“Explosive Summer Entertainment” is how the Derbyshire Falcons website describes the forthcoming NatWestT20 campaign. And when they arrive at the 3aaa County Ground in Derby the Birmingham Bears will aim to be on the right side of all the fours and six– at the expense of an old friend!

"The Derby spectators have seen for themselves the T20 class of Ian Bell and Chris Woakes."

Brian Halford, Club Journalist

Graeme ‘Pop’ Welch is a Bears legend, having had a major input into their trophy-winning sides as a player in the late 20th century and a coach in the early 21st. Now elite performance director at Derby, Pop will be hoping to orchestrate an evening of heavy punishment for a Bears bowling unit he knows so well and which respects him so greatly.

The Falcons will at least be grateful that the 2016 fixture-list has spared them a visit to Edgbaston Stadium. Last season they were on the receiving end there of a breathtaking Brendon McCullum onslaught – an unbeaten 158 from 64 balls with 11 sixes and 13 fours. The Kiwi blasted his way to 100 from just 42 balls to lift the Bears to their highest ever T20 total – 242.

There will be no McCullum this time but the Bears have plenty of other potential match-winners. The Derby spectators have seen for themselves the T20 class of Ian Bell and Chris Woakes. In 2010, Woakes bowled his fours overs for just nine runs there while Bell composed a classy 66 on a tricky pitch.


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