THE chances are that both Romida Sykes Cup finalists will be missing one of their big guns on Sunday (1.00).
Delph & Dobcross’ Kyle Hogg has been drafted into Lancashire’s Pro40 side to play against Worcestershire, while Barkisland’s Love Ablish is back in his native India looking after the family business – and there is a huge question mark over whether he will return in time.
County man Hogg has played only 10 matches for Delph this season due to his commitments with Lancashire, and although his top score is just 57 in the League game against Golcar, undoubtedly his absence at the top of the order leaves a void in their batting line-up. More importantly, it removes one half of Grant Jones’ opening bowling attack.
It was Hogg who took out the top three of Golcar’s batsmen in the semi-final (as well as scoring a crucial 35 runs), and his absence will test the inconsistent Mike Smethurst and put extra pressure on regular opener Bilal Khiljee.
“Obviously it’s a blow to lose Hoggy, but we’ve just got to live with it,” said Delph skipper Grant Jones.
“I’m confident we’ve got the players capable of getting the job done and we’ll just get on with it.”
Hogg, in fact, has played in only one round of the Cup – the semi-final win over Golcar – and it is Kamran Mirza who has done the bulk of the damage with the ball, having taken four-wicket hauls against Broad Oak, Shepley and Golcar as his side’s leading wicket-taker.
Hogg’s absence, however, will be evened up should Barkisland’s top-rated Indian quickie Ablish not return for the final, having been recalled to his homeland in the Punjab to look after the family business following a family bereavement.
“I’ve been in touch with Love, and although he said he was trying to get a flight over in time for the final, I rate his chances as no better than 50/50,” said Barkisland skipper Paul Winrow.
“His family commitments mean he would only be able to pop over for two or three days, and although he said he would dearly like to get back for the final, I’m not over-optimistic.”
Barkisland recently re-signed former opening bowler Adam Robinson to cover Ablish for the remainder of the League programme, but obviously he is not qualified to play in the final.
Sunday’s showpiece at Honley starts at 1pm, after which all subsequent League games follow suit, until September when the last two weekends begin at 12.30pm.