BARNARD CASTLE CC are preparing for the ‘biggest day’ in their history on Sunday when they take on Tunbridge Wells in the ECB National Club Twenty20 Cup final at Wantage Road, the home of Northamptonshire Cricket Club.

Barney have become the first club from the Darlington Building Society NYSD ECB Premier League to reach the prestigious national final.

Their route to the final has taken them past a number of leading club sides including Alderley Edge, Westhoughton, South Northumberland, Richmondshire and Marton.

Around 150 supporters are expected to accompany the team on the trip to Northampton, with Sunday’s final due to start at 2.45pm.

“There is no doubt that this is the biggest game in our club’s history and the squad will travel down midday on Saturday,” said Barnard Castle skipper James Quinn. “Then we will be looking to have a training session at Northants in the afternoon, before sitting down for an evening dinner at the Hilton Hotel, kindly covered by the ECB.”

Barnard Castle finished second in this season’s NYSD League Premier Division, 33 points adrift of champions Richmondshire, but their progress to the National Club final has more than compensated for their failure to wrest the league crown from their local rivals.

“This season has been a squad effort,” added Quinn. “Everyone has chipped in throughout the season, particularly the club professionals Karl Carver and Samarth Seth, who have led the way in the national rounds with bat and ball respectively.

“Overseas Indian professional Seth returned back to Delhi two weeks ago, but we are delighted he has had approval from his Delhi camp that he can travel back over for the final, so Seth will fly in on Saturday.

“The squad and the club can’t wait for this weekend. For the squad, the amount of hard work gone into training and competing on all fronts in league, cup and national competitions this season has been truly exhausting, but the lads are raring to go for one final push to write our names in our club’s history books.

“We will enjoy the occasion, but we’ll be heading to Northants looking to take the game to Tunbridge Wells, playing our positive brand of cricket, and if we play our best cricket on the day, we’ll have a great chance of bringing the trophy home.

“For our supporters - we are expecting around 150 to make the trip down south – they have been with us all the way, some of them have played a huge role over past years with the junior section, which has led to our squad having seven or eight homegrown players, which is what club cricket is all about - we know we’ll have them cheering us on every ball on Sunday.”

Barney’s opponents, Tunbridge Wells, are an amateur club based in Kent, founded all the way back in 1782. They finished their league season in third position after a tough run-in that saw them lose their final two matches to the champions, Bexley, and runners-up, Sandwich Town.

On paper, it looks like a game between two evenly-matched teams, but whatever happens on Sunday, everyone associated with Barnard Castle is determined to enjoy the experience.

“We are absolutely delighted to be there for the occasion and have earned the right to be there,” said Barney club secretary Stephen Brenkley. “For a small-town club like us, it’s a phenomenal achievement.

"Over the last 15 years, we have revamped the club from top to bottom, and the current squad features lots of home-grown players, who are reaching their prime.

“We have a full squad available for the game.”