Teams prepare for Kingfisher Cup semis
Just four clubs are left in the hunt for the biggest prize in recreational cricket as the Kingfisher Cup reaches the semi-final stage this weekend.
The winning team in this year's competition - one of Bamford Fieldhouse, York, Havant or Wansted and Snaresbrook - will be given a cheque for £5,000, with the runners-up earning £2,000. The final is scheduled to take place at Derbyshire County Cricket Club's ground on September 16.
The former Lancashire and England wicketkeeper Warren Hegg and fellow Lancashire and England team-mate Chris Schofield are the driving force behind Bamford Fieldhouse reaching the semi-final. The Rochdale, Saddleworth and District League side secured their last-four place by beating Birmingham League side Kidderminster Victoria, with Hegg contributing a well-paced 40 runs in his side's total of 212-6. They will now travel to York, who defeated Cuckney in an enthralling seven-run victory.
York, who have won the Yorkshire League nine times and the National Knockout competition in 1975, will offer stern competition in what promises to be a tough Roses encounter. The York team are coached by the former Yorkshire and England middle-order batsman Jim Love, who was responsible for transforming Scottish cricket and eventually took the country to the Commonwealth Games and the ICC World Cup.
In the south section of the Kingfisher Cup, Havant from the Southern Electric Hampshire League secured a 65-run win over Birmingham League champions Barnt Green, skippered by the former Warwickshire, Scotland and England allrounder Dougie Brown.
Havant host Wansted and Snaresbrook , the Essex Premier League team who managed to dispose of Somerset-based West of England Premier League team Bridgewater. Wansted, the club which helped develop Essex and England wicketkeeper James Foster, are competing in their first national knockout semi-final.
The semi-finals of this year's tournament will be attended by Professional Cricketers Association ambassadors, who will adjudicate over Man of the Match awards for both games. Former Surrey and England captain Mark Butcher will adjudicate the Havant match, whilst Devon Malcolm will travel to York for the Roses encounter.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo