The stage is perfectly set for a superb end to Burghley Park’s Cricket Week with the final of the annual Sixes tournament this evening.
Six teams went into yesterday evening’s three quarter finals, hoping to join Nassington, who reached the semi-finals when they knocked out 2012 champions Yaxley on Wednesday, in the grand showdown.
Burghley Bears, Oakham, Castor, Newborough, Ufford Park and Stamford were in all contention at the start of play yesterday evening, but David Popple, one of the organisers, said Nassington could be the ones to beat.
“The quality of the cricket has been great but I think the favourites are Nassington,” said Popple.
“All their lads have played together since they were about six and they look very good.
“The Bandaranaike brothers looked great in their quarter final.”
They were certainly unfazed by facing last year’s champions, breezing past Yaxley’s 60 with Alex Banaranaike hitting 30 not out and then taking 1 for 1 in his over. All players except the wicket keepers have one over in the Burghley Sixes format.
There was plenty of high scoring in the opening round with Chris Bore striking 69no as Stamford eliminated Empingham, and Shazad Aktar smashed 76 off 16 deliveries as Barnack went out at the hands of Oakham.
Among the meanest wicket-takers were Ufford’s Peter Taylor with 3 for 7, Uppingham’s Mark Cox with 2 for 1, Burghley’s Adam Renton 1 for 5, and Old Oakhamians’ Simon Hartly 1 for 7.
There have also been day matches throughout the week with Burghley Park drawing with Ex-Tempore on Monday but losing to a Dave Stratton XI on Tuesday and Lincolnshire Gents - despite a 101 retired from Josh Gallimore - on Wednesday.
An unlike last year, when the event was almost forced into a second week by rain, Cricket week appears to be have been blessed by dry weather.
“We have been lucky this year,” added Popple. “The turnout has been good and hopefully Andy Murray will win his semi-final quickly so people can come up and join us on the final night.
“Entry is free, there is a bar and barbecue and plenty of space for kids to play.”
Burghley Sixes finals night begins at 6.30pm this evening.