Champions Pirates look to lucky charm

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HOLDERS Trafalgar Pirates are counting on the lucky bonce of Roley McMichael to get them through to another JEP Knockout Cup final.

Pirates play Division I Evening League leaders Grant Thornton Beeches in the semi-finals tonight, having picked up two defeats from encounters earlier in the season.

However, Pirates – champions in 2020 and 2021 – have not lost a cup match since they started their pre-game ritual of every player rubbing the head of McMichael, as captain Dom Glennon explained.

‘We go into every game pretty confident because we have this tradition before every cup match,’ said Glennon.

‘Since we’ve been doing that, we’ve won every game. He’s our lucky charm.

‘We don’t do it in the league and that’s why we think we are losing games. Only in the cup games does he let us rub it. We don’t want to push it too far.’

Pirates won the cup last year after beating a youthful Rathbones OVs by seven wickets in the final, but Glennon admits that they face a tough task getting past Beeches this year. That said, to his team the result is almost secondary in priority.

‘They’re mostly a great team and have got a lot of good players. Hopefully we are not going to drop around ten catches a game, which is where we are about now,’ he added.

‘As long as we have a good time, that’s all we care about. If we win the game, tremendous. We’ve got some good players as well so we’ve got a good chance either way.’

In the other semi-final, last year’s runners-up take on St Helier but both teams may struggle to field enough players, according to OVs’ captain Andy Brown.

‘We’re still scrambling around for the last couple of players at the moment,’ he said.

‘Our side relies heavily on youngsters and a lot of them are doing GCSEs or A-levels, while St Helier have been impacted by having a couple of people away with Jersey [in Uganda], but the core of our side is reasonably strong. Charlie Brennan and Jack Stephens are in really good form, and James Duckett, on the back of a run of 100s and 50s.

‘We’re pretty confident. I think it will be high-scoring with both sides stronger in batting than bowling, but we hope to be able to give a good account of ourselves.’

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