Pit skills against county first XI

Northants County cricketers training outside at The County Ground. 'David Murphy and Andrew Hall.
Northants County cricketers training outside at The County Ground. 'David Murphy and Andrew Hall.

Cricket fans are being offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to go up against a first-class team during a family event in Brackley next month.

After a few new faces joined the Brackley Cricket Club committee, they decided they wanted to raise the profile of the club while raising funds to improve the ground.

So this week they launched an eBay auction to win a temporary place on the team when they play Northamptonshire County Cricket Club in Brackley on Saturday, June 9.

NCC is one of only 18 first class cricket teams in the country, and the winning bidder could end up bowling against players such as former South African international and all rounder Andrew Hall, and the rest of the county’s first XI.

There will also be the chance for those not in the match to deliver a few balls to the Northants players in the nets.

Around the 30-over match there will be entertainment for the whole family, including stalls, a bouncy castle, face painting and a choice of food and drinks.

BCC chairman Keith Cartwright said the weather hit attendance hard last year, and that proceeds from the event would go towards covers. He credited their second XI captain Ian Harris for coming up with the idea.

He added: “We’ve not had a big team down in Brackley since the 1970s John Player League, so this is the first time the cricket team, and the town, has entertained a first-class county team for quite some time.

“It’s massive opportunity for a youngster, or even us older guys, to pit their skills against the top guys.”

The exact make up of the NCCC team will be decided closer to the event, but subject to availability the team could include Scotland’s Kyle Coetzer, wicket keeper David Murphy, David Sales and David Willey.

The match forms part of Northants captain Stephen Peters’ benefit year as he supports the Northampton-based Wilson Foundation and the Professional Cricketers’ Association benevolent fund.

He said: “I just think it’s a great idea, hopefully it will create a bit of a buzz around the town and I know both myself and the lads are looking forward to coming over to Brackley for a good day out.

“I know Brackley had a visit from a John Player League side sometime ago, so from that point of view we’ll be delighted to add to the history of the club, Let’s just hope it is a sunny day.”

To take part in the auction search eBay for ‘Brackley cricket’ and make a bid before it ends at 7pm on Thursday, May 19.