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Cheam aim to turn back the clock in The Cockspur Cup

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Surrey side Cheam are hoping to go one better than 1990 as they return to action in the first round of The Cockspur Cup this weekend.

Cockspur Rum, associated with Barbados since 1884, has entered into a three-year agreement with the ECB to sponsor the National Club Championship. And this Sunday will see 332 of the top club sides in England and Scotland competing in this year's first round as Cockspur returns to sponsor a competition which it was associated with from 1987 to 1990.

The last year of Cockspur's sponsorship saw Surrey Championship side Cheam lose to Blackpool in a last-over finish at Lord's. No mean feat for the winners as Cheam's side that day featured a promising 17-year-old called Mark Butcher, as well as Surrey's hard-hitting Ally Brown.

Cockspur will be following the `road to Lord's` through to this year's final here on ecb.co.uk – and will be turning the spotlight on Cheam as they take on Wembley this Sunday at Peaches Close.

Gary Martin, Cheam's experienced opening batsman who played with England's Butcher in the 1990 final, admits a return to Lord's is a tough ask for a Cheam side in transition, having been relegated from the Premier Division of the Surrey Championship and with Durham graduate Simon Hawke on board as captain for the first time this season.

Cheam Cockspur

Cheam opener Gary Martin (left) © ECB

"We are proud of our record in the National Knockout and in fact reached the Regional Final only two years ago, going down to eventual Champions Saffron Walden that time around," said Martin, whose side feature highly as Surrey's top club, currently sitting joint 23rd in the first National Club Championship Rankings by performance in the competition since 1990.

"With the likes of Walden, Stanmore, Bromley and Eastbourne in our group we are assured of a stern examination in 2004."

Cockspur are sponsoring the National Club Championship Rankings, currently led by 2002 champions Saffron Walden, as well as making a special `Cockspur Moment of the Round' award for the top club or individual performance.

The winners of The Cockspur Cup, as well as receiving a winner's cheque for 6,000 will also win a team trip to the Annual Barbados Pro-Am Festival being organised by the Professional Cricketers' Association travel partner Rumsey Travel in November.

Current champions are Derbyshire's Sandiacre Town who, in their first ever final, defeated Bath by a nail-biting one run at Lord's last September.

Follow the competition on the ECB's official Cockspur Cup website.