Hurry eyes quick response
Andy Hurry admits it was painful watching Lancashire lift the LV= County Championship on Somerset soil – but claims winning the Clydesdale Bank 40 will be the perfect cure.
Somerset, whose own championship hopes were ended last week, were beaten by eight wickets yesterday, a result which condemned them to the unenviable fate of seeing their opponents crowned champions.
As Lancashire’s champagne-soaked players celebrated on the outfield amid a throng of delirious fans, Somerset coach Hurry could console himself with the fact that his side have one more chance at domestic glory tomorrow in the CB40 final against Surrey.
“Lancashire played very well during those four days and I’m very pleased for the hard work they put in,” Hurry told ecb.co.uk.
“But as an opposition coach you don’t like losing and it’s very difficult knowing that the game is going away from you. That is a bitter pill.
“But we’ve got the chance to get straight back on the horse. We’re going to Lord’s, the home of cricket, to play in a one-day final.”
The impact of Twenty20 cricket has prompted some to question whether the lustre of the traditional end-of-season Lord’s showpiece is wearing off.
Not so, insists Hurry, whose childhood is crammed with memories of famous domestic finals.
“When I was growing up as a kid I would watch intently the one-day finals at Lord’s,” he recalled.
“The history of one-day cricket, all the great matches that have been played there... It is a very special occasion.”
Such an occasion inevitably brings pressure, and the odds on Somerset success would surely be lower had they not developed a reputation as county cricket’s bridesmaids in recent years.
They were runners-up in all three competitions last summer, which included losing the CB40 final to Warwickshire, and three successive defeats in the Friends Life t20 final would appear to add weight to the suggestion that Somerset’s nerve is not the strongest.
Hurry, however, is keen to harness the disappointment of 12 months ago – and insists Somerset are a different side now as a result.
“Last year’s experience is so valuable to us,” he said. “To go through the whole build-up, arriving at the ground – it is a hugely intense and pressurised area. We’re ready for that.
“Last year was the first time for a lot of our players, but the majority of the squad have been involved in finals before and that gives us a definite edge.”
While Hurry acknowledges the threat posed by a vibrant Surrey side who, like Somerset, play an “exciting brand of cricket” – they clinched promotion to Division One of the County Championship this week – he claims the final will be won by the side that “handles the pressure best”.
Marcus Trescothick is expected to captain Somerset, despite having failed to recover fully from the ankle injury which has kept him out of action for almost three weeks.
The opening batsman was clearly in some discomfort during some light fitness work on the outfield this week, but, as Hurry points out, “it’s amazing how the adrenaline of the big occasion can get you through”.
“From where he was Tres has come an awful long way. It wouldn’t surprise me if Marcus is out there tomorrow. The pain goes out of the window on days like this.”
Somerset will be further buoyed by the presence of Craig Kieswetter and Jos Buttler, who will link up with the squad late tonight following England’s final NatWest Series ODI in Cardiff.