LEWIS McManus admitted he was ‘grateful’ to his Dorset roots ahead of one of the biggest games of his exciting career.

The Hampshire wicketkeeper-batsman, who grew up in Lytchett Matravers, is tomorrow set to take to the field at Lord’s for the final of the Royal London One-Day Cup.

McManus will be part of a Hampshire side to take on Kent at the home of cricket (11am) in his first domestic final.

But the 23-year-old, who played youth football for Poole Borough and spent time in Cherries’ centre of excellence, admitted it could have all been so different.

He told the Daily Echo: “There was a group of us who played in my local football team, we all played cricket just to kill time in the summer away from when the football season wasn’t on.

“I played for Broadstone at under-9s and it started to go really well. I got into the Dorset set-up quite quickly and progressed through the age groups.

“I still try to go down to Dorset and help out here and there when the schedule allows it. That is where it all started for me.

“I am very grateful for what Dorset did for me in my younger years. It’s a proud day for them as well as me to get to the final.

“I think sometimes you get caught up and don’t appreciate what happened over the years.

“With this season playing among the likes of Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn, it’s surreal to think where it all started. Now I am playing alongside some international legends.

“When you are younger you keep your head down, work hard and it’s nice to see it all pay off.”

McManus also boasts the likes of international stars Kyle Abbott, Rilee Rossouw and Fidel Edwards among his team-mates.

The former Clayesmore School pupil played a key role in helping Hampshire finish top of the South Group on their way to the final.

He also scored a quick-fire 25 in the club’s 107-run semi-final victory over Yorkshire at the Ageas Bowl.

The former England under-19s ace has fond memories of viewing the one-day showpiece as a fan.

“I went up to Lord’s and watched the one-day final for quite a few years when I was younger. It will be a bit surreal to actually be out there playing,” he added.

“I used to go up with my dad, brother and grandad and watch it every year. We went up for about three or four years in a row.

“To have the potential to achieve something on that great ground is really good. I was lucky enough to play there when I was about 14 in an MCC game – we also played a T20 there last year against Middlesex.

“You have all the history in the long room when you walk out to play and the condition of the pitch itself is better than any other in the country.

“I have a good little fan base coming along to watch. These big finals and milestones, as well as being in successful teams, give a great stage to showcase what you can do."