HARWICH and Dovercourt Cricket Club are gearing up for a bumper weekend.

First up is tonight’s eagerly-anticipated Bliss charity match, when Essex trio Ryan ten Doeschate, Tim Phillips and Greg Smith will be part of a select XI taking on a Harwich XI at Low Road.

The stars are lending their support to help raise funds for the Bliss charity, which provides vital care for premature babies in the UK.

And in addition to showing off their skills on the pitch, they will be hanging around to sign autographs and pose for pictures.

The club will open its doors at 3pm, with the toss at 5.45pm and then a Twenty20 contest getting under way at 6pm.

Admission is free.

There will be a barbecue throughout the day, as well as stalls, face-painting and family entertainment.

Manningtree-based author Graeme Brooke will be signing copies of his novel, Adventures of a Tractor Boy, which raises cash for the special care baby unit at Colchester General.

There will also be live music from The Deserters and a fund-raising auction, when memorabilia up for grabs includes a signed Ipswich Town shirt, a Chelsea shirt signed by Ryan Bertrand, a golf cap signed by Ryder Cup star Paul Casey and a signed Durham shirt.

Part two of the club’s big weekend is their family day, on Sunday.

The club will be open from 8am, serving bacon rolls, before six teams take part in an annual six-overs-per-side cricket competition at 10.30am.

The Royal will be looking to defend their crown from last year.

As well as the cricket, there will again be an outside bar and barbecue, in addition to a penalty competition and face-painting.

The final should be around 7pm, after which spectators are being encouraged to stay on and watch the football World Cup final.