Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Canterbury Cup Evokes Memories Of First Ever T20 Match Played At New Road

Canterbury Cup Evokes Memories Of First Ever T20 Match Played At New Road

Which sides featured in the first ever T20 game at New Road?

No, it wasn't Worcestershire Royals versus Northamptonshire Steelbacks on June 13th 2003. In fact it was a few days earlier, and was played to mark the introduction of the new competition, between two local sides – the Old Vigornians and Worcester Dominies & Guild.

BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast had asked whether it would be possible to stage a match during their programme, which aired between 0600 and 0900, and, as their Midlands correspondent, asked me whether I'd be able to help.

Thanks to the amazing generosity of the then Chief Executive, Mark Newton, groundsman Tim Packwood, and all round good guy Keith Bradley, who ensured we were supplied with bacon sandwiches and coffee and tea, the game went ahead in glorious sunshine and was broadcast live to the nation.

This weekend our two sides meet again at New Road in the final of the Canterbury Cup Plate competition, the local version of the T20 Blast. It ought to be a fabulous occasion.

We are second up after the Under 19s and precede Worcester and Himley who will do battle for the Canterbury Cup which Ombersley won last year.

Back in 2003 the OVs and Dominies were league rivals, but since then the Battenhall based side has progressed to Division Two of the Worcestershire League, while we remain in Division Three.

It means Dominies will start as favourites this time. Indeed they comprehensively beat the OVs in the main competition earlier in the summer.

The Plate is a competition for lower ranked sides who compete in the Cup but have been knocked out by the second round. Disappointingly very few teams from the lower divisions have entered the Cup this year.

It is a fantastic opportunity for smaller clubs like ours to enjoy our day in the spotlight at the home of cricket, New Road. It would be nice to see sides like Malvern, Rushwick, Hanley & Upton, West Malvern, Kempsey, Alvechurch & Hopwood, and so many more, enter next year.

It's open to any club in the county including those who play in other leagues like the Cotswold Hills, or don't play in any league at all. Perhaps a change in the qualification rules might be considered, in order attract more sides.

Back to 2003, and the match was won narrowly by the Old Vigornians and afterwards both sides jumped into the hot tub, which was the county's big gimmick that year , as T20 cricket caught the nation's imagination

Thanks to County sponsors Arctic Spas, the hot tub is back, so perhaps there'll be a repeat performance.