A long way for just 20 rainy overs!

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IT was a 400 mile, 12 hour round trip for one local cricket club’s big game of the season on Sunday - only to been rained off!

The consolation for South Yorkshire League club Houghton Main is that they don’t have to return to Scotland for the ‘replay’ because the Barnsley club will be staging it at their ground this weekend.

Houghton made the long, fruitless trek 30 miles north of Edinburgh to play Freuchie in the last 16 of the National Village Knockout, a competition they won at Lord’s in 2006.

“The lads set off on the coach at 5am on Sunday morning and didn’t get back in the village until 1am on Monday morning - and all for just 20 overs,” chuckled club secretary Lee Parkinson.

The Houghton Main players didn’t finish their league match at Wickersley until nearly 8 o’clock the previous day but the squad had to be up with the earliest of larks to board the coach at their Middlecliffe headquarters for the 5am start on Sunday morning.

The 200 mile journey saw them, with stops, land in the Fife village of Freuchie some six hours or so later in time for the players to have a stretch and some loosening before the 1pm start.

The Scottish side batted but only 20 overs of the allotted 40 were possible - with Freuchie 58-3 - when rain began to fall and didn’t relent.

“We waited but by 5 o’clock it was obvious weren’t going to get the game in because it was still raining and so it was called off and we’ll all try again next Sunday at our place,” added secretary Parkinson.

“It’s a pity really because it’s a beautiful setting, they are really nice people and were really hospitable.

“Freuchie know where our ground is - we played them here and beat them on the way to winning at Lord’s in 2006 so let’s hope that’s a good omen.

“We had a big crowd that day and with interest high again after this season’s run, I’m sure we’ll have a lot of people turning up on Sunday.”

Incentive for Houghton on Sunday is another home game the following week in the quarter-finals against the cup holders Sessay who triumphed at Lord’s last year.

The North Yorkshire side crushed North Lancashire club Shireshead and Forton by nine wickets in their last 16 clash on Sunday after dismissing them for just 69.

Houghton, who play in the SYL’s Premier Division, had been lifted by Saturday’s victory over Wickersley in which Ian Simon smashed 169 off just 99 balls including 96 in sixes alone! He also hit 11 fours which amounts to 140 of his runs in boundaries.

“It was an incredible innings and Ian is coming back after having problems with illness,” added Lee.