Indoor championship reaches regional finals
The ECB Men's Indoor National Club Championship regional finals take place on Sunday at four venues around the country, with the winners of each qualifying for the national final at Lord's on Sunday 17 March.
The 2012 winners Whitstable have already been knocked out in the county competition stages but their replacement from Kent, Betteshanger Colliery Welfare, will fancy their chances of making the national final as they have home advantage in the London and East regional final, taking place at Kent’s Canterbury home. Betteshanger, who reached the national finals in 2010, are joined by Fives & Heronians (Essex), Sawbridgeworth (Hertfordshire) plus 2005 and 2008 national finalists Worcester Park (Surrey).
Blaydon have reached the national finals more times than any other team over the last 10 years and will be hoping to win the Northern regional final at Derbyshire’s County Ground to make it to Lord's for a fourth year in a row, but will find tough opposition in Sheffield University (Yorkshire), Egerton (Lancashire) and home side Spondon (Derbyshire). Blaydon, the Durham champions, will be hoping to go one step further in 2013 after being national runners-up in both 2011 and 2012.
Edgbaston plays host to the Midlands regional final and there will be a new team at the national finals with Margam (Wales), MK Sahara (Buckinghamshire), Moseley (Warwickshire) and Old Northamptonians (Northamptonshire) battling it out after winning their county competition and county play-off match to reach this stage of the competition. None of the four teams have reached the national stages of the competition before.
A strong line-up will be present at the South and West regional final at Somerset’s Taunton home, with St Austell (Cornwall) hoping to go one further after being knocked out at this stage in 2012 by virtue of losing more wickets than Poole Town, who qualified to the national finals. Poole cannot stop them in 2013 because they were beaten at the county play-off stage by Bridgwater (Somerset), who will themselves fancy their chances of reaching Lord's having last been there in 2009. The other two teams who also came through strong county competitions are 2007 national finalists Sarisbury Athletic (Hampshire) and South Wilts (Wiltshire).
Regional finals schedule
12:15: Semi-final one - Egerton v Spondon
13:45: Semi-final two - Sheffield University v Blaydon
14:15: Semi-final one - MK Sahara v Old Northamptonians
15:45: Semi-final two - Moseley v Margam
South and West, Taunton
15:00: Semi-final one - Sarisbury Athletic v South Wilts
16:15: Semi-final two - St Austell v Bridgwater
London and East, Canterbury
14:15: Semi-final one - Sawbridgeworth v Fives & Heronians
15:45: Semi-final two - Betteshanger v Worcester Park