|Royal London One-Day Cup Final: Somerset v Hampshire|
|Venue: Lord’s Date: Saturday 25 May Start time: 11:00 BST|
|Coverage: In-play highlights & text commentary on the BBC Sport website & app; commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra & BBC local radio (uninterrupted on BBC Sport website & app)|
It might be a long while before Lord’s witnesses another county knockout final if reports of next season’s expected fixture schedule prove correct.
The ECB revealed in February that from 2020 onwards, in a bid to accommodate their new competition The Hundred, the One-Day Cup final would move from Lord’s to Trent Bridge, Nottingham.
But if this really is the last Lord’s final, Hampshire and Somerset – currently occupying the top two positions in the County Championship – are both determined it should be a showstopper.
One-Day Cup holders Hampshire are looking to retain their trophy and enjoy an eighth successful day out in nine visits to Lord’s, against a Somerset side who have won only one final since the great days of Viv Richards, Joel Garner and Ian Botham ended three decades ago.
Hampshire also comfortably beat Somerset in the group stages, but they have been robbed of two of last year’s winning side. Captain James Vince and Liam Dawson, both in England’s World Cup squad, have stayed behind in Southampton for a warm-up friendly against Australia instead.
If that brings divided loyalties for a few Hampshire supporters, who would like to see Vince and Dawson play for England on their home ground, Somerset fans will head up from Taunton in large numbers for their first visit to Lord’s in eight years.
The last domestic final at the home of cricket is the first to be played in May but, judging by the fine crowd that turned up to watch Hampshire play Kent on 30 June last year, this one promises to be well attended too.
Pace the ace for Hampshire?
Hampshire have been hard to stop with both red ball and white ball this season, losing just once across both competitions. Key to that success is their pair of former international fast bowlers, South African Kyle Abbott and West Indian Fidel Edwards.
Neither played in last year’s final – and they are keen to make up for lost time.
“This is my first final at Lord’s, and first for Hampshire,” Abbott, 31, told BBC Radio Solent. “Last year it was tough, having to watch every ball from the balcony.
“I was ruled out right from the start with an ankle injury, so I was reconciled to it and even had time to sit in the commentary box with Kevan James.
“But, this time, we’ve had an almost faultless campaign, other than a glitch against Essex. We’ve got a lot going for us and the players have been there a few more times than Somerset, which might just give us the edge.”
Abbott’s only previous final in List A cricket was over nine years ago in South Africa, in a 12-a-side day/night 40-over game, beaten by a side containing the likes of Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince, Colin Ingram, Mark Boucher, Wayne Parnell and Makhaya Ntini.
“I’ve not played in too many finals,” he added. “I might have to draw more from my experience in international cricket. But I’ve played at Lord’s for Middlesex in T20 matches so I’ve got enough experience with the slope.”
By contrast, 37-year-old Edwards has had some great individual moments at Lord’s – in all three formats of the game.
He took 5-45 against England in an ODI in 2007, and 6-92 in the second Test against England in 2009, but ended on the losing side each time, before a spell of 3-24 in a World T20 group win over India a month later.
“I’ve had a good couple of matches there,” he told BBC Radio Solent. “Lord’s has been good to me. If I can get it reverse swinging, I might put on another show.
“The guys keep telling I’m getting pretty old and I should stop soon but I’m still enjoying it. And I prefer it in front of a big crowd.”
‘On our day we are unbeatable’
Since their golden age in the late 1970s and 1980s, when they won five one-day trophies in as many seasons, success has been sporadic for Somerset.
So many moments of semi-final heartbreak in 20-over, 40-over and 50-over cricket, and still no County Championship triumph.
Since that last Lord’s success in 2001, the only silverware has been a solitary Twenty20 Cup triumph in 2005.
But director of cricket Andy Hurry believes they are capable of making club history by doing the treble – 25 years on from Warwickshire becoming the first and only county to do it.
“We are not going to see a final at Lord’s for a number of years and I see every prospect of this match being full of excitement and a fitting finale,” he said.
“Our aspirations are to win all three competitions. Once you win the first trophy you can look to build on that. And on our day we are unbeatable.”
Somerset showed that with their destructive battling in both the play-off and semi-final when, away from home on both occasions, they twice set a target of 338 to win and won comfortably each time, by 147 runs against Worcestershire and 115 runs against Nottinghamshire.
“Even if we are close to being at our best at Lord’s, it’s going to be a really exciting game,” Hurry added. “We are capable of putting any opponents under significant pressure.
“I am convinced that any team who draws us in a knockout competition fears us and I’m sure Hampshire will be feeling that way, even though they are a very good side themselves.
“We didn’t perform to our best when we last met. There was a little period during the group fixtures when we dropped below the high standards we set with bat and ball. Since the Hampshire match, we have turned that around.
“We will take a terrific following to Lord’s. It’s nice to be able to give our members and supporters the chance to visit the home of cricket for a major occasion.”
This year’s finalists
- Will be seeking an eighth Lord’s knockout final win in nine attempts. It took the county 25 years to reach their first Lord’s final, but they made up for lost time by beating Derbyshire in the 1988 Benson & Hedges Cup.
- Have since added a NatWest Trophy win (1991), another B&H Cup (1992), a Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy (2005), the Friends Provident Trophy (2009), the Clydesdale Bank 40 (2012) and the Royal London One-Day Cup in 2018, giving them the record for winning the most differently named trophies.
- Won seven games out of eight at the group stage, including a seven-wicket victory at Taunton on 5 May, which sealed top spot and a home semi-final, which they won by four wickets with an over to spare against Lancashire.
- Suffered their only group defeat against Essex at Chelmsford, when they ran into an in-form Ravi Bopara.
- Team news: Spinner Mason Crane was called up for this week’s game against Notts when Dawson was selected for England’s World Cup squad and can expect to continue. The other question is who replaces captain Vince. New overseas signing Ajinkya Rahane is not eligible to play.
- Have appeared in more Lord’s finals – 11 to Hampshire’s eight. But they have won only five times – four back in their Botham-Richards-Garner era, from 1979 to 1983. Their only win since was a 41-run victory over Leicestershire in the first C&G Trophy final in 2001.
- Have not been in a final since successive CB40 defeats in 2010 and 2011, when a young Jos Buttler clobbered his first one-day half-century at Lord’s in a five-wicket defeat by Surrey. The day-night game was not fondly remembered by Somerset fans who had to leave early to catch their train connections home.
- Won their first four One-Day Cup group games this year, before losing three in a row, including the defeat by Hampshire. They then won three times in six days to reach Lord’s – their final group win against Surrey at Taunton, followed by away wins in the play-off at New Road and the semi-final at Trent Bridge.
- Team news: Quarter-final hero Tom Banton suffered a back spasm while batting for the second XI on Tuesday, but the young one-day opener/wicketkeeper has reported significant improvement and is hopeful of being fit.
From 1963 to 2019: the 88 county finals at Lord’s
- Gillette Cup (1963-1980): 18
- Benson & Hedges Cup (1972-2002): 31
- Natwest Trophy (1981-2000): 20
- Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy (2001-2006): 6
- Friends Provident Trophy (2007-2009): 3
- CB40/YB40 (2010-13): 4
- One-Day Cup (2014-19): 6
- Lancashire have enjoyed the most Lord’s one-day final victories – 11 in 17 visits. Three successive Gillette Cup wins (1970-72), another in 1975, four Benson & Hedges Cup wins (1984, 1990, 1995 and 1996) and three Natwest Trophy triumphs (1990, 1996 and 1998).
- Durham have the best winning percentage in Lord’s finals. They have only reached two – but won both, in the 2007 Friends Provident Trophy and the 2014 Royal London One-Day Cup.
- Gloucestershire, of the other more frequent visitors, have triumphed on nine of their 10 visits, including four in a row when they won both the Benson & Hedges Cup and the Natwest Trophy in 1999 and 2000.
- Glamorgan have a 100% losing record at the home of English cricket. Mike Llewellyn might have entered cricketing folklore by lifting a six over the Lord’s pavilion against Middlesex in the 1977 Gillette Cup final, but they still lost, as they did to Gloucestershire in the 2000 Benson & Hedges Cup and Nottinghamshire in the 2013 Yorkshire Bank 40.
- Warwickshire and Kent jointly hold the record for the most Lord’s final defeats: 10 each. But the Bears have at least won nine times too. They hold the record for the most Lord’s finals (19), whereas Kent have won only five of their 15 visits, most recently against Hampshire a year ago. Worcestershire are not far behind, having lost on nine of their 11 visits.