DUMBLETON are preparing for a dream day out at Lord’s after beating Rainford by 70 runs to reach the final of the Voneus Village Cup for the first time in their history.
The Gloucestershire side banished the heartache of an eight-run semi-final defeat back in 2011 to go through, and will now face holders Calmore Sports of Hampshire at the home of cricket on September 18.
Dumbleton have had to get to Lord’s the hard way after five away wins in seven outings on a journey that began in early May.
Rupert Salmon’s side travelled up to Merseyside on Saturday evening, fresh from a nine-wicket home win over Tewkesbury who generously agreed to bring forward the start time of this WEPL clash by 90 minutes.
And the extra time for rest and preparation that gesture produced paid off as Dumbleton flew out of the blocks the next day with a fine opening stand between Ross Martin (43) and Dan Holland (30) after losing the toss.
Rainford, though, hauled themselves back into the game as the visitors slid from 69-0 to 90-4, and plenty of grit and graft were needed by the middle and lower orders to bat the full 40 overs and post a total of 166-9.
Dumbleton then made the best possible start with the ball as Rainford slumped to 30-4. And the visitors kept the pressure on, despite a 30-minute break in play when an air ambulance was forced to land in Rainford’s car park following an incident in a nearby pub, as Martin went on to finish with 3-17.
Ollie Horne, too, was in tremendous form. The seamer conceded six runs in his first over but ended with remarkable final figures of 2-8 from his eight overs, including six maidens.
Jamie Diamond (2-16 from six), Myles Holland (1-12 from six) and Tommy Boorman (1-23 from five) also kept the pressure on to complete an unforgettable day.
Salmon, a member of the 2011 side, said: “This has been a long time coming and is something many of us have wanted since losing that last semi-final … it’s a fantastic achievement by everyone involved with the club.
“The fact that we’ve had so many away games makes it all the sweeter. We’re a very young side – there are only three of us over 25 – and our young lads deserve a lot of credit for the way they dug in, particularly when we were batting.
“We could easily have been bowled out for 120 and found ourselves in a completely different game. But they appreciated the match situation and batted with great determination to use all 40 overs and get us up to a score that I knew, if we bowled to our full potential, would be difficult to get.”
While Dumbleton are delighted to have a cup final to look forward to, attention now returns to their league campaign and a big push to secure promotion from the Gloucestershire division back to Premier Two Wilts/Glos.
Painswick are favourites to go up thanks to an 18-point lead with five rounds of games to go, but Dumbleton will be aiming to keep the pressure on with a full set of victories and take the race right down to the wire.