Cockspur Club Twenty20 returns
The Cockspur Club Twenty20 was such a popular initiative last year that the ECB has brought it back in bigger and better style for 2009.
Over 500 clubs are expected to be involved this year, with a trip to Barbados for the Pro-Am tournament in October the prize for the winners.
It also gives the two finalists the chance to play at a Test match ground - it was Cardiff last year - with the game broadcast live on Sky.
“It is a quality product,” head of operations for non-first class cricket Paul Bedford told ECBtv. “The match that was shown on Sky was fantastic - a great advert for club cricket.”
Managing director cricket partnerships Mike Gatting is also effusive in his praise of the competition, which was piloted last year.
“If you talk to any of the clubs that were involved, they really did enjoy it,” he said. “It is a competition we feel everybody can compete in.
“For a club cricketer to play at a Test match ground, possibly under lights, must make a huge impact. I remember what an impact it had on me when I played under the lights for the first time. It was absolutely amazing.
“If somebody from club cricket can do that, that’s got to be great for cricket.”
The Cockspur Club Twenty20 is a 20-over a side league competition with area and regional finalists going through to the next stage, a format which Gatting believes is very successful.
“Everybody knows it’s a fun game,” he confirmed. “It gets people there, it gets people enthusiastic about it. It’s a short game and there’s lots always going on.
“It’s a family game, which is what cricket seems to be these days. One hopes it is going to drag some volunteers down to the clubs.
“Clubs always need volunteers and people coming down to the club, to help the club survive.”