Horsham to stage 2009 final
The picturesque Horsham CC ground in Sussex has been chosen as the venue for the 2009 ECB 50+ County Championship Final.
The Final in 2008 was held for the first time on the Nursery Ground at Lord’s. To be able to stage the Final at the most famous venue in world cricket, albeit on the Nursery Ground, was a major coup and the competing teams from Lancashire and Oxfordshire were delighted to play at the venue.
The Final took place on Sunday September 28 and was played in glorious sunshine in front of more than 1,000 spectators. With two balls to go the last pair for Lancashire required eight for victory – the penultimate ball disappeared for a first bounce four but the last ball saw the middle stump uprooted to give Oxfordshire victory.
For 2009 the pressure on pitches at Lord’s is such that there is no slot available on the Nursery Ground for this Final so this match will return to Horsham again and will be played on Sunday September 20. It is hoped that the ECB 50+ County Championship Final will return to the Nursery Ground in 2010.
Competition format 2009
Group Matches - five Groups of 8 (= 7 matches each)
Matches to be played on the following Wednesdays: May 13, 20 & 27; June 3, 17 & 24; July 8. (Free dates for re-arrangement of matches would then be June 10, July 1 & 15 - all group matches must be completed by Thursday July 16)
Play-Off Round (16 teams) - Sunday August 2 – complete by August 5)
Quarter-Finals - Sunday August 16 – complete by August 19
Semi-Finals - Sunday August 30
Final - Horsham CC on Sunday September 20
There are 40 competing teams – the 38 County Boards plus the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands. Therefore the whole of England and Wales is covered by the competition as well as the Channel Islands.
Qualification for players for County teams is based on the county affiliation of the parent club of the player involved.
The competition is split into five Groups of eight on a geographical basis with each team playing the others in its Group in a round-robin, therefore each team plays seven matches in the Group Stage. All matches are played over 45 overs-a-side.
The top three teams in each Group plus the best 4th placed team progress to the knock-out stages, a total of 16 teams.
Prior to the Semi-Finals teams from the same Group are kept apart – after this stage it is not always possible especially in the last two years when three teams from the South East Group reached the Semi-Finals stage.
The Final was historically been held in the county of one of the Finalists – on a rota basis between the North and the South.
The 2007 match between Surrey and Kent was the first departure from this as it was held at Horsham CC (a ground used by Sussex County Cricket Club for First Class matches).
The 2006 Final had been held at the same venue when Yorkshire beat their Sussex hosts by five runs in a pulsating match that saw nearly 600 runs scored in the day and the hospitality and facilities provided were so good it was decided to return to Horsham as the venue.