Champions Wimbledon are hoping to become the first club to retain the National Club Twenty20 title when the competition concludes on Friday with Finals Day at the Kia Oval.
The Surrey Championship outfit will start the day as favourites to lift the trophy which they won 12 months ago at Edgbaston with a comfortable seven-wicket win over Northern.
Captain Neil Turk, who starred with both bat and ball in last season’s Finals Day, will hope to continue his good form this season opening the batting for Wimbledon.
He has a highest score of 97 this year and top scored for his side in all of their last three t20 matches as they qualified for Finals Day by beating Frocester of the West of England Premier League by 42 runs in the quarter-finals.
Wimbledon are also on a high after winning the Surrey Championship for the third successive year last weekend.
Banbury will be Wimbledon’s opponents in the first semi-final in what will be their first appearance at this stage of the competition after narrowly beating Peterborough Town by three wickets.
The Home Counties Premier League side will be pinning their hopes on their bowling duo of Luke Ryan and Ashley Blanchard who have restricted opposition batsmen throughout the competition and, having taken a preference to batting second, given their side relatively small totals to chase, which has included a five-wicket win over the 2011 champions Ealing. Nathan Hawkes has been their star batsman in this year’s competition, including a top score of 103 not out.
The second semi welcomes Chester-Le-Street back to Finals Day for the third year in a row but after a final defeat in 2011 against Ealing and a semi-final loss to Northern last year they are hoping Friday 13th will be lucky for them in 2013.
Some impressive displays throughout the competition this season have been built on an opening batting partnership of Simon Birtwisle and Andrew Smith, who have put on 160 and 102 for the first wicket in their last two T20 matches.
The North East Premier League side have unfortunately lost opening bowler Usman Arshad to Durham CCC as they bid to win the LV= County Championship but other bowlers including Liam Simpson, Chris Martin and Andrew Bell have all weighed in with double figure wicket hauls in 2013.
The final team of the four is Ormskirk who, like Banbury, are making their first visit to Finals Day.
Ormskirk came through the closest quarter-final of the four sides, beating previous Finals Day visitors Hyde by just one run.
Opening bowlers Nicky Caunce and Gavin Griffiths have proved a deadly combination for opposition batsmen in this season’s competition and with captain Ian Robinson providing some useful runs at the top of the order for the Liverpool & District Premier League side, Ormskirk will be looking to inflict more Finals Day heartache on Chester-Le-Street.
The whole of Finals Day will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Ashes from 12.30pm. Entry into the Kia Oval is free throughout the day and timings of matches is:
12.30 – Wimbledon v Banbury
15.25 – Chester-Le-Street v Ormskirk
19.10 – Final