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Lily Allen up for Ivor Novello gong

Lily Allen will battle it out with a group of virtual unknowns championed on Twitter by Stephen Fry for a top songwriting award.

Patch William - formed by four ex-Bristol University students - are nominated for 'best song musically and lyrically' at this year's Ivor Novello Awards for their song The Last Bus.

Lily was nominated for her hit The Fear.

Patch William said: "We are a relatively unknown band on an independent label. When we recently signed with Chrysalis Music, we looked starry-eyed at the two Ivor Novello statues at the entrance. Not in our wildest dreams did we imagine that we'd be nominated."

Also up for the title is Save It For Someone Who Cares by The Leisure Society, who last year were nominated for the same prize as unpublished musicians, while songwriter/guitarist Nick Hemming worked in a warehouse.

Another category sees a cult - but celebrated - concept album about cricket by erstwhile Divine Comedy star Neil Hannon.

The Duckworth Lewis Method - named after a controversial method for calculating cricket scores - was released last year by Hannon and Pugwash frontman Thomas Walsh, and faces Paolo Nutini's Sunny Side Up and Dizzee Rascal's Tongue N'Cheek on the album shortlist.

Nominees for the best contemporary song category, one of the key awards, are Dizzee Rascal with chart-topping festival favourite Bonkers, La Roux's In For The Kill and Daniel by Bat For Lashes.

The 55th annual awards will be handed out at London's Grosvenor House Hotel on May 20.