‘Welbeck Weekender’ could become an annual event

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Nottinghamshire CCC’s history-making two-day visit to Welbeck this summer could become a yearly festival, according to the county club’s director of cricket Mick Newell.

The Green & Golds are to play two 50-over Royal London One-Day Cup games at the John Fretwell Sporting Complex, Sookholme against Warwickshire and Glamorgan on 25th and 26th July.

It will be the first time Nottinghamshire have played a home first team fixture at a county outground away from Trent Bridge since a fixture at Worksop in 1998.

The last time they contested any home game away from their Nottingham home was at Cleethorpes in 2004.

Newell is looking forward to ending that wait – and insists it could be more than just a one-off experiment should things go well.

“By doing it over a weekend, we are hoping it becomes a festival of cricket,” he said. “We want people to enjoy what they see, and that we can carry on doing this in the future.

“It’s very much part of our thinking to have some time away from Trent Bridge, no doubt about that. We want to give Steve (Birks, head groundsman) every opportunity to prepare his Test match pitch - this summer it’s the Ashes game - which is hugely important for England and Notts in terms of how it’s hosted.

“That was one of the starting points for doing this, but we’re also happy to host games somewhere else because it will be good for Nottinghamshire cricket as well.

“We have to be realistic. Twenty20 cricket is such a money-spinner that is not likely to move from Trent Bridge because that is the only place that can hold 7,000 to 10,000 people.

“But in other types of cricket like this, and ultimately possibly four-day cricket, there is no reason why we can’t move games away from Trent Bridge.”

The Welbeck Weekender, as it has been dubbed, could prove a real money-spinner for the North Notts club, with crowds of 4,000 to 5,000 targeted if good weather is forthcoming.

Those in attendance will be hoping to get a close look at former Australia seamer Ben Hilfenhaus and ex-South Africa batsman Jacques Rudolph, who are among the star turns expected to feature for Nottinghamshire and Glamorgan respectively.

Nottinghamshire are following in the footsteps of neighbouring counties Derbyshire, who play annually at Queen’s Park Chesterfield, and Yorkshire, who play games at North Marine Road, Scarborough, in taking cricket back to outgrounds.

Nottinghamshire seamer and former Welbeck player Jake Ball is eagerly awaiting next month’s matches and hopes it can inspire the next generation of local players.

The Mansfield-born youngster said: “The goal for Welbeck is to make it a regular thing, and it’s a really good advert for the club, especially with all the kids that will be around.

“Hopefully, it can help the club get a really good base of young players and more coming through the system and playing at Notts.”

Both games start at 10.30am and tickets are available through Nottinghamshire’s website at www.trentbridge.co.uk/tickets or via 0844 8118711.

General admission price is £10 per day with £5 parking per vehicle. More details are also available via www.welbeckccc.co.uk.