09:57AM, Thursday 13 September 2018
Berkshire expect to have a full squad available for their MCCA play-off final against Lincolnshire at Banbury CC in a game scheduled for four days, starting on Sunday at 10.30am.
And that, admits performance manager Tom Lambert, is going to cause headaches when it comes to selecting the team who will be bidd-ing to beat the Eastern Division title holders for the third year in a row.
"It looks as if all the lads who have played this season are available, so it means we are going to have to work hard in picking 11 from 15 or 16 to play.
“Unfortunately, there are going to be a few disappointed players who will be left out."
In order to get the right balance of pace and spin in his attack, Lambert said he will try to find out about the wicket they can expect to see at Banbury.
The state of the pitch was of some concern earlier in the season, but it got a lot better as the summer wore on and Lambert believes it should hold no fear for his players.
Two expected to be named in the XI are teenagers Jack Davies and Euan Woods, winners of the man-of-the-match award in each of the last two finals with Berkshire defeating
Lincolnshire on each occasion.
Wood smashed 142 not out in the first innings in the 2016 final, which his side won by 28 runs, and 12 months later Davies, then aged 17, made an unbeaten 127 to lead his side to a six-wicket victory, having shared an unbroken stand of 156 with Andy Rishton (76) as they lifted their side from
135-4 to 291-4.
So Berkshire are now seeking a hat-trick of titles and they will go into the final on a real high, having won all six Western Division fixtures this season and finishing 23 points clear of runners-up Oxfordshire.
Lambert continued: "Lincolnshire have been a real challenge for us in the last two years.
“Whilst we have come out on top both times, both finals, particularly the one in 2016, were close games and I am sure it will be much the same next week.
“They won't want to lose three finals in a row.
"It will be amazing if we can finish up as champions once more.
“We will be facing a really good side and we are looking forward to playing them again.”
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