Seven-o-clock in the evening is a significant watershed during the working week. Whether it’s getting young children ready for bed or choosing between the ‘One Show’ and ‘Emmerdale’ on tv, there are decisions to be made.
The Notts Outlaws present a third option for the 7pm slot this Thursday, when they face the Leicestershire Foxes in the latest ever start time to a game during Trent Bridge’s 172 year history. This match will take place under lights and could well guarantee qualification into the quarter-finals, with the added incentive of a home tie to boot.
Since its inception in 2003, Twenty20 cricket has proved incredibly popular, with the ECB utilising a formula which combines the long hours of daylight available during the height of summer, and a shortened version of the game, which has been played at amateur level for years.
The rest is history and the game now generates millions of pounds in revenue across the globe, with a number of spin off competitions, most notably the ICC World Twenty20, which and the incredibly popular Indian Premier League.
This season Nottinghamshire have pushed the start time back to 6pm, from 5.30pm, recognising the opening overs in this format can be incredibly entertaining and providing fans with an extra half hour to get down to the ground, find a seat and watch the action unfold. I think this works really well and still guarantees a finish time of 8.45pm, ensuring younger fans can be home at a reasonable hour, whilst allowing older members a chance to see the game in its entirety and still enjoy a nightcap on the way home.
"Leicestershire will play with even greater freedom than normal which should make for an explosive encounter against Hussey’s men."
Thursday’s 7pm start is likely to provide a different spectacle both on and off the field - potentially appealing to a more mature audience, while the tactics of the game itself will also be adapted. Notts captain David Hussey will have to consider the advantages of batting or bowling if he wins the toss.
Should he decide to bat first, his team will enjoy the luxury of time in the middle while the light is at its brightest and most consistent, and when the wicket is least affected by any seam movement created by the dew. On the downside, his spin bowlers in particular will have to cope with using a damp ball in the second innings, as will the Outlaws fielders, who will also face the challenge of picking the ball out of the crowd at dusk, when the floodlights begin to take effect.
It’s a tough one to call, adding intrigue to what should be a fascinating and highly entertaining spectacle. Captained by former England swing bowler Matthew Hoggard, and with belligerent Aussie batsman Brad Hodge in their line-up, the Foxes have the firepower to beat anyone on their day, as their victory over the high flying Warwickshire Bears demonstrated earlier in the competition.
Hoggard’s men will also be keen to avenge their recent seven wicket defeat at the hands of the Outlaws and their position at the foot of the table means they need to win all of their last three games to have a chance of qualifying. They will play with even greater freedom than normal which should make for an explosive encounter against Hussey’s men. It certainly wins my vote over Emmerdale, any day of the week.
Friends Provident t20 ticket information
Notts Outlaws v Leicestershire Foxes (Thursday 15th July, 7pm, Trent Bridge)
Notts Outlaws v Yorkshire Carnegie (Saturday 17th July, 6.10pm, Trent Bridge)
Adults £15 (£12 in advance)
Senior Citizens £15 (£7 in advance)
Under 16s £8
Click here to buy online
Ticket hotline 0844 811 8711
Tickets also available from the Trent Bridge ticket office