Wokingham CC and Finchampstead CC set to start with ‘friendly derby’By Adam Lee
February 15, 2012
Although still three months away, the anticipation within the Wokingham area for the 2012 cricket season was cranked up a notch this month due to an interesting coincidence in the Thames Valley Cricket League fixture list.
The town’s top two clubs, Wokingham and Finchampstead, have been drawn to play each other in the opening weekend of the league’s Division 1 on May 12.
Therefore, having not played each other for two seasons after both dropped out of the Home Counties Lague, they won’t have to wait too much longer to rekindle a long-standing rivalry.
However, despite the geographic proximity of the two clubs, both captains admit that the competitive nature of the fixture will be confined purely to the pitch.
Indeed, both Finches skipper Matt Jones, and his Wokingham counterpart Dan Reddyhough, insist that the derby, although sure to be keenly fought on the field, remains very much a friendly rivalry.
Nor is either captain particularly disappointed that the derby is the season curtain raiser, especialy as both Reading and Basingstoke & North Hants will also provide local opposition this summer.
However, with the game set to be played at Finchampstead’s Memorial Park, Reddyhough admits he would have loved the game to have been played at Wokingham’s brand new home in Sindlesham.
“To be honest it would have been nice for the fixture to have been reversed and we would have loved it to have been our first ever game at the new ground,” said Reddyhough.
“From our perspective, one of the key things to getting promoted last season was to be fighting it out with our local rivals.
“Everyone’s looking forward to it in that respect and there is quite a buzz, what with the new facilites, and we really want to generate a good winning start at our new location.
“Our rivalry with Finchampstead harks back to the good old days of England v Australia where the two teams would end up in the dressing room afterwards all having a beer.
“We give life and soul on the pitch for our clubs, and it will be a very hotly-contested game, but afterwards there will be no animosity.
“We always enjoy the fixture and our form over the last couple of years means we lost it (from the calender), but it’s probably the first one everyone looks to when the fiixture list comes out.
“It’s an ideal start for us back in the league and provides us with the perfect focus for the new season.”
They are sentiments shared by Jones, who is a trainee PE teacher at the Forest, the school he attended in his youth.
“I don’t really mind when we play them – it’s always a good game when we do,” he said.
“Both teams will be looking to get off to a good start, and playing Wokingham first will be as a good a time as any to play them.
“It does get a bit feisty at times, but the rivalry we have is very much on the field.
“It’s a good rivalry and it never spills over – we all go and enjoy a beer after the game.
“There are certainly teams in our league who aren’t as geographically close as Wokingham, but we like a lot less!
“The league has gone very local this year with Reading coming into it too.
“It means there will be a derby every three or four weeks which adds a bit of spice to the season.
“I just hope that the boys can stay focused and motivated to play well in every one of them. A good start is essential and trying to make ground up in the second part of the season is very hard.
“We’ll be looking to come flying out of the blocks.”
Other local fixtures, May 12: Division 2A: Eversley v Basingstoke & North Hants 2nd; Slough 2nd v Finchampstead 2nd. Division 2B: Bagshot v Sonning. Division 3A: Royal Ascot v Maidenhead & Bray 2nd. Division 3B: Wokingham 2nd v British Airways 2nd. Division 4B: Bracknell v Eversley 2nd; Hurst v NPL Teddington. Division 5A: Sonning 2nd v Bagshot 2nd. Division 5B: Falkland 3rd v Finchampstead 3rd. Division 6A: Princes Risborough v Royal Ascot 2nd. Division 6B: NPL Teddington 2nd v Hurst 2nd; Reading 4th v Wokingham 3rd. Division 7A: Eversley 3rd v Odiham & Greywell 2nd. Division 8A: Cove Academy v Eversley 4th; Finchampstead 5th v Theale & Tilehurst 3rd; Newbury 3rd v Royal Ascot 3rd. Division 8B: Finchampstead 4th v Slough 5th. Division 9A: Royal Ascot 4th v Cove 5th; Wokingham Oaks & Acorns v Bracknell 2nd.
Berkshire Cricket League Fixtures, May 5: Premier Division: Stoke Row v Sandhurst; Crown Wood v Mortimer W End. Division 1: Shinfield v Checkendon; Woodley v Farley Hill. Division 2: Mortimer W End 2nd v Woodley 2nd; Peppard 2nd v Emmbrook & Bearwood; Waltham St Lawrence v Welford Park. Division 3: Sandhurst 2nd v Twyford; Ruislip Victoria v Catcliffe Way; Warfield v Sonning 3rd. Division 4: Emmbrook 2nd v Crown Wood 2nd; Waltham St Lawrence 3rd v Sulhampstead 3rd; Stratfield Turgis 2nd v Shinfield 2nd; Purley 3rd v Knowl Hill.