Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Tenth Anniversary Of County Title Which Lifted The Gloom

Tenth Anniversary Of County Title Which Lifted The Gloom

It is a decade ago this month that Worcestershire completed one of the most remarkable title triumphs in their distinguished history.

The County had been under a cloud with no cricket possible at New Road after June because of the two floods that engulfed the ground and the severe financial implications that took years to overcome.

But out of the gloom came glory at the end of the season via a Pro40 League crown in Director Of Cricket Steve Rhodes’ second season at the helm.

Worcestershire were forced to become nomads in the competition and games were arranged against Hampshire at Derby, Sussex at Edgbaston and Lancashire at Taunton as well as Kidderminster hosting the match with Northamptonshire.

But the squad and coaches overcame this handicap and victory over Gloucestershire at Bristol in September 2007 brought joy as the title was clinched.

Rhodes recalled: “The biggest memory was the opening partnership of Steve Davies and Moeen Ali at Bristol to win the title (151)

“We chased quite a big score (270-9) and they got a huge first wicket stand.

“But it just wasn’t that. Even in the build-up games to that last game, both of them played so well together and it seemed to be crazy that we had not tried it before.

“They complimented each other in their batting styles in the sense they were completely different – both left handers but batting in different ways.

“They got on well and had a lot of fun out there as a partnership and that stands out more than anything, those two opening the batting and particularly that last game.”

Davies hit 84 off 93 balls and Moeen an explosive 72 off just 51 deliveries.

As regards not playing a single game at New Road, Rhodes said: “In many ways though not playing at home, we just got on with it, and it was a little bit Crazy Gang.

“We had some good cricketers, guys who sadly moved on more or less straight away, but I think that was a necessity that needed to happen anyway in light of the problems we’d got with the floods and how financially it had left us.

“We needed to cut down our budgets for players so in many ways it suited us that a few players moved on.

“The idea of playing on all sorts of different grounds, I think it was just as confusing and complicated for the opposition as well.

“For us to play at Derby, the opposition would turn up but they’d be used to playing Derbyshire there and to play against Worcestershire was quite strange.

“Maybe that affected them more than it affected us.”

Rhodes believes Worcestershire are moving in the right direction to repeat that title triumph.

He said: “In many ways, it’s a shame that we’ve not repeated a title since and I genuinely mean that.

“But we’ve gone through quite a big rebuild here and now I think the players are definitely maturing and showing signs of being able to win something.

“We’ve gone close in some of thew one-dayers, quarter-finals and now semi-finals.

“It is definitely coming. It’s just been a case of on the big occasion not quite playing as well as we could have done and that can be part of the development.”

*Daryl Mitchell will also be recalling that triumph in part two of our 10th anniversary lookback to the 2007 title triumph during the next couple of days.