Holders Barwick-in-Elmet will head into this year’s Fred Fleetwood Cup final fully confident of repeating the success of 12 months ago, according to captain Gary Bettison.
Barwick’s tail had nerves of steel to see them over the line against Division One rivals St Chad’s Broomfield on Sunday.
Division Two side Rufforth will form the challengers in the final shoot-out at Church Fenton next month after hammering league newboys Crompark by 105 runs away from home.
Barwick will be firm favourites to lift the trophy against a side battling relegation in the league below and captain Bettison said his men would embrace the favourites’ tag.
He said: “I feel very confident going onto the final. I don’t know too much about Rufforth but they have obviously had a good cup run so far. It’s fair to say, I’m happy going into the final playing them.
“I believe we will be favourites, but we don’t want to jinx it. It’s a cup at the end of the day and you can’t write any team off. But I do feel very confident. We will have our strongest available team out.”
Barwick overcame a top order collapse to overturn Chad’s 150 all out with number six Andrew Styan earning the man of the match prize for 49 and 2-38.
It was Styan’s middle order partnership with Lee Storey which put Barwick back on track before tailenders Danny Leadbeater (7no) and Tony Wood (4no) crept over the line.
“We crawled over the line and were a bit lucky,” added Bettison. “All credit to Chad’s. They played a brilliant game and pushed us to the end.”
Rufforth were far more dominant in their semi-final victory at Crompark. Several batsmen chipped in as the Gliders posted 198-9, with Ed White (37) and Dave Green (36) both carrying the attack to the bowlers.
White (4-17) then carried his form into the field with four wickets and a catch alongside cup captain Dan Gunnell (3-18) as Rufforth restricted Crompark to 39-7, 58-9 and finally 93 all out.
The Gliders are into their first Fred Fleetwood final this century while the club’s second team have also reached the Hare Cup shoot-out, playing St Chad’s A at Long Marston on August 2,
Gunnell said: “It’s obviously a great achievement for the club and shows how far we have come in the last two seasons.
“To get promoted last year and then get to the cup final this year is unbelievable. I think that on our day we could beat anybody.
“There’s a real buzz around the club at the minute and the cup final is what everybody is talking about. So we’re definitely going to go into the final with our tails up.
“The key to the cup run has been the real positive attitude that we have shown in our cup games.”