Strong quartet set for Lord's
The National Indoor Finals will take place at the MCC Indoor School at Lord's on Sunday March 14.
The first semi-final will start at noon between Blaydon CC (Durham) and Poole Town CC (Dorset) and will culminate with the Presentation Ceremony at around 4:30pm.
The four clubs who have reached the National Finals have experienced mixed fortunes in the competition in previous years. The best known name is that of Blaydon CC who will be making their third trip to Finals Day in four seasons.
In the past they have finished as winners in 2007 and were runners-up the following year to Havant CC (Hampshire). Last year Blaydon were beaten in the Regional Final by Sheffield Hallam University in the tightest of finishes.
The students went on to finish up as runners-up to Preston Nomads CC (Sussex) in the Final at Lord's. This year Blaydon gained revenge on the University side in the Regional Final at Derby in another tight finish with the Durham side coming out on top by the margin of nine runs. So Blaydon have intimate knowledge of the venue and how to cope with the pressures of the big day.
Poole Town CC and Godmanchester Town CC (Huntingdonshire) have surprisingly similar records in this competition over recent years as both have reached their Regional Finals day three times, and this year both have made it third time lucky as they make their first appearance at Headquarters.
Poole have reached the Taunton Regional Finals in the last three seasons losing in 2008 to Havant, who went on to win the competition, and last year to Bridgwater - who were not quite so successful at Lord's as they found Sheffield Hallam University too strong for them in the semi-final.
Three members of the Poole squad have played in the Minor Counties for Dorset and although the club has never reached an Indoor Final at Lord's, two of the team played in the 2006 BUSA Finals for Bournemouth University at this venue.
Godmanchester have reached the Edgbaston Regional Final in three of the last four seasons and on both previous occasions went out of the competition one match short of reaching Lord's. This time around they have been delighted to get over that final hurdle.
Every player in Godmanchester's side has experience of playing in the Huntingdonshire 1st XI; and two of them have also played for Cambridgeshire as Huntingdonshire are not part of the Minor Counties Championship, although they are regularly applying for inclusion.
Betteshanger CC from Kent make up the line-up for the National Finals. The club, based in the old mining area of Kent, are also new to this stage of the competition. They are one of the strongest teams playing indoor cricket in Kent and have experience of playing in the Canterbury Regional Finals in recent years without progressing further, as is the case with both Poole and Godmanchester.
As Betteshanger were founded by colliery workers in 1932 and until recently only played 'friendly' cricket, the progress they have made since entering the Kent League system is phenomenal. They are now fielding three regular sides with a strong youth policy ensuring their future success.
The line-up for the National Finals this year is one of the strongest for many years. It is hard to identify any particular team as the favourites to lift the trophy and both semi-finals should prove to be very close affairs.
Key 2010 results: