Fox Lodge and Newbuildings prepare for Senior Cup Showdown
The stage has now been set for this weekend’s Sports Hub North West senior cup final as Fox Lodge and Newbuildings head to Eglinton looking to put their name on the famous old trophy.
The senior cup has been on the go since 1888 although global problems put paid to a few seasons back in the day, and this weekend marks the 125th renewal of the competition.
To date, Sion Mills lead the way with 29 wins followed by Donemana on 23, Brigade on 14 and Strabane on 10.
Neither of the sides involved this weekend have won the senior cup; indeed this is a first final for both.
Newbuildings of course haven’t been around that long; the village club making their debut in NWCU competition just 10 years ago.
They have continued to make giant strides on and off the pitch since then and have become a force to be reckoned with in a very short space of time.
Their skipper, North West Warriors all-rounder Jared Wilson, focused on the community side of the club in the pre-match build up this week.
“It’s a huge occasion for the local community and everyone is really looking forward to the final” he said.
“This club is intrenched in the community and even going to the shops, it’s all anyone wants to talk about. We are playing for them this weekend and I hope we can come out on top.”
The South African admitted that his side would start favourites this weekend and felt that if they played to their potential, they gave themselves a great chance of winning.
“I believe that we’re playing on a hybrid wicket and if that is the case I’d be happy with that.”
“I’d guess that if we happen to win the toss we’d look to bat first and apply scoreboard pressure, which would play a part in a two-innings final.”
Confirming that his side would be pretty much the same as the one that claimed the Faughan Valley Cup against Brigade on Sunday, the skipper added-
“We probably would be favourites on paper but cricket is a funny game and we have to make sure we get our skills right. If we do that, yeah, we have a great chance of winning the cup.”
Opposite number Aaron Heywood said that reaching the senior final was an ‘amazing feeling’ and acknowledged just how much it meant to the club in general.
“I think anyone who was at Eglinton (for their semi-final win) will have seen just what it meant, especially to the older lads around the club.”
“It’s an unbelievable honour for me personally to captain the club in their first ever senior final.”
“We’ve been underdogs in the last two rounds and it’s the same again for the final. I don’t mind that whatsoever; in fact it helps take a bit of the pressure off and it’s worked for us so far.”
“Over the past couple of years we’ve seen more and more of teams beating each other that might not always have been the case. Anyone is capable of beating anyone else on their day and I keep talking to the boys that we have that potential too.”
The skipper admitted he had “maybe fifteen players knocking the door down to be involved” in this weekend’s final.
“I have to look now to pick the best team we can to try to win the cup.”
The Umpires’ team for the final is Vinny O’Hara and Ivor Dunn (on-field) with Tony McCloskey third umpire.
Both sides are expected to bring a huge support to the village on Friday- it’s understood the clubs are running two buses each- and the NWCU have asked supporters to note the following arrangements.
No car parking is available inside the ground or in the adjacent ‘Widow’s Row’.
Admission to the game is £5 per day (£3 concessionary- under 16s or over 65s)
No alcohol carry-outs are permitted inside the ground. Bar facilities and food outlets will be in operation throughout the two days.
Play will start at 11am on both days (weather permitting). DLS will be in operation; overs lost will come into play with immediate effect should that situation arise.
The Umpires and Match Manager will decide on close of play times for each day.