Leek prepares for Friends Life t20 showpiece

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NEIGHBOURING Leek is to enjoy its first ever taste of Friends Life t20 action this weekend when Derbyshire Falcons face Warwickshire Bears.

The race for qualification remains wide open ahead of Sunday’s match at Highfield, where England internationals Darren Maddy, James Troughton, Rikki Clarke, Tim Ambrose and Chris Woakes are all expected to play for the Bears.

Current New Zealand international star Martin Guptill will lead Derbyshire’s attack with the bat on a fast scoring ground where 537 runs were scored in 67.2 overs in the Clydesdale Bank 40 match against Essex Eagles last season.

Derbyshire fast bowler Steffan Jones, who is playing his club cricket for Leek Cricket Club this season, is looking forward to Highfield getting a taste of county cricket action.

“As a bowler I guess I shouldn’t be looking forward to playing Friends Life t20 cricket on such a fast scoring ground. But I’m delighted for Leek Cricket Club and the local community that they have this opportunity,” he said.

“Playing at out-grounds is all about taking cricket to a wider audience and I hope the public of Stoke-on-Trent and the Staffordshire Moorlands get behind this venture.

“There is plenty of international quality in Warwickshire’s line-up but we have proved in matches against Lancashire and Durham already we are capable of playing excellent cricket in this form of the game.”

Advanced ticket sales have been healthy for the eagerly anticipated fixture, although there will be tickets available on the day of the game, which begins at noon.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for the discounted price of £13 adults (£6 juniors) either by calling 01332 388 101 or online at derbyshireccc.com. Tickets are also available from Leek Tourist Information Centre. Entry on the day is priced at £15 adults (£8 juniors).