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Outlaws in bid to beat spitfires and storms

Notts Outlaws made history at their Twenty20 Cup fixture against Kent Spitfires last night - without a ball being bowled.

With the match abandoned due to rain, they became the first county to switch a Twenty20 fixture to a reserve day after being granted permission by the ECB.

The quarter-final match, the winners of which go through to finals day at Edgbaston on August 11, will now be played tonight.

And the club are advising fans who bought tickets in advance that they will still be valid.

The rules of the competition at the start of the 2007 season said a knock-out match should be decided by a bowl-out.

But the ECB agreed to change their stance and allow a reserve day for all four quarter-finals, so long as all eight teams agreed.

It is understood the only objection came from Sussex - who are scheduled to play Yorkshire tomorrow - because they have a fixture with Sri Lanka A on Thursday.

But they eventually consented when the Sri Lankans agreed to move their game back a day to Friday, allowing Sussex their own reserve day.

The decision to postpone last night's game was not made until 4.45pm after a heavy downpour left no chance of play.

By then, a good number of fans had already taken their seats while a host of others were making their way to the gates, only to be told the game was off.

"I was disappointed, but I think it was the right decision because we all want to see a game of cricket," said Helen Williams of West Bridgford.

"At the same time, I think it was a little bit short notice and the decision to postpone the game taken a little bit sooner.

"It is not bad for me because I only live close to the ground but for people who have travelled quite a way in their cars to come to the match, it is not ideal."

But chief executive Derek Brewer said: "We always try to care for our spectators and we apologise to those who have had a wasted journey.

"It is always very difficult in these circumstances. We wanted to leave it as long as possible to give the game every chance to go ahead.

"I think we would have been criticised if we had called it off much earlier and then it had been sunny in the evening."

Brewer was delighted the ECB and other counties had agreed to reserve days, feeling it was the best solution all round.

"It was not the easiest of decisions for the ECB to make, but a sensible one and made with the interests of cricket at heart," he said.

"It was one made purely on a cricketing basis. The last thing the two directors of cricket wanted was a bowl out and that would be a dreadful way to decide such an important game.

"The weather forecast is a bit better today, so we are hoping the supporters will see a game of cricket."

Director of cricket Mick Newell added: "It's disappointing because everyone was ready to play, but there was no chance because of the state of the ground.

"It was the right decision. I think if it is possible, then everyone would prefer a game of cricket to bowling at a set of stump.

"It was a difficult one to get everyone to agree a reserve day because it was not just a decision that involved Notts and Kent, it involved al the other counties as well."

Any spectators unable to attend the game tonight are entitled to exchange their tickets for any other Notts match at Trent Bridge for the rest of the 2007 campaign.

If they cannot do that they will be able to claim a refund. Those arrangements can be made right up until the end of the season.

If the game cannot be played tonight because of bad weather, it will be decided by a bowl out.

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