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By the title of today’s blog post you may struggle to comprehend the idea of a “cricket marathon”, and to be honest I was the same. Two words that you would not expect to be in the same sentence, let alone be put into practice, has actually emerged into a challenging, exhilarating fundraising event.

First, let us get back to the basics of how this event originated. It was the idea of the Loughborough Staff University Staff CC to break the current Cricket Marathon World Record, which stands at 105 hours of continuous cricket. The aim is to play 150 hours of cricket continuously across 7 days (24th-30th June), with the previous record to be broken at approximately 19.02pm on Thursday 29th June. But, why are these people putting themselves to the test?

The motivation

Well, not only will the participants receive the great pleasure from attempting to break a World Record, but also the event itself is for a very worthy cause. Harley Staples Cancer Trust, set up in 2009, is a charity that is currently raising money to build a holiday home for young cancer patients and their families who are suffering from Leukaemia or other forms of cancer, known as “Harley’s House”. The Harley Staples Cancer Trust have already raised over £200,000 for the £500,000 holiday home, hence why the Cricket Marathon World Record attempt are supporting this worthwhile and commendable charity.

Why attend?

So, if the fundraising element isn’t evidence enough of how great this event will be, then how about this. Spanning across the whole event, several models will be attending and standing as celebrity umpires, with celebrity names expressing an interest to participate in the actual event, such as Natalie Pinkham (TV presenter) and Andy Zaltzman (comedian/author). Additional entertainment will also be available, including a cricket fair, Kwik cricket matches and a beer tent throughout the week, so there really is something for everyone.

Further information

Further events will be taking place in accordance with this Cricket World Marathon attempt. Two fundraising dinners have been arranged on Saturday 23rd June and Saturday 7th July, which will be attended by England and Leicestershire greats, Matthew Hoggard and Paul Nixon; the former is the Harley Staples Cancer Trust patron. There is also a chance to win a weekend in a Mercedes SLK, all the details of this, and tickets for the aforementioned dinners can be obtained via contacting the event organiser, Chris Hughes (see details below).

The details

Where – Loughborough College, Rubber Crumb (Radmoor Road, Loughborough, Leics. LE11 3BT)

When – 24th-30th June 2012 (commencing at 10:01am following a 1 minute silence for Tom Maynard)

More informationwww.cricketmarathon.co.uk

Donate – www.harleystaples.co.uk

ContactEmail: cricketmarathon@gmail.com Phone: 07915088521

When I was offered the opportunity to write a blog concerning this fundraising event, I did not hesitate to give it coverage as not only does it benefit the event itself, but it is also raising awareness and much needed support for a remarkable charity. It is open to anyone, so if possible make your way down to Loughborough over the week, and even if you can’t make the specific dates then head over to the website to see the live feed of the event as it happens! With details still being confirmed over days and times of various professional cricketers and celebrities, stay tuned, as I will keep you updated as the event draws closer. Lots of luck to those who are participating, and let’s see a World Record broken!

(Find Loughborough Staff University Staff CC on Twitter @lufbracricket)

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Well, what a long time since my last post! Sorry about that, but at this time of year revision, and revision alone becomes your life, well okay that may be a slight exaggeration. Finding time to fit in a blog post has been hard, but today I have dedicated my time to give you a quick review of how the Championship is looking so far in 2012.

Both the Division 1 and Division 2 tables are shaping up nicely, what has been witnessed though, is that nearly every county game to date this season has been thwarted by rain, leaving many drawn games appearing in the table. This is the reason I want to allocate to Durham for so far residing at the bottom of Division 1, I can’t help but feel this is not the case however, take Somerset for example, in the same position as Durham (in terms of drawn games) but they remain in 4th, having taken 9 more bowling points. If I am honest, I did not expect Durham to have fared so badly this season, a crop of younger players, namely Borthwick and Stokes along with the experience of Benkenstein, Collingwood and Di Venuto highlights the strength of their side. Although, it is only early days with 11 games still left to play, I am sure they can pull something out of the bag, the Championship title I fear will not be one of them though.

Nonetheless, those who are in contention for the title are clearly making their mark in the Championship, as Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire have a clear lead at the top. Although Notts currently have 78 points, Warwickshire are proving to be the ones to beat, just 7 points behind the 2010 Champions the Bears have played 2 less games and look set to continue their great form. Both bowling and batting units have impressed for the Bears this season, and after narrowly missing out on the title last year to Lancashire, I am going to say that Warwickshire look like they could come home with the silverware in 2012… and no it isn’t just because I am a huge Bears fan, well okay, maybe to some extent!

Also, looking towards who is in with a chance of promotion this season, we have the Division 2 teams. Well, one of last year’s relegation sides, Yorkshire, are proving why fans were extremely disappointed with moving down into Division 2 after last season’s disappointing performance. Currently joint at the top of the table with Derbyshire, both sides have won 2 of their 5 games, leaving them in a comfortable position with a lead of 9 points. It is surprising to see Yorkshire’s transformation in just a short space of time, but with the likes of Sayers, Gale and Ballance in the batting line up, Yorkshire have been impressive. Along with England Lions players, Root and Bairstow, the latter today selected for the senior side for the West Indies Test at Lord’s, Yorkshire look to have a promising season. Promotion is certainly their main goal, as it is for Hampshire, but as of yet Derby, Yorkshire and Kent are all in contention as they near the halfway stage.

At the other end of the scale, we have Glamorgan who are yet to win a game this season. With just 17 points secured from 5 games, it’s the batting that is letting this Welsh side down. There is no disputing that their bowlers are making the breakthroughs, but having not yet surpassed the 200 mark in any match, it is the lack of runs, which is causing Glamorgan a serious problem. Any chances of promotion look unlikely this year unless a serious turn of events occur, all Glamorgan can really do is improve their position in the table, as Leicestershire who remained at the bottom of the table in 2011 are already a clear 18 points ahead.

With the CB40 competition also underway, it won’t be long until the cricket season is in full flow without any weather-affected games, fingers crossed! The Championship gets back underway on Wednesday, only to be followed on Thursday for what we have been waiting for since April, the return of English Test cricket. Taking on the West Indies at Lord’s kick-starts England’s 2012 summer, let’s hope for some fantastic performances and results… until then that’s me done :)

Photo Credit: Getty Images (espncricinfo.com)

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Three days left and counting until the 2012 County season finally gets under way! This moment has been long awaited since September last year, and we can now breathe a sigh of relief as the nights are getting lighter, welcoming six full months of cricket. With 18 counties fighting for supremacy in the LVCC Championship format in their respective division, we also welcome the delights of the CB40 and T20 competitions. Here is how the Championship divisions currently stand; with Hampshire and Yorkshire relegated last season, Division 1 makes way for newly promoted Surrey and Middlesex –

Division 1:

Durham, Lancashire, Middlesex, Nottinghamshire, Somerset, Surrey, Sussex, Warwickshire, Worcestershire

Division 2:

Derby, Essex, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Kent, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Yorkshire

 

With such a vast array of talent on show, each county game provides plenty of entertainment. Still, all eyes will undoubtedly be on last year’s competition winners:

 

LVCC Division 1 – Lancashire

LVCC Division 2 – Middlesex

CB40 – Surrey Lions

T20 – Leicestershire Foxes

 

However, here are my top 5 teams for 2012, with a preview of how their season may fair, along with the young talent to look out for…

 

  • Leicestershire – Not at their best in the Championship, Leicestershire were at the bottom of the Division 2 table last year, only winning one of their sixteen games. Their luck didn’t change even in the 40-over competition, coming in 6th out of 7th with 6 points compared to Surrey’s 21. So why are they appearing in my top 5? Take a look at their achievements in the T20 format, champions once again; they prove they have what it takes to go all the way. Losing James Taylor and Harry Gurney to Nottinghamshire, the Foxes will be without two crucial players, but this time year they will have to prove their worth in the Championship.

Young player to watch: Nathan Buck – Selected for the England Lions and the EPP (England Performance Programme) in the winter, Buck will be vital for Leicester this year, providing them with a quality quick bowler.

  • Nottinghamshire – A mediocre performance in the LVCC in 2011, after becoming champions the previous year proved to be disappointing for the Outlaws. Their limited over performances it would have to be said were their highlights, 2nd in the table in their CB40 group, and reaching the quarterfinals of the T20. They will certainly be looking to improve across all formats in 2012, and signing Taylor, Gurney and Michael Lumb (Hampshire), they definitely have the talent to do so. A formidable batting line up for Notts, they may just be the team to beat in at least one format this year.

Young player to watch: James Taylor – Tipped to be one day the number 6 for England in the Test arena, Taylor is currently captaining the England Lions. A great young talent, I can’t wait to see what he will offer the Outlaws, after his move from the Foxes.

  • Somerset – Also seeming to be the runners-up in each competition, Somerset once again failed to claim any silverware in the 2011 season, and came just 4th in the Championship despite having the leading run-scorer in Trescothick, with 1673 runs. Will they ever be able to cross the line, and win a final? We will just have to wait and see, but with the power hitters and death bowlers, it is hard to pinpoint where they are going wrong. I wonder if it will be Somerset’s season this year.

Young player to watch: Jos Buttler – It had to be Jos for me, a wonderful talent and a supreme striker of the ball, Jos has already starred in the senior England side. He will surely play his part for Somerset and for England in 2012.

  • Warwickshire – Narrowly missing out on the LVCC title to Lancashire, Warwickshire will want nothing more than going one-step further to claim the Championship. Another point Warwickshire will be keen to prove is that of their limited over performance, CB40 winners in 2010 the Bears came 5th last year, whilst they were second from the bottom in the T20 table, which was more than disappointing. An all-round improvement is hopefully what we will see, and some silverware would be rather nice too.

Young player to watch: Chris Woakes – Yes, unfortunately for the Bears Woakes suffered an injury over on the Bears pre-season tour in Barbados, which means he’ll miss the start of the season. However, I believe he will definitely feature greatly for the Bears, a fantastic talent.

  • Yorkshire – Relegated into the 2nd Division after a poor season in the Championship, Yorkshire also failed to get anywhere within the limited over formats. The reason they have featured in my top 5 for 2012 is due to the fact that they had a great pre-season tour in Barbados, winning the T20 cup and beating the Bears in the process. Looking impressive over in the Caribbean I have a feeling that this Yorkshire side can achieve something this year. Their main goal will be for sure to get back into the top division of the Championship, but they may also show off their talent in the CB40 or T20 also.

Young player to watch: Joe Root – There is some great young talent over at Yorkshire, but Root I feel will play an important role, after his first full and successful season in 2011. After the experience gained from the Lions, Root I feel will be a stand out performer this year.

 

So there are my teams to look out for, and for those of you who are Lancashire fans, don’t worry I think they too will have a great season. They can’t improve on their Championship form, the shorter formats will be their priority this year, and Simon Kerrigan is the one to watch, especially after his turn with the Lions these past 12 months! It must be said that I am excited for what is to come this season, there is some great talent out there, and with some of the scheduled overseas players, it will be a fantastic year for cricket. Also, if the weather forecasts are anything to go by with snow predicted, the season may even be delayed – I sure hope it isn’t, our wait has long been enough… roll on April 5th!

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Part 2 is finally here, it took a bit longer than expected but then it should theoretically be better shouldn’t it? I hope I’ve done the cricket season justice, and today’s look back at the summer assesses some of the best performances across the county scene in particular, as well as some of the key facts that have really made this year what it was.

So first up we had the LV County Championship, but who were the outstanding players…

  • Leading run scorer (Division 1) – Trescothick 1673
  • Leading run scorer (Division 2) – De Bruyn 1383
  • Leading wicket taker (Division 1) – Richardson 73
  • Leading wicket taker (Division 2) – Masters 93

Ahh Trescothick, the Somerset batsmen who can only be loved by every cricket supporter across the country, we all just want him to do great, well I do anyway; he topped Division 1 this year after countless superb performances year-round. Then we have Richardson, who outdid the rest to lie top of the wicket tables, after nearly ending his career this year’s performance truly showed off his abilities.

One moment that stood out to me – Carberry and McKenzie’s 2nd highest partnership for the 3rd wicket. A mammoth 523 runs were amassed by these two against Yorkshire in August, Carberry with an amazing 300* and McKenzie with 273. A great feat by Hampshire, who were unfortunately relegated into Division two as they failed to progress further in the competition.

The Clydesdale Bank 40 was next up, and there were a variety of great performances…

  • Leading run scorer – Nash 649
  • Leading wicket taker – Dernbach 23

Chris Nash took the batting accolade this year in the 40 over competition; in fact it was two Sussex boys, Nash and Joyce, taking first and second place. But it was Nash who was miles ahead with a stack of runs to keep him happy over the winter. Newfound England star Dernbach appears this year in the tables, as he has been bowling superb deliveries not just in the CB40 but in International ODI’s as well. One for England to keep hold of I feel.

One moment that stood out to me – Jonny Bairstow’s maiden one-day hundred against Middlesex, young Bairstow took Yorkshire to a wonderful 275 with a magnificent 114 off just 87 balls. This innings was Bairstow’s 2nd century in the space of a week; hitting 109 not out for the England Lions against Sri Lanka A in a four-day game. This surely was the pivotal moment that helped him seize his International debut this August, and has done nothing but progress since his call-up.

Then lastly the Friends Life Twenty20, which was brimming with brilliance…

  • Leading run scorer – McDonald 584
  • Leading wicket taker – Philips 26

So McDonald tops the table where runs are concerned, and what a great season he had in the T20 competition. With wickets in hand also, the Foxes overseas player had a fantastic year with the bat and it was truly great to see. Philips was the bowler to have in your team in T20 this year, with 26 wickets in hand. A great season overall this year, so this man surely has the skill. 

One moment that stood out to me – Abdul Razzaq’s amazing innings against Lancashire in a group game this July, he hit five sixes on his way to 62 not out of just 30 balls. After Cobb was dismissed for 0 off the first ball, Leicestershire could not really recover and looked to be beaten comprehensively. With a seemingly unbeatable total the Foxes needed 62 from four overs, but with Razzaq’s power-hitting he managed to take them over the line, also helping them towards their quarter-final place.

So there you have it, one concise overlook of the summer with all the key bits included!

 

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Well I decided to start off with my personal favourite moments of the summer; there have been some absolutely great games, great performances, and great players to watch this year so I have had to carefully select what I feel to be the crème de la crème.

My top five moments of the International summer

  1. England becoming World Number One in Tests (obviously)
  2. Whitewashing India 4-0
  3. Stuart Broad’s hat trick at Trent Bridge along with his match saving innings
  4. Tim Bresnan having Sachin Tendulkar LBW for 91
  5. England’s prolific batting and wicket taking in general – they have all been fantastic

Well as I’ve already said, how can England becoming World Number One not be top of the list? England’s will to succeed from the outset of the Ashes last year has propelled them to become a force to be reckoned with, already T20 Champions, it has shown how far they can actually go. So to see them crowned Number One in Tests in glorious style by whitewashing the Indians was fantastic.

Then we have that test at Trent Bridge, on his home patch Stuart Broad almost saved the game single-handedly with an incredible hat-trick, along with scores of 64 and 44. Looking for the first time like they could win a test, India had the advantage over England this was before they realised the might of Broad back at full form.

I also had to include Tim Bresnan’s wicket, it was the pivotal moment of the game as several chances were denied to have Tendulkar out, and I would have loved him to have got a 100 hundreds just not against this all powerful England side.

My top five moments of the County Season

  1. The Leicestershire Foxes being crowned T20 Champions
  2. Warwickshire Bears finishing second in the Championship when they were nearly relegated last year
  3. Supporting two great teams, as well as being privileged enough to see them both play
  4. James Taylor having such a prolific career so far that he was chosen to captain the England Lions, as well as an England call up
  5. The climax of the County season, this year has been amazing roll on next year

So yep my top moment of the County calendar was the T20 trophy going to the Foxes. Classed as the ‘underdogs’ right from the quarter-finals it was great to see them comeback in such amazing fashion, they had it all, the class opening pair, the power-hitters as well as the death bowlers and fantastic fielders.

Moving on we have the Bears, an up and down summer in terms of not having their best limited overs season, they turned their Championship hopes around from last year and they almost, just almost, clinched the title. From nearly being relegated into Division 2 last year it was a delight to see them back to full force and relishing their return to form in the four-day game.

Then we have James Taylor, I didn’t really want to pick out one player, but at such a young age Taylor has already had a fantastic career with 1,000 first class runs for the third successive year. His efforts were finally rewarded this year with the captaincy of the England Lions, not only this but James was soon called-up to the England set up, making his debut against Ireland earlier this year.

So there you have it, my top moments of the whole summer, or more ramblings I should say. Let me know what you have most enjoyed about this cricketing summer, as there were so many great times I couldn’t include, please leave your comments below, I will look forward to them. Check back soon for part 2.

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So there it is, the Surrey Lions after a fantastic limited overs campaign have finally got their hands on some silverware after 8 years. Having only suffered one loss and one no result in the whole of the CB40 competition, Surrey really were the team to beat, and after promotion to Division 1 on Thursday their team couldn’t be in a better place.

It was Somerset who won the toss and at the time it looked a good toss to win as they elected to bat, but from the start Somerset seemed to be suffering and they never really recovered. Trescothick looked uneasy after recovering from injury and was soon stumped off the bowling of Spriegel with some rather quick work by Davies. Three overs later and fellow opener Kieswetter goes for 16 and with a strike-rate of 69.56, well let’s just say he wasn’t at his best. With Trego and Compton at the crease the partnership started well, with Trego hitting the boundary rope with style. Still this wasn’t enough to defy the variety of Dernbach, giving a top-edge to Ansari at fine-leg, and Somerset were in just a little hot water at 56-3… but it was to go further downhill as Hildreth departed in only the 14th over for a mere three to the experienced Schofield.

Spin was proving to be the driving force, at 79-5 Somerset were in complete disarray. Somerset soon slumped to 146-7… with the vaunted batting line up I couldn’t imagine in a limited overs game that they would be unable to put together a decent score. But fortunately for Somerset Buttler decided he was there to stay with 2 maximums and several fours, and in between the wickets of Thomas and Kartik, his sheer power hitting pulled Somerset over that 200 mark. With the support of Kirby, Buttler remained undefeated on 86 from 72 balls with an innings saving performance that gave his team a score that could be worth defending of 214.

On to Surrey’s innings then… Hamilton-Brown was given an early let off with a dropped catch by Kartik, the latter however soon made up for his mistake when he managed to keep hold of a chance from Kirby to dismiss Davies for 8. Things further looked up for Somerset when two overs later Roy, one of the danger men, was out caught behind also off the bowling of Kirby for a mere 11 to leave Surrey on 35-2 in their first 6 overs. At this point the rain interrupted and reduced the Lions total to 186 in 30 overs. On resumption Maynard was soon the next man to go with a handy 17, but it was the promotion of Schofield that brought around the change.

Schofield and Hamilton-Brown went on the charge and before the wicket of Schofield fell to Thomas, it was Hamilton-Brown who brought up his half-century and looked like the man to take Surrey all the way. But unfortunately with Surrey already on 135-4, they were to be five down two overs later Just as Hamilton-Brown was unluckily run out at the non-striker’s end after De Bruyn had refused a quick single. With 39 runs needed off 7.5 overs he would have wished to have been there at the end, but the way things were it was Spriegel that carried the Lions over the line to victory with back-to-back fours.

What a way to clinch the win for Surrey? The lads were already lined up along the balcony which soon erupted once the game was won. The champagne seemed to be continually flowing, the captain most of all was revelling in the atmosphere and much credit to him as well as the backroom staff who pulled off a great victory.

So the CB40 has now been decided, and that means the county scene is finally over for another year, so congrats to all the winners this year, Lancashire, Middlesex, Leicester and Surrey… let’s see what next year brings!

Photo Credit: ecb.co.uk

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The Foxes are T20 champions! Yes they did it, the Leicestershire Foxes, the underdogs of the competition, claimed the T20 trophy for the third time. Winners are grinners. A common phrase that the Foxes use and one which definitely sums up their mentality and will to succeed. The whole team knew they could do it, I knew they could do it, it was everyone else who had tipped Somerset for the win, but to prove them wrong in such a fashion was… well it was just fantastic! Their faces were a picture, and let’s just say their Tweets said it all. It really has been the highlight of the County Season for me.

So semi number 1 – Leicestershire Foxes v Lancashire Lightning

The rain was a continuous guest during Finals Day, so Leicester managed 132-6 off 18 overs (D/L), and that was after poor Josh Cobb was out first ball edging one to the ‘keeper. How he must have been feeling as he left the field I have no idea but it wasn’t the perfect start for any team. So after Cobb’s early dismissal Lancashire were able to restrict the Foxes to 132, a score that everyone thought was just not enough to get them through to the final. That was before the rain intervened once again leaving Lancs 80 from 11 overs to gain victory, so there we are the last ball of the last over with 7 needed. I covered my eyes with my hands as I was a nervous wreck but knowing that the Foxes were through, but that’s what I thought. Gareth Cross smashed a six off the final delivery levelling the scores, my jaw dropped, they had tied. TIED! What was to happen next? Well it was you call a… wait for it – A One-Over Eliminator. The rules are that each team selects three batsmen and one bowler, once the opposition has two wickets that’s your over finished – simples! By this time I could hardly bring myself to watch, for Lancashire Moore and Croft were to set the total, with Moore hitting a six and a four off the first two balls. But never fear, as Claude Henderson is a special slow left-armer reducing their total to 13 runs finishing with two dot balls. 14 to win, I just said to myself we can do this or more likely, they can do this! Jefferson after a great first innings was promoted to open with Cobb, and as Jeffo took the first delivery he dispatched it for four, with the next being hit straight down the ground. The last ball a four was needed so the rather tall, I say rather he is 6’10”, frame of Jefferson got down on one knee and struck the ball over into the midwicket stand for 6!! The players and the crowds created mad celebrations; I on the other hand was speechless screaming yesss at the top of my voice… I think the whole ground willed on the underdogs – well apart from the Lancashire fans of course. The Foxes had made it to the final but who were they to face?!

Finally semi number 2 – Somerset v Hampshire Royals

A repeat of last year’s wild and bewildering final these two teams were both as eager to get themselves a final place, especially Somerset as they wanted to rid themselves of the bridesmaid tag! But as usual the rain returned in this second semi-final, Hampshire after a stop-start innings racked up 138-4 from 15.5 overs, with a glorious 80 runs off only 42 balls from Afridi. This resulted in Somerset chasing down a target of 95 runs from just 10 overs due to rain, a mammoth task but with their line-up of Trescothick, Kieswetter, Trego, Buttler, Pollard et al, this target was nothing! Or so we may seem, with Kieswetter going early and Pollard and Tresco falling in successive balls to spinner Tahir the target was getting further out of sight. Welcome England’s recent call-up Jos Buttler, at just 20 years of age I thought the pressure would be too much for him but how wrong was I?! Taking on the spinners Buttler hit a blistering 32 from 16 balls with a magnificent strike-rate of 200, Somerset were close to finishing now but as soon as Buttler fell to the pace of Corky the sheer disappointment was evident across his face. He thought he had lost at the final hurdle, and one run was needed off the last ball… Cork however surprisingly ran out Suppiah meaning only one thing, the game was once again tied. A super-over was by the only means necessary to solve such a problem, my excitement levels were now soaring – and as the ECB Facebook page so eloquently put it ‘Super overs are like buses… you hardly ever seen any, then all of a sudden two come along at once!!!’ It was Buttler and Kieswetter that were the two danger men for Somerset, mounting a huge 16 runs from their one over. Along with this Trescothick made what seemed to be a magic decision, to bowl Alfonso Thomas, the bowler who can defy even Afridi and Adams the winning runs. Reducing them to just 5 runs off their eliminator, propelling Somerset to their third T20 final for the third consecutive year but could they claim the title?

The Final!

After a very unproductive day doing nothing but watching cricket it finally came to the time when after winning the toss Somerset took to the field. Cobb departed early once again but not before this time making rather an impact with 18 from 10. So with the batting rearranged for no apparent reason it was Razzaq and Jefferson at the crease, Razzaq didn’t look his best only having a strike-rate of 100 and Pollard was too good for him giving him a caught and bowled chance for 33. Just over an over later Jefferson was continuing his striking from his first innings, Suppiah however soon had him LBW on 35. With a good start under their belt, they soon came to a halt in the middle overs and the Foxes looked worried to as whether they had made the right decision to alter the batting order. With Nixon’s last innings for the Foxes in England over for 4 runs, it was left to young Taylor and McDonald who had a strong 6th wicket partnership, I’m telling you it was odd to see Taylor coming in at number 7 but that’s a final for you. Ending their innings on 145-6 with a final push from Taylor and White I must admit looking once again at Somerset’s line up, I was a tad worried to how well Leicester could defend the runs.

It was a slow start for Trescothick and Kieswetter who were both dismissed in the space of 7 overs, but it was Trego and Hildreth who posed some sort of resistance. So who do the Foxes hand over to but part-time spinner Josh Cobb, the unlikely hero for Leicester along with sub-fielder Matthew Boyce and not forgetting Nico (Paul Nixon)… these three set the game alight, it truly was an astonishing few overs. First up Hildreth who hit into the deep aiming for the boundary rope, only to find Boycey poised for the catch, this breakthrough only brought danger man Pollard to the crease. With one to his name he edged White which allowed Nixon to pull of the catch of the season. It was a one-handed grab seemingly pulled out of the air; he leapt so far I just gasped in utter disbelief. The players and supporters went berserk Taylor and White jumped into his arms, the catch was only made better that it was off the most dangerous man in the T20 competition, in fact it made it all the sweeter, Nixon will always be remembered as a legend but even more so for this stunner of a catch. After the players seemingly stopped their hearts from racing, young Buttler was the next big power hitter to grace the field, at 89-4 there was still a mountain to climb for the Leicestershire Foxes with Somerset trailing by 56 runs!

Cobb was the man to start Somerset’s downfall, Trego the man who topped scored with 35 was the one batsman who had to remain, but deep midwicket was calling him and as soon as the ball left the bat Boyce was there to take the catch for the second time off Cobb. Suppiah was an unlucky man, at the non-strikers end you would think he was safe, but not if that had anything to do with Josh, rapidly fielding the ball off his own bowling he executed a stunning run-out in such a short period of time, it was hard to believe what had just happened. This was two balls later and the belief that the Foxes could actually win this was drawing closer, my heart was beating that little quicker, and the nerves were again kicking in. But this was nothing, you should have seen me when the third time in the match it was c. Boyce b. Cobb and this time it wasn’t just anybody it was Buttler the man who can deny any team victory when they think they have it in the bag, I punched my arm into the air… ‘Oh my God did that just happen? Am I dreaming this?’ Buttler out for 12 with two new batsmen at the crease! The Foxes dreams of winning another Finals Day was becoming more of a reality, but not all was done yet… oh no that was still to come.

Cobb managed to pick up the eighth wicket of the day, and you guessed it, whose hands picked up the catch, yes it was the always reliable sub Boyce… who if you didn’t know once picked up the MOTM award last year as a sub, I know it’s unbelievable isn’t it, it could only happen in cricket! So with eight wickets already down 31 runs were required from only 10 balls, Meschede was Somerset’s last hope and amidst all the hype, the cheering crowds and questionable music, he just couldn’t concentrate. Razzaq cleared him up, with Taylor the shortest man in the side or probably any side :) taking an amazing towering catch. Nine down, four balls, twenty-four runs needed. It was impossible for Somerset to do; the Foxes had victory in their grasp, like Bumble said ‘They’re playing like champions here’…

I sat there as the final delivery was bowled total delight was all I felt, one run was all they managed. Cue the celebrations, the backroom staff charged onto the field (as well as many supporters!) everyone amalgamated into one huge huddle and I cheered so loudly, the feeling was incredible, to have been there would have been fantastic. The atmosphere looked amazing and the players were ecstatic, the fairy tale for Nixon had come true, upon retirement the club he had been with for over 20 years had lifted the most coveted prize in the county scene. As all the formalities were over with, and Cobb received the MOTM for his outstanding performance, it was time for the players to get their hands on the prize and boy did they relish the moment! A lap of honour was given and Nico gave time to his fans, fireworks lit up the sky and the whole ground took in that moment, it looked truly spectacular.

Good Luck to Paul Nixon on retirement he has been a key part of Leicestershire’s success, but for now roll on next summer because I sure can’t wait!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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