Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Friday Night aLRIGHT BY US ; Lancashire Urge ECB Not to Change Format of the T20 Blast.

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Friday Night aLRIGHT BY US ; Lancashire Urge ECB Not to Change Format of the T20 Blast.

Article excerpt

LANCASHIRE believe Friday night T20s have been a success and have urged the ECB not to rush into changing the format of the NatWest Blast.

The success of Australia's Big Bash has once again opened up debate about the future of the shortest form of the game in England.

A re-launch of the T20 competition here last year saw the traditional midseason block of games scrapped, with the group games being played instead throughout the start of the campaign - mainly on a Friday night.

It produced differing results around the country, but Lancashire have hailed it as a success with their average gate for rising from 5,668 in 2013 to 6,202 for their seven group games and the quarter- final against Glamorgan.

That figure was certainly boosted by a good run by the team - who eventually lost in the final to Birmingham Bears - and the return of Andrew Flintoff, although Freddie never actually played a game at Emirates Old Trafford after his shock return.

But there have been critics of the Friday night scheme, with some counties admitting it would be easier to bring in big-name overseas players if the competition was played in a three-week block.

And playing it during the school holidays could also attract a bigger family audience.

However, Lancashire are keen to continue with Friday nights having seen more people watch a T20 game at the ground for the first time last season than ever before.

"It was a fantastic success last year," said Red Rose marketing manager Hollie Costigan. "It by far exceeded our expectations. We were so pleased in terms of attendance, the kind of people we attracted and our matchday experience. "Friday nights worked and are definitely the way to go. We set up our Friday Night Lives as an alternative to the average Friday night in the pub - come and watch some cricket and have a few pints with your mates, or bring the family and not only do you get to enjoy a fantastic game of cricket, there is live music and other entertainment around the ground. What more could you want on a Friday night? "There are pros and cons for both the Friday night and the three-week block of cricket. …

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