Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Rapids Line Up Events For Durham Jets T20 Blast Fixture To Mark D-Day

Rapids Line Up Events For Durham Jets T20 Blast Fixture To Mark D-Day

Worcestershire Rapids have lined up a series of eye-catching events during Saturday's home NatWest T20 Blast clash with Durham Jets to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day 24 hours earlier.

The Rapids created an occasion to remember during their opening New Road T20 Blast encounter of the campaign against holders Northamptonshire Steelbacks last Friday which ended in a memorable five wicket win.

Now they are stepping up the entertainment level as the Rapids look to avenge the defeat away to The Jets in the opening T20 fixture of 2014.

County business director Jon Graham said: "It's the anniversary of D-Day on Friday and we feel it is appropriate to mark such an occasion during the T20 Blast game.

"We've got the Royal Air Force Band coming to play at New Road. A five piece band will be playing on the Worcestershire Way to start off and there will be a 32 piece band entertaining inside the ground.

"Then at four o'clock in the interval between the two innings there is going to be a flyover across the ground by a Spitfire and a Lancaster Bomber, two of the planes which contributed so much during the Second World War.

"We've also got dignitaries from the RAF, who are one of main sponsors, in the ground as well.

"It's about making sure the partnership with Worcestershire works for all of our sponsors.

"Arctic Spas have got a significant presence again and there are six hot-tubs on the ground now which are always very popular."

Graham has been determined to ensure that the whole T20 experience is something to remember this summer.

He said: "The objective was always to create something different. I think T20, over the last few seasons, has just been like another game with not a whole heap of atmosphere and with us doing the same sort of stuff I guess we do during a four-day game.

"It was always the objective that when we get into this Rapids mentality that it has got to be a show and an event.

"In terms of last Friday's game, I don't think the weather helped us in the build-up. I think if the weather had been better we would have had a full-house but we still had a good crowd and it is something we can build on.

"We had volunteers from the Princes Trust doing human chains in the city centre, telling people about the game, and future games, and the steel band outside the ground was to get the West Indian vibe we had in the Waterside bar.

"The fireworks on the Graeme Hick pavilion, we didn't promote because we wanted it to be a surprise and really create a different atmosphere and I think it went well. It was a good start."

Graham is a lifelong Worcestershire fan and believes the performance on Friday symbolised the resilience which is identified with the Rapids brand name.

He said: "The lads played brilliantly and the whole thing gained momentum after the first few overs. The lads bowled well and Richard Oliver is the best story so far of the year, coming from Shropshire and getting runs on the big stage.

"But I also think the key thing for us is about being resilient and where the name Rapids came from.

"We know we are going to get flooded, we always come back, the ground is a picture after the brilliant job done by Tim Packwood and his staff, and we are resilient.

"We always do come back and the players showed the same sort of resilience on Friday, and we are never beaten and that is why this season more than for a while, there is that belief which is what the Rapids are about."