Huddersfield Cricket League’s showpiece Sykes Cup final is taking place on Sunday (August 13) and both Moorlands and Broad Oak can write themselves into the history books.
Broad Oak head into the final not having won the cup since 1985. Meanwhile, Moorlands can become only the third club to lift the trophy three years in succession, according to records which date back to 1920.
The final will be held at Armitage Bridge for the first time as the league continues to let clubs around its divisions host its showpiece fixtures. The final starts at 12 noon.
In the last two years Moorlands have defeated overwhelming favourites Hoylandswaine, however the boot is on the other foot this year for the Mirfield-based holders, who have a league and cup double in their sights.
If Moorlands clinch the Sykes Cup hat-trick they will follow Meltham (1992-1995, four times) and Holmfirth (1975-1977, three times).
Ahead of Sunday, Moorlands captain Eddie Walmsley said: “Moorlands as a club always treats every cup competition with the utmost respect.
“Whatever fixture we play in, we turn up prepared and ready to go. The Sykes Cup isn’t a competition we pay more attention to. It just seems we are consistently hard to beat in these one-off knockout games.
“We’ve beaten Hoylandswaine in the last two cup finals at Honley and Shepley respectively. Hoylandswaine are always a big test and Broad Oak at Armitage Bridge is another hurdle we will have to overcome on the big stage to go three Sykes Cup victories in a row.
“We have had a good cup run this season starting out away at Meltham, who have a great history in this final and competition in general.
“Then we have been drawn away at either difficult places to go or teams that are having a great season in Scholes, Hoylandswaine and Skelmanthorpe.
“I don’t think there is an individual who can say we don’t deserve to be in this final beating those teams. Broad Oak are going well in the league and will be a tough proposition for us.
“We never take any teams lightly but instead we focus on ourselves and our skillsets and trust our instincts and experience to manage each part of the game accordingly.
“This is something we have done exceptionally well this season so far and the cup final is no different. We have had a practice session on Armitage Bridge’s square which was great and a big thank you to them for that, the boys appreciated it.
“It was an opportunity we took with both hands having our squad come down and bowl at the lads and even drafted in some extra bowling options to make sure the lads are as prepared as we can be.”
Broad Oak’s past with the cup goes all the way back to 1930, and they have won it six times since. The last triumph was in 1985 when Broad Oak made history and won the Sykes Cup, the Paddock Shield and the Walkers Cup all in that same year.
Club secretary Daniel Rushworth believes this could be a huge moment for the club and said: “This is a great opportunity to win the Sykes Cup, something we haven’t achieved since 1985.
“It would be a fantastic moment in our history if we can win the cup again especially for the players now who put an incredible amount of time into the club and always aim to do their best.
“We are huge underdogs for this final but we don’t mind that. We’ll just go along, play our game and hopefully we’ll come out on top. Anyone can beat anyone in a one off game.”
Meanwhile Broad Oak captain Fletcher Coutts added: “This is obviously a big moment for all the players and there might be a few nerves but when we get down to playing we all know what we can produce.
“We are having a good season in the league and we are going into the game with confidence. We know we are underdogs, so all the pressure is on Moorlands.
“I have enjoyed being captain of the team so far this year. I’ve been at the club three years now and it’d be great to get some silverware for Broad Oak.”
Armitage Bridge chairman Owen Baines said: “We are delighted to be hosting the Sykes Cup final for the first time and we feel as a club we are ready to hold these big fixtures.
“We had a good crowd for the semi-final here where we lost to Broad Oak. Obviously if we’d have won that game we wouldn’t have been able to host the final.
“There’s lots of volunteers in place and we are really organised and so hopefully a big crowd turns up and we can get some funds in behind the bar.”