T20 Blast

I love to watch sport. I'm at most games at St James' Park. I'm not against a trip to the Stadium of Light or even Victoria Park. I took a day trip to Sheffield to see the snooker. I'm watching as much of the Euros as I possibly can and if I stumble across some curling on TV, I'll probably watch that too. But watching sport live is way better because you feel like you're part of it and part of a community - a community of people all hoping for the same outcome in the case of your own fans, and a community of people all sharing the same experience, if you look around the whole venue.

It is that all-round live experience that Durham County Cricket Club and generally the game of T20 cricket (the shortest and most explosive form of the game) have developed to attract more people to watch cricket. And looking round the ground at the game I recently attended, it's working. The match between Durham Jets and Yorkshire Vikings attracted a large and energetic crowd, a crowd that was drawn to and part of a fun Friday evening of entertainment.

Crowd

The Durham Jets have four home T20 Blast games coming up this month:

  • Durham Jets v Leicestershire Foxes, Sunday 10 July 2.30pm
  • Durham Jets v Northamptonshire Steelbacks, Friday 15 July 6.30pm
  • Durham Jets v Lancashire Lightning, Friday 22 July 6.30pm
  • Durham Jets v Derbyshire Falcons, Friday 29 July 6.30pm

And, as promised in the in the title, here are four reasons to visit Emirates Riverside and cheer on the Durham Jets this summer.

Family Fun

Chester the Lion

This is Chester the Lion. I actually missed Durham taking a wicket to take this picture. Chester doesn't take a rest - he's hard at work throughout the game, making people of all ages smile and posing for photographs. And kids love him. They also seemed pretty keen on the fireworks, t-shirt giveaways and fun fair, as well as the chance to get involved in bubble football on the pitch before the game.

The Jets' next game on Sunday (10th July) promises even more for Jets' younger supporters, including a mascot race, fireworks, face-painting, a fun-fair, Diggerland fun, Durham Cathedral Lego model, soft play and archery. And the cost of a children's ticket for this game will be dropped to just £1. Adult tickets cost £15 each in advance, £20 on the day. Gates open at 12.30pm for anyone who just can't wait!

A sunny outlook

Nobody wanted to leave...

After spending too much time at St James' last season and in pubs watching England play during the Euros, the optimism and encouragement for players on both sides at Emirates Riverside was a refreshing change. The determination to not let the weather win was also also impressive. This is the crowd about two minutes before the thunderstorm started. They were all huddled like penguins on the covered part of the concourse, waiting for the rain to pass, a few minutes later.

The rain didn't pass but the Duckworth-Lewis method of calculating the target score for a victory during a rain-affected match was brought into play and Durham took the win thanks to a good start of 68/3 chasing Yorkshire's 134.

Hospitality

Hot tub

Okay so not everyone at the T20 games gets to sit a hot tub (I think these guys won a competition) but they do plenty to welcome all visitors at Durham. That includes extra bars, caterers and toilets to cope with larger crowds, friendly staff and bargain parking. I was pretty excited to find real chip-shop-style cod and chips amongst the food vans.

Thanks to Ian Horricks, official photographer at the game for this picture (and the one of the crowd and scoreboard above). I'm not sure I'd have had the same response if I asked these guys to pose for a snap with my phone.

Emirates Riverside

Floodlights

I've always loved the view at the Riverside. Lumley Castle in the background is a lovely sight on a sunny day. And I've seen the ground grow over the years into the Test Match arena that Emirates Riverside is today. The floodlights are a welcome addition too, allowing Friday night games to start at 6.30pm so there's plenty time to get down to the ground after work. They help with moody snaps for Instagram too.

Tickets are Durham's T20 Blast games are available in advance online or from the gate on the day.

By Shelley Johnson

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