IT’S TIME for the first big event of the summer with the Teesside University Macmillan Cup T20 finals day taking place at Great Ayton on Sunday, and with the day featuring the teams who won all four of last season’s major honours, a great day’s cricket is in store.
The host club are straight into action at 10am when they play the first semi-final against Marton, and then Richmondshire lock horns with top flight newcomers Seaton Carew in the second semi at 1.30. The successful sides will then meet in an early evening showdown for the first major trophy of the season.
Despite some indifferent league form Great Ayton will be one of the strongly fancied teams as they bear the aura of the League’s short format ‘cup kings’ after a remarkable sequence of success in recent years.
The village side have featured in nine major finals in the last six years, winning six of them, and that record includes three Macmillans.
Sunday will be Ayton’s fifth finals day in a row, and if they win again they will become the first club in the history of the competition to win three successive T20 titles. Their team has a familiar look with Andy Liddle and Nas Hussain included.
Marton are no slouches in the cup department either, although their specialism has been the Kerridge which they have dominated for five years, being in the last five finals and winning on four occasions.
The second semi-final represents an intriguing contest between the double Premier champions, Richmondshire, and the new kids on the top flight block, Seaton Carew.
Before all the razzamatazz of the T20 finals day there is the little matter of another league programme to take care of tomorrow, and league leaders Darlington look well placed to consolidate their position as they enjoy home advantage against a struggling Saltburn.
Richmondshire have 41 points to make up if they are to retain their crown, and they continue the quest for a hat-trick of titles at Park Drive.
Craig Swainston misses this one so youngster Nathan Wright is handed a Premier debut following his close season move from Darlington RA.
The crucial game at the foot of the table sees the bottom two meeting with Sedgefield entertaining Middlesbrough.
The hosts continue to have problems with their ‘pros’, with Kent declining a request for Mark Davies to travel, and Nisal Randika still experiencing delays with his visa clearance.