doing well in this competition. It’s good for confidence and good for momentum,” he said.

“When you get wins, it builds the team spirit.”

Batsman Mark Wilkie will head into Sunday’s clash in prime form after notching his second century in the last three weeks to help Sessay beat Driffield CC 2nds by six wickets.

The victory strengthened Sessay’s promotion bid to regain their Premier place, as they moved above Pickering into second spot in Division One.

This Saturday, Sessay head to Leeds side Whitkirk who sit in the middle of the table.

And Langstaff reiterated that he would swap National Village Cup progress for league promotion come the end of the year.

“Saturday is still the bigger game of the weekend,” he added.