Lewis Bruce intends to enjoy NatWest T20 Club Finals Day – after the Peterborough Town captain refused to watch the end of their quarter-final win over Wanstead & Snaresbrook.
The 27-year-old off-spinning all-rounder will take his team to Wantage Road at Northampton on Tuesday after an epic last-eight win in north-east London that shredded his nerves.
Chasing just 55 to book their place at finals day, Bruce opened the innings but once he fell in the fifth over he did not watch another ball.
The Northamptonshire Premier League leaders, who are closing in on a hat-trick of titles, eventually got home by five wickets with nine balls to spare to book their first trip to the finals and Bruce insists there will be no repeat this time.
“I just couldn’t bring myself to watch and sat in the sanctuary of the changing room,” said Bruce, who is one of seven players in his side who have played for Cambridgeshire at Minor Counties level.
“It was horrible. We’ve fallen at that stage a couple of times in the last few years and having bowled them out for 55 it looked like we were going to blow it and I just stayed where I was.
“The only time I smiled was when I heard the lads screaming outside. I received some choice words when I joined the celebrations a couple of minutes later.”
And while their three other finalists make long trips to Northampton, Bruce and his Peterborough team will be on familiar territory.
They have already played six times at Wantage Road and, with Surrey club Ashtead lying in wait in their semi-final, Bruce added: “We’ve got a proud 100 per cent record to defend and it is a place we know well.
“It’s not too far and we’re taking a good support with us. Hopefully that will help us have a successful day and we can put on a show for everyone.”
Bruce’s Chester Boughton Hall counterpart Lee Dixon is getting greedy ahead of their semi-final against Great Ayton.
Dixon has already lifted the regional area Twenty20 trophy and wants to get his hands on four more pieces of silverware.
Boughton Hall are second in the Cheshire Premier League and, as well as the trip to Northampton, they have made the final of the Cheshire Cup and Liverpool Echo Knockout.
Just like Peterborough, Dixon’s side are particularly strong with eight of their 11 having experienced Minor Counties cricket with Cheshire and the captain is confident they can have a bumper end to the season.
“You’ve got to have ambition and with the team I’ve got I believe we can win every game we’ve got left this season. If we do that it will have been a magnificent season,” said Dixon who led from the front in the quarter-final win over Northern with 42 from 23 balls – an innings that included five sixes.
“We deserve a day like this and I believe the team we’ve got will thrive on this stage. The great thing about this group is that we’ve been together all season.
“There’s no chopping and changing for different competitions and that settled side has been key to the success.
“The club, committee and local area have really got behind this day and we will have plenty of supporters in Northampton. I hope we give them something to shout about.”
NatWest T20 Club Finals Day at Wantage Road, Northampton, September 9
Semi-final 1: Great Ayton v Chester Boughton Hall
Semi-final 2: Peterborough Town v Ashtead