THE early exit of pre-tournament favourites Barnack has thrown the Burghley Sixes tournament wide open ahead of tonight’s final.
Defending champions and back-to-back winners in 2011 and 2010, Barnack were eliminated in the opening game on Monday, with their conquerors, Nassington then bundled out at the quarter final stage on Wednesday evening.
Tonight’s final of the Sixes tournament, now in its sixth decade, is one of the highlights of Burghley’s cricket week and organisers are hoping that the rain holds off for the final three evening fixtures and today’s daytime match against Leicestershire Gents.
Yesterday, Burghley’s Dave Popple said: “Considering the rain that we have had, the first three days have gone very well.”
Speaking during the lunch break of the game between Burghley Park and West Norfolk, he said: “Oli Hall and his helpers have dome a fantastic job to get the outfield playable. It has been a great effort.”
On Monday Burghley comfortably beat Ex-Tempore. Tuesday’s match against the Dave Statton XI was abandoned due to rain, as was Wednesday’s day match against Lincolnshire Gents, but the Sixes have been unaffected.
As well as Nassington’s victory against Barnack, Laxton Park beat Stamford RUFC, and Castor and Ailsworth beat Old Oakhamians on Monday. On Tuesday, Yaxley beat Empingham, Newborough beat Uffington, and Ufford beat Stamford School with Larkin hitting an unbeaten 48.
The final two first round games were on Wednesday with Uppingham beating Ketton and Burghley Bears seeing off cross-town rivals Stamford. These two matches were then followed by the first quarter final with Laxton Park beating Nassington.
Popple added: “Barnack going out was a surprise. They were winners two years running and Nassington are usually a good bet too.
“It was nice for us to beat Stamford as they beat us last year.”
Going into the final day, the highest score of the week is John Meadows’ 139 for Burghley Park against West Norfolk, which he scored yesterday off a little over 100 balls.
Quarter finals between Castor and Newborough, Ufford Park and Yaxley, and Uppingham and Burghley Bears were due to take place yesterday evening with the semi-final beginning at 6pm this evening and the final immediately after.
Refreshments are available, with a beer festival alongside the pitch and live music planned after the trophy presentations.