Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

Sharp: Vitality Blast Clash With Bears Is “Sort Of Game You Play Cricket For”

Worcestershire Rapids Head Coach Kevin Sharp is looking forward with relish to Friday’s Vitality Blast North Group showdown with local Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston.

“These are the sort of games you play cricket for” said the former Yorkshire batsman who featured in many Roses meetings with Lancashire.

The Rapids have already come out on top with the Bears in a make or break Royal London One-Day Cup North Group match at the same venue which sealed them a home semi-final and eliminated their opponents.

Now the stakes are similar with the Rapids again in contention for a home knockout tie in the quarter-finals and the Bears, who entertain Lancashire Lightning tomorrow (Wednesday), hoping to seal a top four spot.

Durham Jets (18 points), the Lightning (17 points) and the Rapids (17 points) are all in the hunt for a top two placing.

Sharp said: “We want a home quarter-final and, if we could achieve that after a home semi-final in the One-Day Cup, it would represent a magnificent effort from the boys.

“We’ve lost the last two T20 games but they have been fine margins, could have gone either way, and we have come out on top for most of the summer.

“These sort of games are what you play cricket for. You play cricket for the big nights and the local rivalries.

“I was part of plenty of Yorkshire-Lancashire fixtures and I know what these fixtures are like down here. They equal that.

“Everyone looks forward to the Bears games. There is a good crowd, a good atmosphere.

“But the bottom line is it’s always a big night there and, where we are in the league, won’t make any difference.

“We won’t be thinking of that. We will just go out and do our best to beat them.”

The Worcestershire players will return to training tomorrow (Wednesday) after being given a couple of days off to recharge their batteries after playing three games in the space of 72 hours.

Sharp said: “We will prepare as normal and hopefully win and get over the line at Edgbaston and hopefully the other results will go our way.

“We’ve won the 50 over and the first T20 against the Bears but you just can’t take anything for granted.

“They may have all to play for as well in terms of qualifying for the knockout stages.”