‘MR Rawtenstall’ Vinny Hanson admits that it would be heartbreaking to miss tomorrow’s Foster’s Worsley Cup final through injury – but insists his main priority is his team and not himself.
Rawtenstall skipper and wicketkeeper Hanson missed last weekend with a knee problem but will play this afternoon against East Lancashire in a bid to prove his fitness for tomorrow’s final fling with holders Burnley.
And despite retirement looming at the end of the season, Hanson says he won’t let his heart rule his head.
“If I’m not fit I don’t play, simple as that," he said.
“I know there has been a lot of focus on me in the build-up to the final because I am retiring at the end of the season, but this isn’t about me.
“This game is about Rawtenstall Cricket Club, not Vinny Hanson, and if I’m not fit it wouldn’t be fair on the lads. I got hit and damaged knee ligaments and that came at a bad time but I have been having physio and hopefully I’ll be fine.
“But I will play against East Lancs first and see if I can get through that.”
Aside from his injury, Hanson admits that it has been a tough week as he and the rest of the selectors had to shatter the final dreams of players who missed out on the big day.
“It’s never easy and there are some disappointed lads who have not been picked,” he said.
“Everyone wants to play in a final but the problem is you can’t pick everyone.
“You have to pick the best team you have to give yourself the very best chance of going out there and winning the game.”
While the future looks bright at the Worswick Memorial Ground after years of strife, Hanson will tell his players to savour the moment on Sunday.
“It’s a huge day for everyone, for both ourselves and Burnley,” he said.
“Worsley Cup finals don’t come around every day. Our last one was 2003 when we beat East Lancs and there’s only me, Kes Roscoe, Chris Cook-Martin and Andy Payne who were playing then.
“And I tell you, that’s a long wait between finals so you have to relish them.
“It has been a long time coming and I have never played in a final at home so it will be special.”
Rawtenstall’s improvement over the past season and a half has been quite incredible.
They lost a record 16 straight games from the middle of the 2012 season into 2013 and while they finished last term strongly, this season has been hugely impressive.
They headed the Lancashire League table for a month in the early stages and have shone in the Worsley Cup, especially when they beat Lowerhouse in the most dramatic of semi finals.
Much of that improvement has been put down to professional Brett Pelser, who will be back for a third term in 2015.
Hanson added: “That’s why we signed Brett and that’s why we had been chasing him for a while.
“He brings so much.
“You can see us progressing and the transformation from 2012 in there for all to see.
“That season was horrible, one of the worst I have been involved in and I really thought about packing in.
“But Pels has come in and we are developing and two years on a place in the top six of the league and an appearance in a Worsley Cup final wouldn’t be too bad an achievement.
“But it would be better if we won it!”