Unicorns to spearhead 2012 Cricket Festival!
The Southend Cricket Festival WILL take place this year - despite Essex County Cricket Club’s decision not to host the much-loved sporting event.
Cricket fans in the south of the county were left aghast in September last year when Essex announced it was ending 105 years of history by pulling the plug on the event.
But festival organisers refused to take the shock move lying down and are staging the five-day cricketing extravaganza themselves.
Essex CCC’s place at the festival will instead be taken by the Unicorns, whose squad consists of English qualified, non-contracted players from the Minor Counties, Universities and club sides.
And their limited over games against Essex’s great rivals Sussex and Kent have now been formally scheduled in as part of the Clydesdale Bank sponsored CB40 competition.
The Unicorns will face Sussex at Garon Park on Sunday 3rd June, with Kent pitting their wits against former Somerset bowler Keith Parsons’ team on Tuesday 5th June.
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Executive Councillor for Culture & Tourism, Derek Jarvis, said: “I am delighted the Southend Cricket Festival will be going ahead after all this year.
“It was a bitter blow when Essex informed us they would not be staging the event in Southend in 2012.
“We just didn’t understand why they wanted to draw a line under an event that was so popular and profitable after 105 years.
“We’re still talking to Essex CCC with a view to getting them back to Southend again for the near future, but in the meantime we didn’t want cricket fans in south Essex to miss out.
“I’m delighted we’ve managed to secure the Unicorns to take Essex’s place and equally delighted that the scheduled games against Sussex and Kent will form part of the CB40.
“A whole host of other events have been arranged and I really hope local cricket fans turn up in big numbers to show Essex just what they’re missing out on.”
In addition to the two Unicorns CB40 games Southend Rugby Club is hosting its summer ball at Garon Park on Friday 1st June as part of the festival.
On Saturday 2nd June a Trevor Bailey themed benefit event is being held for long serving Essex all-rounder Graham Napier.
Organisers are also currently in the process of finalising the details of a Mayor’s Jubilee Challenge Cup event for local cricket clubs.
It is hoped the final will take place on Monday 4th June, with a comedy club event being staged at Garon Park later that evening.
Essex CCC opted not to host the festival even though attendances in Southend had been increasing year on year and exceeded those in Chelmsford and Colchester.
The profit made by the Southend festival from 2008 to 2011 was around £60,000 compared to a small loss at the Colchester festival over the same period.
Details of how to purchase tickets for the CB40 games and the other events arranged as part of the 2012 festival will be posted at www.visitsouthend.co.uk nearer the time.
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