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January 25, 2007
England's Ashes drubbing appears to have done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of their home supporters, certainly not in the North-East. With five months to go until the fourth and final Test against West Indies in June, all tickets for the Saturday of the match at the Riverside have been sold out.
"There is undoubtedly a real sense of excitement about the England side returning to the North-East," said Gordon Hollins, Durham County Cricket Club's commercial manager. "It will be the biggest sporting event ever staged in the region."
Durham's ground at Chester-le-Street has been hosting one-day internationals since the 1999 World Cup, and has staged two Tests since 2003, against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. The visit of a marquee team such as West Indies, however, has created another level of interest.
"Cricket is always passionately supported in the region and it is no surprise that day two has already sold out," added Hollins, "especially with the likelihood of three of our players being included in the England squad." Those players are Paul Collingwood, Steve Harmison and Liam Plunkett.
Tickets for day one, three and four are still available, with prices starting at £20 for adults and £10 for under 16s. "I would encourage anyone planning to come along to the match to book their tickets as soon as possible," said Hollins, "to ensure they get the best possible seats." The match gets underway on June 15.
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