Bunker Hill is the place to be on Sunday when Philadelphia play host to the DSL T20 finals day, an event that will provide a fitting climax to a weekend of non-stop action and interest.
That event will be the icing on a three day cake which begins with the much delayed Armbrister final tomorrow night, continues through Saturday with the Sky TV cameras at Whitburn to feature the club in their ‘Club Life’ series, and ends with the high octane all-day cricket event at Philadelphia.
The T2O games begin at 10am when Castle Eden take on Marsden in the first semi-final, Burnmoor then play the host club at 1.30, with the final between the two winners scheduled for 5pm.
Phili have a great day planned with barbecues, hot and cold food kiosks, an all day bar and family entertainment – and the weather forecast suggests a proper August day could be in store.
On current form the draw would suggest that the favourites to reach the final will be Castle Eden and Burnmoor, but their semi-final opponents are confident about their chances of making progress in the short format game.
As well as home advantage, Phili have a good record in T20s, reaching last year’s final and putting on some strong displays in the group stages this time around.
And they have a full strength line-up at their disposal, with Sean Hauxwell set to play despite his hand injury problems.
Marsden are making a real day of it, and they have three minibus loads of supporters making their way to Bunker Hill to support a side that has saved its best performances for this competition.
Skipper Chris Mann believes his team is built for this style of cricket, with big hitters Mirza Baig and James Sneller sent in at the top of the innings to hopefully provide a flying start.
Baig has missed the last couple of weeks with a twisted ankle, and he is being rested from Saturday’s league game to hopefully ensure his fitness for the big day.
Tomorrow’s Armbrister final features Burnmoor at home to Eppleton, the game starting at 5.45pm, and beginning a hectic weekend for the league leaders who have to reckon without Matthew Sampson-Barnes for the three days.
Eppleton’s selection problems are more acute, with leading batsman Kyle Davis definitely missing the final, and Liam Mallaburn and Callum Jefferson doubts because of possible work commitments.
All roads could lead to Whitburn on Saturday, with Sky TV featuring the club in the popular features they run on club life. The film, taken at the match against Philadelphia, will be shown during next week’s Lord’s test match.
Other than the absent Paul Cook, the host club will have a full side in the field for their television debuts.
The two top sides enjoy home advantage on Saturday, with Burnmoor entertaining Norton and Castle Eden set to face Boldon.
Castle expect to be at full strength again, while Boldon welcome back Andrew Doherty and Graham Fox, although Nick Sampson-Barnes is on holiday.
Third-placed Felling, still in with an outside chance, will definitely have skipper Chris Taylor back at the helm this week after his tour of Olympic security duty, but they face stiff opposition in the shape of Kimblesworth whose chance of retaining their title has now gone.