Daryl Mitchell has recalled Worcestershire’s 2007 Pro40 League triumph when the mid season floods meant they lifted the title without playing a single game at New Road.
Mitchell can still vividly remember having to wade through the deep flood waters to rescue his One-Day playing kit from the dressing room in the old pavilion – and seeng one of his bats float past his eyes!
But a summer of despair which caused great financial hardship for the County turned into joy at Bristol when top spot was clinched against Gloucestershire.
Worcestershire became ‘nomads’ after the floods of mid June and early July meant no more cricket was possible at their headquarters in 2007.
Pro40 League ‘home’ games were switched to Derby, Taunton and Edgbaston and Kidderminster.
But, with no-one expecting Worcestershire to triumph in the difficult circumstances, Mitchell admits the players went out with a sense of enjoyment and were still unbeaten when the title was clinched on a Thursday night under lights in the West Country.
It was the cue for a three day party!
Mitchell said: “We rode a quest of a wave. We got off to a good start. We played some good cricket in that competition and just kept going.
“We didn’t really think about winning it really until the night at Bristol when we did win it.
“That was the first point as a youngster coming into the side where I thought we could actually win it that night.
“That was the first time I really felt pressure if you like or a bit of apprehension about the performance.
“As a youngster, you just go in and play with freedom.
“Vikram (Solanki) wasn’t around for a lot of the campaign – he was with England at the World Cup – and Davo (Steve Davies) and Mo (Mooen Ali) just went out and smashed it at the top of the order for three or four games in a row and they did that that night as well.
“I remember playing against Sussex at Edgbaston as one of our ‘home’ games. Mushy (Mushtaq Ahmed) played and bowled pretty well and we managed to see him off and knock off the runs.
“I think we won six or seven on the bounce. By the time we won the league, we hadn’t lost a game. We lost the last game but we had already won it by then.
“It was a brilliant time really. We didn’t hardly practice because we didn’t have the facilities.
“We played a few games at Kidderminster, Derby, Taunton. We beat Lancashire at Taunton. We travelled there from Kent having played a four-day game.
“Abdul Razzaq was here as an overseas player and I remember him going out to bat in his full coloured kit and with his baggy green Championship cap on by mistake facing Sajid Mahmood.
“I thought ‘this guy is mad wearing a cap against Saj – and the wrong cap at that!’ Good times, good memories and we never went home for about three days after that.
“I was living back home in Evesham at the time and I went to Roger Sillence’s house, to Batts (Gareth Batty’s house).
“I think we won on the Thursday and I meandered home about Sunday lunch-time!”
As for triumphing without playing a single game at New Road, Mitchell said: “It was amazing really. We just played some good cricket, very confident.
“Having the floods made it a case of ‘no-one really expects anything of us, we’ll just go out and enjoy ourselves and we expressed ourselves to the full and won it’
“With the floods, it was a very stressful time.
“The most stressful part for me was, as the flood happened, we were playing a second team game and I was due to play in the Pro-40 League on the Sunday and my kit was in the dressing room.
“I remember having to get waders on up to my shoulders, climb down off the Cricket Suite onto the old players balcony and wade into the dressing room and get my one-day kit out of my locker.
“I saw one of my bats floating past me in the dressing room. It was surreal really.
“But certainly to win that trophy is the highlight of my career and it is something you can look back on.
“I’ve still got the pictures of that night at Bristol and one of my shirts and the medal framed at home.
“It is something you will cherish forever.”