Vitality Blast T20 Finals Day HospitalityView 31 photos
Dominic Cork, Paul Farbrace & Craig Overton
The Vitality 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 three very special guests. England’s former all-rounder and member of the current SKY Sports cricket pundit team, Dominic Cork, England’s assistant coach Paul Farbrace, and up-and-coming England hopeful Craig Overton who made such a good impression on the last Ashes tour Down Under.
After our guests enjoyed a delicious breakfast and a glass of fizz, first up in Semi-final one were Worcestershire Rapids taking on taking on Lancashire Lightning. Batting first the Rapids racked up 169-6, with Oliver Cox top-scoring with 55 not out off just 34 balls, with Moeen Ali weighing in with 41 off 21. Ali then starred with the ball, taking 2-16 off his 4 overs, with a sensational performance from youngster Patrick Brown as he finished with 4-21. The Lightning were restricted to 149-9 as they came up short against a brilliant Rapids performance in the field, with the winners progressing to the Final.
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 Sussex Sharks and Somerset. The Sharks, led by former England star Luke Wright, were in irrepressible form with the bat, posting a huge 202-8 off their 20 overs. Wright’s sensational knock of 92 off 53 balls, with 7 sixes, was the highest score ever by a batsman on Finals day and he was aided by a cracking 52 from David Wiese off 29 balls. The Somerset bowlers took a battering, apart from a fantastic effort from Jerome Taylor who took 4-20. In reply Somerset batted manfully but fell short on 167-8 despite knocks of 48 from both Tom Abell and Corey Anderson.
Afternoon tea was then served in the Wyatt Suite, and we were thrilled to welcome Dominic Cork, Paul Farbrace and Craig Overton to the stage for some quality cricket chat. It was fascinating to hear from them in their varied careers for England, with Corky an iconic and aggressive player from past days and the up-and-coming starlet Craig Overton at the beginning of his international journey. Farbrace is the second most important man in the England coaching set-up behind Trevor Bayliss, so it was really insightful to hear about plans for the national side.
In the event the Sharks batted first after being put in by the Rapids, and they posted 157-6 which most observers felt was below par. Laurie Evans top-scored with 52 but a canny bowling performance and some outstanding fielding made life tough for the Sussex men. Moeen Ali was again in the thick of it claiming his sides best set of bowling figures with 3-30, whilst Patrick Brown was outstandingly economical conceding just 15 runs from his 4 overs.
In reply, the Rapids made a blistering start, with Joe Clarke and Moeen Ali putting on 61 for the first wicket off just 6.5 overs. A mini collapse followed which say the Worcester men reduced to 90-4 with just 8 overs left, with Ali going for a cracking 41. Whitely and Cox steadied the ship, adding 36 for before the next wicket fell. This left Cox and Ed Barnard to steer the Rapids home, with the former dominating strike to post his second superb unbeaten score of the day with a pivotal 46 not out.
It was a fantastic day’s cricket, and the whole event just improves as an extravaganza every year. The music stage featured various 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, Paul and Craig for some great stories and insights before the final game.