Quartet ready for FLt20 finals day
The 2011 Friends Life t20 finals day takes place on Saturday August 27 at Edgbaston and offers a superb day of sporting entertainment for cricket fans.
The Friends Life t20 competition began on June 1 and after 148 fixtures the four teams still in with a chance of lifting the trophy are Lancashire Lightning, Leicestershire Foxes, Hampshire Royals and Somerset.
The build-up at Edgbaston begins from 10am with the first semi-final between Lancashire and Leicestershire, scheduled to start at 11am. The second semi-final between Hampshire Royals and Somerset is due to start at 2.30pm with the final scheduled for 6.45pm.
Karen Burrell, head of marketing services, Friends Life, said: “We are delighted to be the title sponsor of the Friends Life t20 competition.
"Finals day is the culmination of an amazing summer of cricket, during which we have seen the Friends Life values of success, respect and support represented across some great games of cricket. We are looking forward to what promises to be a fantastic and entertaining day of cricket at Edgbaston.”
Leicestershire are the only county to have won the Twenty20 competition twice, in 2004 and 2006.
However, they have not reached a finals day since 2006 and will be hoping that their performance on Saturday provides a fitting send-off for 40-year-old wicketkeeper Paul Nixon, who announced his retirement from the game last month.
Foxes vice-captain Andrew McDonald said: "Everyone at Leicestershire is really looking forward to Friends Life t20 finals day; it will be a great day for the whole club.
"We have performed well throughout the campaign and have prepared well for Saturday. It means a lot to everybody associated with the club and we all want to bring the trophy back to Grace Road."
Lancashire are the only side left in the competition yet to win a Twenty20 title. The closest they have come was in 2005 when they lost to Somerset in the final.
Lancashire’s last appearance at finals day was in 2007 and they have progressed to the knock-out stages in all but two attempts in the nine years of the competition.
Head coach Peter Moores said: “We have lots of people at the club who have been to finals day before. I am looking forward to having a big crowd there and I think the players will as well. You want to be tested as a coach and a player; it's part of the game.”
Hampshire are the defending champions having beaten Somerset at the Rose Bowl in 2010 by the narrowest of margins to win their first ever twenty20 title.
A comprehensive victory over Durham Dynamos in the quarter-finals booked them a place at only their second finals day.
Hampshire's Jimmy Adams said: “As defending champions it was one of our priorities right from the beginning of the season to be at Friends Life t20 finals day again so we’re over the moon to still be in the mix for a chance to defend our crown at Edgbaston.
“We know what a great occasion it is, how much it means to the club and the supporters and what a great feeling it is for us, as players, to win a competition like this, so we’ll be doing everything in our power to bring the trophy back to the Rose Bowl.”
Having finished as runners-up in both 2009 and 2010, Somerset will be hoping to go one better in 2011 and add to the title they won in 2005 when they defeated Lancashire.
Somerset captain Marcus Trescothick said: "Reaching the Friends Life t20 finals day is always a major target at the start of the season. The competition has got more intense year on year so to reach three consecutively is a great achievement for Somerset.
“Finals day always produces an amazing atmosphere which all Somerset players are desperate to experience, and to go one step further this year."
As well as the action on the pitch, spectators will be treated to dancers, cheerleaders, pyrotechnics, music, the eagerly anticipated Friends Life t20 mascot race and much more."
For ticket information and event details visit www.edgbaston.com.