KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
Founded in 1787, Marylebone Cricket Club is the most active and famous cricket club in the world and owner of Lord's Cricket Ground - the Home of Cricket.
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Durham, Somerset, Surrey and Sussex will battle it out in the semi-finals of the Clydesdale Bank 40 in a bid to qualify for the Final at Lord’s, on Saturday 17 September.
Surrey, who lost for the first time in the competition this year against Durham in their final group match, will host local rivals Sussex at the Kia Oval with Somerset welcoming Durham to Taunton.
Tickets for the final are on sale now, with prices starting at £40 for adults and just £5 for under 16s.
Somerset are hoping to reach a second consecutive CB40 final after losing to an Ian Bell inspired Warwickshire by three wickets in the 2010 final.
They are sweating on the fitness of captain and star batsman Marcus Trescothick though, who picked up a back injury during the final round of group matches.
Surrey – despite their defeat to Durham – are narrow second favourites for the competition outright after a stunning run to the semi-finals.
The London county’s aggressive cricket under young captain Rory Hamilton-Brown has lit up the competition so far, with the likes of Jason Roy and Tom Maynard hinting at a possible England future.
The home semi-finalists face stern competition from 2007 winners Durham and five time champions Sussex though.
Sussex narrowly qualified ahead of Middlesex from Group B courtesy of their superior net run rate, despite losing their final match against Middlesex at Lord’s. They will be hoping for a better result at the Home of Cricket should they reach the final.
Durham made the last four as the best runners-up but an away win over Surrey in their final group match will have buoyed their confidence - as will memories of victory at Lord’s in 2007.
This summer is the 49th consecutive year in which the showpiece one-day final will be played at Lord’s.
The fixture has frequently changed guise in the years since Sussex won the inaugural Gillette Cup in 1969 in a 60 over match, but its importance to players and fans alike has remained strong.
Paul Collingwood, who played in Durham’s win over Hampshire in 2007, said: “To have qualified for the Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-finals is a great achievement for the team.
“Durham as a whole has worked hard in the last few years to develop an effective one day side and our performance this season really demonstrates on-going success.
“We’re in with a chance of making it to a Lord’s final which is really special. When we won the Friends Provident Trophy there in 2007 it was a huge moment in the club’s history and it would be great to have the opportunity to win there again.”
His former England teammate and Sussex spinner Monty Panesar added: “Playing for your county in a big Lord’s final is something that every English cricketer dreams about.
Every time I have played at Lord’s, a venue with so much history and prestige, it has been amazing, so to be out there in a major final would be really special.”
Lord’s is celebrating the final with a special family themed English summer fayre.
The Nursery Ground will feature fairground stalls, a bouncy castle, face painting and balloon modelling.
As well as the traditional Lord’s picnic area, a cooper will give a display of traditional cask making and there will be specialty ales from English brewer Marston’s.