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Hong Kong second to Sam’s cup chase

Last season Sam Tucker delayed a job in Dubai to play in the Worsley Cup final for Church. This time, he has put off employment in Hong Kong in order to, he hopes, help the Blackburn Road side to win a major trophy after 38 barren years.

TROPHY HUNT: Sam Tucker

Last season Sam Tucker delayed a job in Dubai to play in the Worsley Cup final for Church. This time, he has put off employment in Hong Kong in order to, he hopes, help the Blackburn Road side to win a major trophy after 38 barren years.

Many may think the Church wicketkeeper is mad but he can’t stop catching the cricket bug.

Tucker is an interior designer working on exhibitions and retail outlets.

Last season, he was due to start a job in Dubai but asked for it to be put back so he could play in Church’s Worsley Cup final, which they lost to Ramsbottom.

This time he was meant to miss the entire Lancashire League season but on a break back from Hong Kong he ‘caught the bug’ again and will now not start employment until September.

"I guess a few people think I am mad," said the 27-year-old. "The Dubai contract fell through after all so in January I went to Hong Kong on a freelance basis.

"I met up with Mike Walsh who played for Church when they last won the Worsley Cup in 1974 as he went out to Hong Kong for six months in the 1980s – and is still there.

"I was freelancing at first and then I got offered a permanent job.

"I asked to come home for a few weeks and went to Church and they asked me to play in a friendly. It was the time when the sun was out, there was a buzz around the ground as they built up to the cricket season and it was really exciting.

"I just got caught up in it all. Three days before I was meant to fly back and start my job, I rang the company and asked if I could put if off until September. Luckily they said yes.

"I know it sounds odd but I just love playing cricket, I love the club and I feel I have unfinished business," said Tucker who has been involved with Church all his life.

"We haven’t won a trophy since 1974 but have been coming closer in the last few years and hopefully this season we can win something.

"We have made great progress on and off the field in the last few years and we need to win a trophy.

"Not that it’s all about winning at Church. We are all friends, it’s a social scene but I am sure everyone at the club is desperate just to get their hands on one trophy and get rid of the hoodoo.

"Everyone keeps telling me I just can’t seem to stay away but my team-mates all seem glad I have stayed but I am sure they thought they had finally got rid of me."

Tucker intends to go out to Hong Kong in September where he will again link up with ex-Church man Walsh.

"He used to be chairman of a cricket club in Hong Kong and he has fixed me up so I can play there in September."

That’s a long way off though as, at the moment, Church just want to start their season.

The pro, Saeed Anwar Junior, has been held up but is due to arrive this weekend. It hasn’t mattered as both their matches have bit the dust due to the weather.

"We just want to start to be honest," said Tucker who is freelancing at the moment.

"We have got some good games coming up as we have Accrington on Monday which is always a good local derby and the week after we have Enfield. Their captain Adam Bracewell has obviously started well and they have our former player Nasser Hussain so it’s all set up for some good games – I just hope the rain stops!"

All the matches were wiped out last Sunday, meaning just two games have been played since the season began two weeks ago.

FORMER Rishton and Rawtenstall player Maurice Davies has been elected as Lancashire League president. Jack Bottomley of Nelson has taken over as assistant secretary.

 

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