Cork undecided over future
Dominic Cork added another triumphant chapter to his storied career by leading unfancied Hampshire Royals to the Friends Provident t20 title last night and admitted it could be his last hurrah.
The former England all-rounder turned 39 earlier this month but emerged as one of the key figures on a finals day that was supposed to belong to the likes of World Twenty20 winners Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and Craig Kieswetter.
Hampshire got over the line in dramatic fashion at the Rose Bowl, scrambling a leg bye off the last ball of the match to level the scores and win by virtue of one less wicket lost.
Cork made what proved the decisive contribution by taking 2-3 in the 20th over of Somerset's innings.
Asked whether that effort would be a fitting finale to his playing days, the former Derbyshire and Lancashire man said, somewhat cryptically: "I've been offered a deal for next year. I have been offered a contract."
When pressed, he added: "Ali Brown, Robert Croft, Mark Ramprakash...they're all over 40 and I'm 39.
"But as long as I'm physically okay and feel I can make a difference I want to play. I don't want to be picked because of what I've done in the past, I want to be picked because I can make that difference and if I believe I can do that I'll carry on.
"If I don't think that then it's time to let some of the youngsters take the ball and have a good time because it's been a great career.
"I'm going to think about it and I'm sure I'll make the right decision for myself and for Hampshire as well."
Neil McKenzie took man-of-the-match honours for a nerveless innings of 52, but he was eager to hail his skipper's contribution.
"Everyone's talking about Dominic's age but he just keeps running in there and he's probably the best competitor I've seen or played against," he said.
"He'll stop when he feels he's not competing anymore but right now I even have to pull him aside on the football field every now and again to tell him to slow down."
Somerset were runners-up in the domestic Twenty20 competition last year as well and captain Marcus Trescothick revealed that it only dawned on his side after the result was confirmed how close they had been to collecting winners' medals.
In the drama surrounding the final delivery - the white lines were remarked and the ball was changed moments earlier - Somerset failed to realise that by completing the leg bye while having a runner on the pitch, Dan Christian could have been run out at the striker's end.
"Only as we walked off, after they'd picked the stumps out the ground, did we realise what had gone on and it was a bit late by that point," said the former England opener.
"The umpires told me as we came off that they were waiting to see what we were going to do, if we'd whip the bails off.
"I keep thinking this is a dream and I'm going to wake up any minute with the ball in my hand and run him out."
West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard was taken to hospital after taking a dangerous blow to the face off a Cork bouncer in the first innings and received a cautionary X-ray.
Reflecting on his loss midway through the game, Trescothick added: "One of our boys is struggling and we were pretty worried about him because it looked nasty.
"But losing his bowling was crucial, that's four overs of international class, and he won the semi-final for us with a great catch."