Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

HUGE PRIZE AWAITS; and It's a Colourful Spectacle Too Local Cricket

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

HUGE PRIZE AWAITS; and It's a Colourful Spectacle Too Local Cricket

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDREW WILKINSON

COLOURED clothing, black sightscreens and pink balls!

That's what's on offer on Sunday - along with runs and wickets galore - in the first of this season's NYSD Finals days.

Hartlepool's Park Drive ground hosts this year's Hotel Tall Trees Macmillan Cup semi-finals and final with the potential of a huge prize for the winners.

For the winning team enters the English Cricket Board's National T20 Cup, with the final at Chelmsford in Essex live on Sky.

It's all a far cry from just a couple of years ago, when the winners, in traditional white gear, lifted the Macmillan Cup, had a couple of beers and that was it.

Chris West, president of the NYSD League, and the driving force behind many of the exciting changes that have transformed the league, said: "I believe that if the league was still in the same format of a decade ago it would be dead on its feet.

"There's a lot more organising to do now, but it's worth it. We were asked by the ECB, as an elite UK league to be part of the T20 competition, and our league has embraced it."

The first of Sunday's semi-finals starts at 10 am when Guisborough play Darlington. Then at 1.30 Great Ayton take on hosts Hartlepool. The final starts at 5.30pm.

The winners will face the Yorkshire ECB Champions and the winners of the Duke's North-east Premier League competition, on August 14 on an NYSD ground yet to be decided.

The winners of that day's area finals will go on to the regional final.

Guisborough all-rounder Richard Dunn will be in the thick of the action.

He first played top flight cricket for the club 26 years ago, and approves of the way the game has developed and adapted to keep it fresh.

"If the league remained the same it would stagnate," he said. "You have to move on.

"The development of the Fifteens in our league has highlighted how new formats can boost the game. It has been really well received, and the new look Macmillan is the same. …

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