NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day 2017View 19 photos
Alec Stewart, Darren Gough and Dominic Cork
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The Natwest T20 Blast Finals day is now firmly established as one of the most exciting dates on the cricket fan’s calendar. We were thrilled to welcome a full house to the Wyatt Suite for a high octane day of big-hitting cricket in the company of two very special guests. England’s former all-rounder and member of the current SKY Sports cricket pundit team, Dominic Cork, record-breaking wicket keeper/batsman and all-round legend, Alec Stewart, and the inimitable Darren Gough, one of the game’s true characters!
After our guests enjoyed a delicious breakfast and a glass of fizz, first up in Semi-final one were Birmingham Bears taking on Glamorgan. Batting first the Bears racked up 175-9, which looked about par, with Ed Pollock top-scoring with 50 off just 27 balls. The Bears have been one of the strongest T20 sides in recent years, and an excellent performance with the ball saw Glamorgan bowled out for 164, England’s Chris Woakes claiming 3 wickets, with only Jacques Rudolph offering sustained resistance with a well-struck 65 off just 39 balls.
Guests in the Wyatt Suite then enjoyed a delicious hot and cold buffet lunch, washed down with a few drinks from the complimentary bar, before taking seats for the second semi-final between a tough Hampshire side and the mighty Notts Outlaws. The Outlaws batted first, and posted a decent but not overly daunting score of 169-7, Wessels top-scoring with 48. In reply, Hampshire lost talismanic Shahid Afridi first ball, but looked well set on 97-2 off just 10.3 overs, before an inspired burst from Mullaney ripped three out, followed by England’s Harry Gurney taking another three cheaply. Hampshire fell well short in the end, all out for 146.
Afternoon tea was then served in the Wyatt Suite, and we were thrilled to welcome Dominic Cork, Darren Gough and Alec Stewart to the stage for some quality cricket chat. Guests were enthralled listening to these three English cricket legends share some memories from their careers, and their thoughts on the action to come as the Bears and Outlaws faced off for the title.
In the event the Outlaws batted first after being put in by the Bears, and two great knocks by Brendan Taylor (65) and Samit Patel (64 no) took the favourites to an imposing total of 190-4, with Daniel Christian’s 24 not out of 8 balls being crucial in setting a hard target. Only Chris Woakes troubled the batsmen greatly, weighing in with 3-29 off his 4 overs.
In reply, the Bears made a poor start, losing Sibley and Pollock with only 16 on the board. With wickets falling regularly at the other end, Sam Hain batted manfully to keep the run-rate ticking along, with Grandhomme and Thomason offering good support. But with the Outlaws’ England duo Harry Gurney and Jake Ball bowling magnificently, the run-rate started to get away from the Bears, who eventually fell well short with 168-8, Gurney finishing with a brilliant 4-17 from his 4 overs, and ball 2-26. It was a great performance in the field, with the Bears always looking a bit short.
It was a fantastic day’s cricket, and the whole event just improves as an extravaganza every year. The music stage featured four bands over the day, with loads of other entertainment including the bungee ball, as well as plenty of traditional pyrotechnics.
Our guests enjoyed a fantastic long day of hospitality, hosted in great style by the Wyatt Suite and the brilliant staff. Our thanks also go to Dominic Cork and Alec Stewart for some great stories and insights before the final game.