JON Lewis is hoping Sunderland and Newcastle fans will join forces to roar Durham to a Lords’ final this weekend.
Durham take on Notts tomorrow in the Royal London Cup semi-final at the Emirates ICG, with the first-team coach looking to make the most of home advantage, including the vocal North East support.
“I’m hoping we can attract a big crowd,” he told the Echo.
“It hasn’t escaped our notice that we’re in the middle of the international break, as far as football is concerned, which means neither Sunderland nor Newcastle are playing and, with a bit of luck, we’ll benefit and attract quite a few more fans to the cause.
“It’s a huge game for the club and a huge game for Durham supporters and I’m really pleased for them that we’ve got a home draw.
“The weather looks set fair and I know we have a lot of football supporters in the area who are also big cricket fans.
“So hopefully quite a few of them will be attracted to a big cricket semi-final on their doorsteps.”
This is Durham’s first limited-overs semi-final appearance since 2007.
And Lewis is hoping that the club can take advantage of their recent upturn in form to take the game to a Notts side which traditionally excel in the one-day format.
Durham have won five of the last six games completed in all forms of the game and in midweek were buoyed by a superb win over tomorrow’s opponents in the LV County Championship.
Lewis said: “The win was fantastic for morale because we know how good a side Notts are – six of their top eight were internationals and players of that calibre can easily take the game away from you.
“It was a significant victory for us, taking us out of the bottom two and it gives us something to build on going into the last few Championship games.
“That’s important because not only do we want to avoid relegation, we’d also like to push ourselves up towards mid-table.
“This weekend, though, is all about the semi-final.
“It’s great for the Durham fans to have this game on home turf, but for the players it’s a great chance to show what they’re capable of on the big stage.
“And, ultimately, what we want is a performance that gets us to Lord’s.”
* Tickets for the semi-final are priced £10 for members, with junior tickets available for £1.
Non-members can buy tickets in advance for £12 or £15 on the day, with junior tickets priced £5. Tickets can be booked by calling the box office on 0844 499 4466.