A father and son duo are hoping to see out a return to Lord's for Cleator CC - after they were hailed by the headline sponsors of the Voneus Village Cup.

Ian and Darren Clark have been taking to the field together for close to two decades, and their shared experiences have been hailed as a key reason as a key reason why the UK’s largest grassroots cricketing competition has attracted new backing.

Voneus Broadband, one of the UK’s leading rural broadband specialists and sponsors of the Village Cup, has highlighted iconic father and son pairs who have featured in the competition ahead of Father’s Day.

And they come no better than the Cumbrian duo, who are seeking to return to Lord’s for the title fixture after having previously enjoyed success in the 2013 final.

61-year-old Ian put in a man-of-the-match performance at the time with a vital 37, while son Darren took the first wicket of the day.

Cleator went on to secure the trophy with a slender one wicket win - much to the delight of Ian, who has been representing Cleator in the Voneus Village Cup since 1977. 

“That day at Lord’s was one of those days you never forget for as long as you live and being able to share that with my son was extra special," he said.

“Taking to the field where players like Sir Ian Botham had played on in years gone by was incredible, but what made it was seeing players I had coached and seen develop as cricketers over the years make the difference for the side.”

Darren isn't the only Clark son to have lined-up alongside their father, with brothers Jordan and Graham now playing professionally at Surrey and Durham.

"He was my coach from an early age and he’s been alongside me every step of the way while I’ve been playing, and what made that victory in 2013 so special was being able to share those moments with him," he said of Ian.

“It was particularly rewarding helping him achieve one of his long-standing wishes in playing at Lord’s and celebrating the team’s win in the long room with him after the game is a memory which cannot be beaten.

“I remember after the semi-final [in 2013] where I was at the crease when we hit the winning runs, I went straight to my dad afterwards and said, ‘that was all for you’ and being able to play alongside him and enjoy those successes is something I will always cherish."

Almost a decade on from their success at the home of cricket, Cleator CC are again eyeing. a visit to Lord’s.

They recently progressed to the national draw and will face Ackworth CC in the next round, with the fixture due to take place on Father’s Day itself.

Ian added: “It is encouraging seeing the community rally around the side as we head into the national draw as that is also what makes it special for a lot of us in the side when we take to the field.

“Whenever one of the sporting clubs in the village has a big game, it becomes the talk of the village and we all band together to support each other and get the side over the line, and that support will be crucial as we look to go all the way this year.”

Steve Leighton, chief executive officer at Voneus Broadband, said: “We are passionate about bringing rural communities together and one vital part of that is seeing the next generation of aspiring athletes share long-lasting memories with their families on the village wicket.

“Ian and Darren’s story is a fantastic example of what family means in these communities and how the local cricket side is an integral part of the village’s fabric.

“We hope the pair can continue to help Cleator bat their way towards Lord’s and create a range of new experiences as a part of this year’s cup run and help bring not only themselves, but the wider village, together.”

For more information on this year’s journey to Lord’s and how your club can take part in the 2023 edition, visit www.nationalvillagecup.com.

To find out more about how Voneus can help with your broadband needs in Cumbria, call us on 0333 880 4141 or mail us on broadband@voneus.com.