DARREN Cowley is hoping he can perform on the big stage and help Dorset to a second Minor Counties Championship national crown.

The big-hitting batsman cracked 75 and 63 to claim the man-of-the-match award in their five-wicket win over Cumberland in the 2000 final at Chapel Gate.

Now he is targeting a sizzling repeat performance when Western Division winners Dorset host Eastern Division counterparts Lincolnshire in this year’s final at Dean Park, starting on Sunday.

Cowley said: “I remember everything about that clash against Cumberland, including Tim Lamb hitting a six to seal our triumph.

“It was my first year playing for Dorset and I batted really well.

“I just went out and smashed the ball around everywhere. It was really hitting the middle of the bat.

“It would be brilliant if I could repeat that type of display and Dorset were to win the final again.

“I think I raise my game for the big ones, when there is more riding on it.

“It’s the senior players you look too to come good in that sort of match and I think we generally do.

“Having said that, everyone in the team has chipped in this season, both the young and the more experienced.”

Cowley, a Dorset regular for most of the past decade but who has only scored 238 runs in 10 championship innings this term, added: “I’ve had a pretty poor season this year.

“Apart from the game with Wales, when I scored 83 and 44, I’ve struggled for runs.

“We really needed them against Wales in our last Western Division match.

“In the first innings, we were 33 for three when I came in and the pressure was on, but I got them.

“I batted quite a long time for my runs as well, which really pleased me.

“I’d got 120 on the Saturday for Suttoners, so I took a bit of form into the game.

“This year is my first back in Dorset’s side after breaking my ankle, so playing in another final is great.”

All-rounder Glyn Treagus and Cowley are likely to be the only survivors from Dorset’s starting line-up against Cumberland to feature over four days against Lincolnshire.