My first experience of the Friends Life Twenty/20 finals day at Edgbaston at the
weekend certainly lived up to the hype despite the lack of sunshine and
constant threat of rain throughout the day.
From beginning to end, the whole day was well organised and the cricket itself lived
up to expectations with some breathtaking individual performances.
From arriving at New Street station, catching the shuttle bus to the ground and then
easily entering the stadium, it was a great feat of organisation. Some may well
have had problems but I did not witness any myself.
Sitting in the Priory stand, square of the wicket, was a very good vantage point
despite this part of the ground being one of the oldest. There was plenty of
leg room and a great mixture of supporters, young and old, boys and girls, men
and women. There was a good selection of supporters from the four clubs that
made up the finals day - Northamptonshire, Essex, Hampshire and Surrey and as
the day progressed there was plenty of good natured banter clearly fuelled by
Despite the supporters constantly looking overhead at the threat of rain they certainly
enjoyed themselves. There was a vast array of fancy dress costumes - the best
for me had to be a group of lads dressed as traffics cones. I am not sure how
much cricket some of the supporters actually saw but I have no doubt they
enjoyed themselves and may well have been feeling the after effects on Sunday
The cricket itself was littered with stars from home and abroad. With the likes of
Michael Carberry, Ravi Bopara, Jade Dernbach, Azhar Mahmood, Cameron White and
Shaun Tait on display it was never going to be dull. There was also the
emergence of some potentially very good players during the day such as David
Willey, the star of the final with a 27 ball 60 and 4-9 (inc a hat-trick), and
Edgbaston itself has come a long way over the last few years with new stands being
erected. A lot of the new areas are dedicated to corporate hospitality and
members but even so the ground is very impressive these days and has ensured
that the atmosphere, so often associated with this famous ground, continues.
The great thing about cricket as a spectator sport these days is the involvement
the crowd has with the game. The big screens erected at the ground enable
replays to be shown, third umpire referral decisions and general information
that all cricket supporters crave. Twenty/20 is non-stop and this technology
ensures the game progresses quickly. I even got to see the Swansea v Manchester United game on a huge screen below the Priory stand, which was an added bonus.
There is no doubt that the day is not cheap. Ticket prices are high, but when
compared with the average football match day prices, they are great value when
you consider the eleven hours worth of entertainment on offer. One thing that
does always disappoint me at cricket grounds is the extortionate price for food
and drink. Alcohol was very expensive but it certainly didn't stop the crowd
from having plenty of it.
The only downside to the day was the rain that reduced the final to 18 overs per
side which unfortunately meant that I had to leave early in order to catch the
last train home. Even returning to the station was as smooth as it was
All in all the day is highly recommended to all cricket lovers and, given the chance,
i would definitely return next year. Even if your preference is normally for
Test match cricket the Finals day is still something you must experience, if
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