Weather Icon 8.4°C Rain
Mottram captain has his eyes on the prize
Tuesday 17th July 2018 @ 15:44 by Mark Phillip

Mottram Cricket Club’s second team have booked their place in the Hawke Trophy Final after beating Dinting by eight wickets in the penultimate round on Sunday.

Captained by Stephen Scott, the squad will now face Birch Vale and Thornsett in the grand finale on Sunday, August 12, at Woodley CC.

Having overcome three rounds against Woodley, New Mills and Dinting, Stephen is confident his side have what it takes to go one step further and bring the silverware back to Broadbottom Road.

The 23-year-old has, however, warned his players against complacency and expects them to ignore the one division gulf that currently seperates the sides. Speaking to Reporter Sport, Stephen, who works at Russell Scott Primary School in Denton, said: “I think it will be a great game of cricket, although we can’t discount Birch Vale because of their division status as they have reached the  final on merit.

“They have beaten at least two Division Four teams on the way, so they are not to be taken lightly. As a team we have to be ready to go from ball one and be really up for it.

“We also have to take the occasion out of it and just see it as another game of cricket. Although I’m sure the Mottram Barmy Army will be there cheering us on all the way.”

Stephen is accustomed to big occasions, having previously represented Mottram in the Under 17s cup final six years ago.

Although his side lost on that occasion, Stephen is hoping to use the experience and lead his side to glory in three weeks’ time. He said: “’I’m absolutely ecstatic, not just for myself but more for the team, who’ve become a really close knit bunch over the last four or five weeks,  and we have got a bit of momentum behind us.  Obviously I’m hugely proud to be able to captain the team into a final, so for myself it’s a great personal achievement.

“We beat Woodley in the first round by 16 Runs, then New Mills by 60 runs and Dinting by eight wickets. The first two games were really good wins as we didn’t have our best side out, but my personal favourite was the New Mills match, where we were bowled out for 145, which was really below par on that wicket. We then came out to bowl knowing that we couldn’t make any mistakes, and the whole team responded and did themselves and the club proud. We were really ruthless, not taking our foot off the gas and eventually bowled them out for 85.”

Stephen, who has also played for Denton Cricket Club during his time in the sport, said Sunday’s victory over Dinting was the best performance and hailed his players’ resilience. “We bowled tight early on and scoreboard pressure began to set in for Dinting who needed to kick on” he said.

“When they did, wickets fell at regular intervals and we also held on to some exceptionally good catches. We then proceeded to knock off the required runs for only two wickets down. It was a really well controlled chase and a pleasure to captain.”

As well as reaching the Hawke Trophy Final, Mottram are also challenging for the Division Four title, having enjoyed a memorable campaign with six victories and five defeats, which leaves them in second place and 13 points behind leaders Broadbottom.

According to Stephen, success has taken the club by surprise. He said: “I’ll be brutally honest, yes we have exceeded our expectations. I thought we were going to be in a relegation battle, especially given the start to the season we had where we had a few players injured, and some at University. We struggled to get into winning ways and it was starting to look bleak. Now we are finding our feet together as a team and are starting to build winning momentum. As with all second team cricket there are always going to be weekends where we are short, especially with the summer holidays coming up. However, we do have a lot of squad depth so hopefully we can still name strong teams on these weekends.”

One of the club’s shining stars is Lancashire Thunder’s Alice Dyson. She played in the victory against Dinting on Sunday, but has this week started training with Thunder ahead of the Kia Super League, which starts on Thursday, August 10.

Stephen said it’s a pleasure to compete alongside such talented players, but does have eyes on progressing into the first team in the near future. “Every player’s aim is to get into the first team and it is still mine to do that. At the moment I am enjoying the challenge of being second team captain and blooding these young players. It’s always been my aim to open the bowling consistently with my Brother (Mike Scott, 1st Team opening bowler).  I had a few goes at it last year due to player availability and it was a great moment for Mike and me. I’m hoping for his sake that the next time we open the bowling again is in the 1st team and not in the seconds owing to him being dropped!”