Cricket World Cup fever is well and truly gripping the nation and one of the world’s biggest sport events is now just days away from arriving in County Durham.
The ICC tournament has been bowling over fans all over the country since it got under way last month and finally comes to the county this Friday, 28 June.
As well as seeing the first of three matches to be held at The Riverside at Chester-le-Street, Friday also heralds the official opening of a Cricket World Cup fanzone in the heart of Durham City.
The free-to-enter fanzone, split across Millennium Square and the Market Place, will be open from Friday for three days, showing live matches from the tournament including Friday’s Sri Lanka vs South Africa clash at Chester-le-Street and hosts England taking on India on Sunday.
The ICC’s City Celebrations, which are taking place at ten host venues across the UK, provide the opportunity for local cricket lovers to enjoy an authentic Cricket World Cup experience, and to do so in the company of fans visiting the county for the tournament from home and abroad.
There will also be the chance for fans to try out Street Cricket which will be hosted in Millennium Place.
Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council, said: “We’ve been waiting so long for the Cricket World Cup and we’re excited that finally it’s almost upon us.
“We can’t wait to welcome cricket fans from home and abroad to County Durham and having them staying in local hotels and spending money in shops can only be good for our economy.
“We hope everyone will enjoy the fanzones which will allow cricket fans and those who are new to the game the chance to enjoy the matches at a truly international event with a real carnival atmosphere.”
Michelle Gorman, managing director at Visit County Durham, said “The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup will boost the region’s visitor economy as we prepare to offer a very warm North East welcome to fans from the UK and around the world. The free fanzones in Durham City this weekend will create a real buzz for visitors and residents, ensuring that everyone can be a part of Durham’s Cricket World Cup fever.”
The fanzone will be open on Friday 28 June from 10am to 7.45pm for Sri Lanka v South Africa from Chester-le-Street.
On Saturday 29 June it will be open from 10am to potentially 10.45pm, with fans able to enjoy Pakistan vs Afghanistan and the mouth-watering clash between New Zealand and Australia.
Finally on Sunday 30 June, the fanzone will be open for England vs India, from 10am to 7.45pm.
Anyone visiting the fanzone is advised they are not allowed to bring alcohol although it will be served once inside. No glass, large flags, chairs or portable furniture will be allowed into the area.
As well as Sri Lanka vs South Africa on Friday 28 June, The Riverside is also hosting Sri Lanka vs the West Indies on Monday 1 July and England’s clash with New Zealand on Wednesday 3 July.