Champions League plans rule out club dinner

Leicestershire have cancelled their end-of-season awards dinner to allow the team to make an early departure for the Champions League qualifying tournament.

The dinner was due to be held in the Charles Palmer Suite at Grace Road on September 15, the evening of the last day of the final County Championship match of the season.

But Leicestershire now intend to fly out to India at the earliest possible opportunity to give their players time to prepare for the Champions League event so the dinner has been cancelled.

Leicestershire secured their place in the Champions League qualifiers by reaching the final of the Friends Life t20 last weekend and they went on to win their first title in five years by beating Somerset by 18 runs in the final.

Leicestershire have been drawn in the same qualifying group as Trinidad & Tobago and Sri Lankan side Ruhunu. They play Trinidad & Tobago on September 20 and Ruhunu the following day. Three sides from the qualifying tournament progress to the Champions League proper.

The Champions League will be the last involvement for Leicestershire wicketkeeper Paul Nixon before he retires and will also see a final appearance for the county by Nottinghamshire-bound left-arm seamer Harry Gurney.

Gurney missed t20 finals day at Edgbaston because of a side strain suffered in the Clydesdale Bank 40 defeat by Surrey but he is confident of being fit for the trip to Hyderabad.

“Everything is going according to plan,” he said. “I’m looking forward to going out to India and helping the side get as far as we can. It would be a dream to go out on a high and leave Leicestershire as world Twenty20 champions. That would be amazing for everybody at the club.”

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