ONE of the most eagerly awaited cricket events of the season begins on Monday with the opening of Burghley’s cricket week.
Burghley Park have five days of 11-a-side matches planned while the evenings are dedicated to the popular Sixes tournament.
Sixteen teams have entered the Sixes competition with 2011 champions Barnack up against Nassington in the opening game at 6.30pm on Monday.
Burghley’s Dave Popple said: “We like to count ourselves among the favourites but previously Barnack have always been quite strong. Stamford are a good side and Oakham and Ufford are usually strong too.
“The week is an opportunity for us to give something back to the community and for us to showcase ourselves - plus, of course, we have a ground with one of the finest views in the country.
“We love hosting and hope lots of people will join us. There is no charge.”
He added: “I believe the first Sixes started in the mid-50s. It was really an early version of the Twenty20.
“We are hoping for good weather are anticipating a large crowd on Tuesday when the Olympic torch will pass through.”
An estimated 800 fans attended last year’s finals night and as well as the cricket, Burghley Park Cricket Club have organised the annual beer and cider festival to run alongside and there will be a barbecue for spectators each evening.
On Tuesday spectators will also have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Olympic torch as it is carried through the park on its relay between 5pm and 6pm.
Burghley’s day-time fixtures, which start at 10.30am and run on a timed format, begin with a match against Ex-Tempore on Monday and end with a match against Leicestershire Gents on Friday. In between they will take on a Dave Stratton XI, Lincolnshire Gents and West Norfolk.
Sixes draw and timetable as follows -
The sixes tournament pits Laxton Park against Stamford RUFC, and Castor and Ailsworth against Old Oakhamians after the Barnack-Nassington opener on Monday.
Tuesday’s matches are Newborough against Uffington, Ufford Park against Oakham, and Empingham against Yaxley, with the final two first round games of Ketton versus Uppingham, and Stamford against the Burghley Bears on Wednesday.
The first quarter final, between the winners of Monday’s first two games, will round off Wednesday’s cricket. The three remaining quarter finals take place on Thursday with the semi-finals and final on Friday evening.
Barnack, who scored 103-1, beat Castor by 29 runs in last year’s final.