Twenty20 still attracts crowds
World Cup football might be dominating the sporting agenda - but there seems no sign of Twenty20 cricket losing its sparkle.
Certainly not at Glamorgan where ticket sales are up on this time last year with the Somerset game on June 30 almost 50% sold already.
Glamorgan open their 2006 Twenty20 campaign against Worcestershire at Sophia Gardens on Tuesday - the first of eight group matches which will see Robert Croft's men trying to repeat their Finals Day place of 2004.
Away from the cricket there will be the usual high jinks with an Army inflatable assault course and a giant bouncy castle providing plenty of fun for the entire family.
For those, too, who can't quite kick the football habit there will also be an inflatable penalty shoot-out game for the four Cardiff ties.
"I must admit we did wonder how we'd get on against the football," said Glamorgan chief executive Mike Fatkin, mindful this is the first time that Twenty20 cricket has clashed with a football World Cup.
"But so far the interest has been greater than ever before. People seem to like the concept and it helps that the group stage of the competition is played in a three-week block with no other cricket.
"Some people would like to see everyone play each other home and away (which would mean two extra games), but I think we've got the format about right.
"Having four home and four away games last season was up from the two previous years. We responded to people wanting more Twenty20 cricket."
Unlike last summer when Twenty20 made its debut at Swansea - where 4,500 turned up for the Warwickshire game - Glamorgan will stage their four home ties in Cardiff.
Each game will be played under floodlights with a 7pm start and Glamorgan are hopeful that, given good weather, ticket sales will near the ground capacity mark of 6,500.
"We sold out the first home match against Somerset last year, which was played under lights, but the other two games at Cardiff were rain-affected," said Fatkin.
"People like 7pm starts as it means they don't have to rush to the ground from work.
"I'm not sure how it's going to work out in the international arena, but, as far as a domestic competition goes, it definitely works.
"The important thing is we don't tinker with it too much because people like the competition as it is."
Glamorgan have introduced £40 adult and £20 junior tickets covering the four home games and several novel ideas to keep everyone entertained.
Mountain bikes will be among catching competition prizes and, with the exception of next week's Worcestershire game, coaching sessions will be held in the National Cricket Centre from 5.20pm-6pm.
There will also be the Brains catch for a crate competition where any member of the crowd catching a six will win a crate of Brains SA.
"These are fun things for the spectators and I think people enjoy it.
"It's great to see so many young faces at cricket enjoying the carnival atmosphere.
"But people want to enjoy a fast and furious game of cricket and it's important that the side issues do not distract from the event."
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