Harrogate face crunch play-off for Abu Dhabi prize

Harrogate CC hope to be celebrating victory over Wakefield Thornes on Saturday
Harrogate CC hope to be celebrating victory over Wakefield Thornes on Saturday

Gloryboys Harrogate Cricket Club are “counting down the hours” until one of the biggest games in the club’s history.

An eight-day trip to the United Arab Emirates awaits George Ross’ side if they can win on the east coast on Saturday.

The Yorkshire League North title winners head to Scarborough’s famous North Marine Road to face southern counterparts Wakefield Thornes in a crunch play-off shoot-out.

The winner will face either Bradford League champions Pudsey St Lawrence or North Yorkshire/South Durham outfit Great Ayton in the inaugural Abu Dhabi final later this month.

“I think it’s the biggest game in our history – or at least our recent history,” said skipper Ross.

“We are going into the unknown. We’ve not had a challenge presented like this in the history of the club.

“The players don’t need any motivation. They all know what is at stake and what the prize is if we win. As captain, it’s important for me to try and keep their feet on the ground but it is obviously exciting.

“We know that if we put in a good performance we will have every chance of getting there.

“We are all counting down the hours. It promises to be a great day and it might even have a nice trip back!”

Opening batsman Matthew Good will be missing for Harrogate having moved back to New Zealand and Ross remains undecided on who will take the leading role.

The men from St George’s Road have already beaten Wakefield Thornes this season in the ECB National Knock-out but Ross, whose side finished the season with a narrow win over Stamford Bridge on Saturday after receiving the league trophy, said his side would not rest on their laurels after that performance.

“We know Thornes are a really good team and we only just beat them in the National Knock-out,” he added.

“On that day they didn’t have their overseas who has taken 60-odd wickets this year so he is a dangerous threat and another batsman was missing too.

“It’s going to be really interesting to see the difference between the leagues, and that’s something that has been wondered for so many years.”