worcestershire ccc have consistently shown the ability to bounce back from adversity, often after the challenges of flooding at New Road, and never was this more amply demonstrated than during the 2007 season.
the county were unable to play a single match at their headquarters from the middle of june after it was engulfed by flooding that returned early the following month.
it was a testing time on and off the pitch with worcestershire ccc enduring suffering major financial challenges that would take significant time to recover from.
but, as always, the club including coaches, players and staff, responded positively to these setbacks, overcame becoming cricketing ‘nomads’ through to september – and lifted the pro40 league title.
‘home’ games in the competition were scheduled for derby, edgbaston and taunton plus one at kidderminster but worcestershire ccc remained unbeaten until the title was lifted via victory in a day-night encounter against gloucestershire at bristol – despite a floodlight failure!
there was much jubilation amongst the worcestershire ccc supporters who made the trip down the m5 as the county won their first trophy since the 1994 natwest trophy at lord’s.
the emergence of a 19-year-old moeen ali, in his first season with worcestershire ccc , and keeper steven davies as a formidable opening pair plus an attack spearheaded by 18 wicket kabir ali were key factors in worcestershire ccc’s triumph.
vice-captain gareth batty skippered the side during the second part of the quest for glory with captain vikram solanki unavailable due to international commitments and says the ‘spirit’ helped them succeed.
the former england spinner, who spent eight seasons at New Road, said: “it was a strange season when we had the really bad flood so we had not done a lot of planning for the tournament.
“we’d gone a month without any cricket. we couldn’t practice anywhere. the lads had no cricket through the middle part of the season.
“we played all our games away from worcester and i remember going down to taunton to play lancashire and it felt bizarre.
“but the spirit in the team helped see us through and we had some very gifted youngsters. it allowed the boys to express themselves in a manner where they ended up winning the league.
“it was a truly positive time, everyone responded to adversity, and i truly believed the club was going to go great places.”
batty says the impact of close pals davies and moeen to the title success was key.
he said: ““it was more of a ‘let’s play risk free cricket and see where we get’ so it was an opportunity to get mo opening with davo, two great friends, and if nothing else, there was a little bit of common-sense in hoping they would bounce off each other – which they did.
“i think they were the best opening combination in the competition at that point so it allowed us to put the opposition on the back foot.
“it was interesting. i ended up captaining for the last few games and it was very much an approach of ‘we are going to back the boys, we are going to give them everything they require.’
“for davo and mo, it was kind of their breakthrough season in white ball cricket and, when we won the league at bristol, i remember that it was the mo and davo show that night.
“they set us off like an absolute train and that was the beauty of that partnership.
“we knew we could ‘hold’ people to scores with our bowling attack but the fact we had those two dangerous youngsters, that the opposition didn’t know that much about in terms of what they were going to do, was a big plus point.
“they were both left handers but played so differently and, being great mates, they just egged each other on to whack it further and further which was brilliant.”
after moeen and davies’ fireworks, the biggest threat to worcestershire ccc being able to celebrate at bristol was the floodlight failure.
batty said: “first and foremost you are thinking ‘how has this happened’. i thought power cuts were a thing of the past when i was a whipper snapper. it was a generator on a portable floodlight.
“you just hoped things would get back up and running because i felt we were in the ascendancy and wanted to get it done that night because that our moment to get over the line. thankfully that happened.”
kabir may have been the leading wicket-taker but there were other bowlers who played an important part that summer.
batty said: “we all knew our roles and nadeem malik was very good and stood up and bowled very well at the death from time to time.
“myself and (fellow spinner) ray price complimented each other in the middle (of the opposition innings), and controlled the game, and abdul razzaq provided that sprinkling of stardust that gave you that bit of belief that you were never out of the game because he was always in it with bat and ball.
“kabir did very well and was the real deal for a very long time at worcestershire ccc and never quite got that run of games (with england).
“you see guys now getting six or seven games on the trot and, if you don’t perform, then fair enough, but if it’s one game here and one game there, it is very difficult.”
the only downside for batty was, with worcestershire ccc always on their travels, there was never a formal presentation of the pro-40 league trophy to the squad.
he said: “we won it at bristol, there was no trophy there and i don’t believe we were ever properly presented with a trophy.
“lots of players play 10-15 years and never win anything. i think for the guys who did win something, and nothing was made of it, it was very sad, but it was a tremendous achievement by everyone.”