SHEPLEY skipper Danny Glover expects a cracking match when they face Delph & Dobcross in the Sykes Cup on Sunday and beamed: “It’s a hell of a draw.”
The last-eight tie at Marsh Lane is a repeat of last year’s final, of course, when Delph captured the famous old trophy for the first time in their history (at the fourth attempt!) in dramatic circumstances.
Facing a daunting Shepley total of 275-3, Delph returned to Honley on the Monday evening needing 63 to win off 9.2 overs – and got them.
Faisal Butt had seven fours and three sixes in his 93, Arron Lilley had four sixes and one other boundary in his 50 and Kevin Hook and Luke Hargreaves finished the job with 44 not out and 32 not out respectively.
Shepley had won the trophy themselves for the first time in their history the previous year against Skelmanthorpe at Elland, and Glover admits not being able to retain it was a hurtful blow.
Having been in the final for the last two years, Shepley would obviously love another taste in the arrowselfdrive sponsored showpiece, but Glover admits there is hard work to be done first.
“It’s a hell of a draw and we are looking forward to it,” said Glover, 27 later this month, of the Delph tie.
“We played them in the league a couple of weekends ago and had the edge over them, but they are a dangerous team, no doubt about it.
“I think they are missing Adnan Ghaus, who was a very important bowler for them, but we certainly won’t be taking anything for granted.
“If you don’t get through the top five or six batsmen then they are going to hurt you, so we know what we have to do and we just need to keep on going like we have been. We are on a good run and the last thing we want to do is let our standards drop.”
Delph skipper Grant Jones is also looking forward to the battle (1.00), when Sunday’s matches also feature the third round of the Fired Up Paddock Shield for second XIs.
“Winning the Sykes Cup was a big monkey off our back with it being our fourth final in the 14 years we’d been in the league,” said Jones.
“I’ve known Peter Gledhill (the club’s highly-respected president) all my life and the look on his face when we won said everything for all of us. Ever since we joined the league Peter always wanted that Sykes Cup, so to deliver it finally was very special and a brilliant day for everyone.
“Shepley are one of the best teams in the league because they bat and bowl so well.”
On the season generally he added: “From our point of view we always want to win things and if we can have a similar sort of season to last year we’ll be more than happy with another Sykes Cup and a top-five finish in the Premiership.”
Champions Hoylandswaine are naturally keen to get their name on the Sykes Cup for the first time, and they’ve been drawn away to fast-improving Honley on Sunday.
Both teams made a slow start to the top-flight campaign but now seem to be finding their best form again – 40-wicket Honley bowler Ritchie Howarth coming up against prolific run-getters Alex Morris and Swaine skipper John Sadler.
“We played Honley at the start of the season in a really close game and they beat us, so I suppose it would be nice for us to get a bit of revenge,” said Sadler.
“Any team in this league can beat any other, though, so we will treat the tie with the respect it deserves.
“If we go into any game and concentrate on our jobs and on what we do well, then we know that nine times out of 10 we will be a very hard team to beat.”
Lascelles Hall from the Cedar Court Conference have beaten Frank Platt Championship side Lepton and their third-tier rivals Paddock to reach the last eight.
They will be hoping all-rounder Kamran Saleem can maintain his excellent form against Drakes Premiership front-runners Golcar at Swallow Lane – he’s rattled up 337 runs so far at 40 and 28 wickets at 10.
Don’t forget Armghan Javed, either, who has 22 wickets at 16 and could also pose problems for Steve Whitwam’s side.
The other tie could also be a sizzler at Riley Lane, with second-placed Kirkburton pitting their all-round strength against Barkisland, who have the inspirational Lorenzo Ingram closing in on 500 runs in addition to his threat with the ball.
Arrowselfdrive Sykes Cup – Third round (Sunday, 1.00): Golcar v Lascelles Hall, Shepley v Delph & Dobcross, Honley v Hoylandswaine, Kirkburton v Barkisland.
Fired Up Paddock Shield – Third round (Sunday, 1.00): Linthwaite v Hoylandswaine, Broad Oak v Honley, Scholes v Shepley, Barkisland v Kirkburton.