JACK HENDERSON admitted to feeling a mixture of elation and tiredness yesterday.

But there again, the Falkland all-rounder, who starred in his club's epic victory in the National Village Cup over Yorkshire-based Ouseburn, had good reason to feel fatigued.

After all, he and his confreres had departed their Fife community at 6.30am on Sunday morning and didn't return until 3.30am the following morning. Such are the sacrifices which those who are bidding to progress in this competition must accept if they want to give themselves the opportunity to do so and, who knows, go all the way to Lord's at the end of the summer.

Yet, as you might imagine, Henderson was still giddy with excitement at the fashion in which the Scots triumphed in a nail-biting contest. After scoring 80, Henderson could have been forgiven for thinking he would enjoy a stress-free afternoon as Falkland amassed a formidable-looking 307 for 5. But, in a tussle where there were more sixes than were ever achieved by Torvill & Dean, the sizeable crowd were left on tenterhooks as Ouseburn moved to the very edge of victory. They required four from the last ball - sent down by Henderson - but could only muster two and thus, the underdogs advanced to the next round by one solitary run.

"We wanted to test ourselves, but they really pushed us all the way, and it was the most thrilling match in which I have ever been involved," said Henderson. "We knew we had made a decent total, but it was a very small ground and there was no taking anything for granted at the midway point, which was just as well. Ouseburn hit 12 sixes in their reply and it got really tense at the climax. At the very end, I was celebrating so much I forgot to break the stumps and they were pushing for a third run, which would have left it tied. Luckily for me, Cameron Nellies kept his head and we were able to go to our supporters and thank them for the way they got behind us. But it could not have been any closer."

There's something special developing among these Falkland fighters, who have beaten Grange, Aberdeenshire and Ouseburn in the space of the last nine days. In the Village Cup, they now tackle the Cheshire side, Hawk Green CC, and that will entail another lengthy trek South. But momentum is building up among the Scroggie Park faithful and while nobody is talking - yet - about them emulating Freuchie's success at the home of cricket 30 years ago, there is certainly no shortage of team spirit both at Falkland and further afield.

"The club game doesn't get all that much coverage, but the way in which so many other Scottish teams backed us, sent messages of support beforehand, and congratulated us when they heard the result was brilliant and I want to thank them all," said Henderson. "We weren't sure what to expect when we went into the cup, but it was exhilarating and, now we have had a taste of it, we can't wait for the next match.

"We know how strong a lot of these opponents are in England. But, there again, if we keep competing as we did on Sunday, there's no reason why we can't offer anybody a decent contest and keep our run going as long as possible."

As he concluded, Falkland's rise to prominence has happened because of the tireless work behind the scenes of such stalwarts as Robbie Nellies and Graham Watson. One suspects that nobody will be taking the Fifers lightly on either side of the Border in the months ahead.