On Thursday 7th June 2018, Warwickshire’s trophy hopes shattered after a close one wicket defeat to local rivals Worcestershire CCC. The winner of the game was going straight through to the semi-finals of the Royal London One Day Cup and the loser a potential quarter final spot but for the Bears it was not meant to be.
A win from Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire going well meant it was all or nothing for the men in navy but at the end of the day their performance was not good enough. Gutting. A feeling I felt on my long journey home that night.
However, there are many positives that can be drawn from Warwickshire’s One Day season and many individual performances that stand out.
In 2017 the Bears sat at the bottom of the North group with a mere four points after only two wins throughout the tournament (one to Northamptonshire and the other to Yorkshire). That was pretty dire especially considering we lifted the trophy the year before so this season has been a vast improvement. This year we finished forth with four wins, two losses and two no results. It could be said that we were the most rain affected team in the North group. But that is one of the perils of playing cricket in England.
Game by Game in Short
This year’s campaign did start with a loss for Warwickshire and a historic record breaking win for Derbyshire who made 357 runs for the loss of eight before bowling the home side out for 300. Jonathan Trott took four wickets for the Bears making him their leading wicket taker of the match before Sam Hain made an impressive century (before he was dismissed on 108) and Keith Barker made a quick fire 48.
A few days later, the squad were on a bus to Leeds to play their first away match of the tournament against the mighty Yorkshire who won the toss and elected to bat first before making 247 for nine. Warwickshire skipper Jeetan Patel was the pick of the bowlers by taking four wickets for thirty-three runs including the wickets of opener Adam Lyth and England spinner Adil Rashid. In reply, it was another century from Sam Hain, a fifty from Jonathan Trott and a valuable forty-four from Adam Hose which brought victory to the Bears with 4.2 overs remaining.
The away game to Lancashire was next in Blackpool but sadly only 8.2 overs were bowled before rain hit and the game was called a no result.
On the Sunday of the second bank holiday weekend in May, Warwickshire had another away game but this time it was to Notts at Trent Bridge. This game brought in a record breaking domestic one day crowd of over 14,000 for the home side but most were disappointed when the Bears came out on top. Warwickshire won the toss and elected to bat first with Sam Hain top scoring once again but this time with 72. Both Ed Pollock and Adam Hose made half centuries; Ian Bell merely missing out. They made 259 for nine from their fifty overs before a great bowling reply bowled the home side out for 187. Aaron Thomason was the pick of the bowlers who took four for 45 runs.
The next game against Northamptonshire was abandoned without a ball bowled due to rain which disappointed all who attended Edgbaston including the Sky Sports commentary team.
Durham was next and this match really was a thriller. Warwickshire won the toss and decided to field before Durham were just short of three hundred runs from their fifty overs with their top scorer Michael Richardson making 111 before being dismissed by Keith Barker. Jeetan Patel was the pick of the bowlers once again by taking three before Warwickshire replied chasing the score in 48.5 overs. It felt like we had gone back in time with centuries from the more senior members of the squad. Jonathan Trott made a century before being caught off the bowling of Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell was 145 not out at the end of the game.
Another game and it was another win for Warwickshire but this time it was at home to Leicestershire. The home side bowled the Foxes out for 207 with both Olly Stone and Aaron Thomason taking three a piece before the Bears chased down the total in 37.4 overs. It was another century from Jonathan Trott who finished 102 not out and another high score of 69 not out from Sam Hain which won them the game. Spirits were high before their last group game of the season.
It wasn’t the best start for Warwickshire when they lost the toss and were put in to bat first. England all-rounder Moeen Ali starred with both bat and ball for Worcestershire which was both a pleasure to watch and a killer for the fans. He took the wicket of Sam Hain who made a steady 68. Will Rhodes played his shots to make 69 and wicket keeper Tim Ambrose made an impressive 75 both for the Bears. Despite this, we definitely were short of a few but managed to make 292 for the loss of seven. In reply, Olly Stone took a wicket on the first ball and eventually took four in the innings including that of Ali who made 114 runs. Teenager Henry Brookes was also impressive with the ball by taking three wickets and in the end it was close but the Rapids managed to get over the line nine wickets down knocking the Bears out of the tournament.
Stats with the Bat
Stats with the Ball (All Wicket Takers)
Players of Note
Sam Hain is definitely the pick of the batsmen and has been rewarded with a callup to the England Lions Squad this summer. This will be a major loss for the Bears as he will be missing two County Championship games but it is a great achievement and I wish him all the best. With an average of 106.50 it is a shame that he won’t be seen in the final of this year’s One Day Cup but he is a massive prospect to the future of English cricket.
Ian Bell also had a good season with his average of 56.50 (helped by his 145 not out) and shows still how important he is to this Warwickshire set up. Last year he struggled and in the end gave up his captaincy in attempt to improve his batting which he has definitely done so. There is still a lot of cricket to be played this summer and he will know that he still has work to do.
In his final One Day Cup season, Jonathan Trott has finished with some excellent stats. He scored 271 runs with the bat at an average of 54.20 which included one half-century and two centuries. With the ball, he bowled 17.2 overs taking four wickets at an average of 29.50. Going to miss this legend playing!
Two players who have impressed with the ball are Olly Stone and teenager Henry Brookes. Both are incredibly quick and I think with some coaching to improve their accuracy will both be forces to be reckoned with in the future. Stone was our leading wicket taker of the tournament with twelve at an average of 28.17 but not far behind and having played one fewer match was Brookes with nine wickets at an average of 27.22. Two quicks to keep an eye on.
Spin duties were left to legend of the game and our skipper, Jeetan Patel. He got ten wickets at an average just above twenty-six and that’s with the added pressure of captaincy which has fallen on his shoulders this year. He will be missed when he retires in the future and I think Warwickshire will have to start looking for another spinner, perhaps the likes of Josh Poysden.
That Disappointing Final Game
Last Thursday, I made my way to Edgbaston excited about the prospects of a home semi-final. The home semi-final that we did not achieve.
After losing the toss and teams were announced I groaned when I heard that Worcestershire were playing England all-rounder Moeen Ali knowing that he was going to make it tough for us. Then my attention turned to our squad and I was confused about some of the changes we made.
We had a winning formula of a team and yes we weren’t perfect but at least we were winning matches and this was a match to win! Both Adam Hose and Aaron Thomason, who had played all of the previous games, were left out of the squad for Will Rhodes and Dominic Sibley. Neither of these players deserved to be dropped and I was definitely unsure of the players who were picked to replace them. Sibley performed poorly with the bat and a terrible shot off the bowling of Moeen Ali got him out for 22. He then bowled an over which went for nine runs.
I think Hose would have been a much better choice and I feel sorry for him being so unfairly dropped during a crucial game. Rhodes was actually quite impressive however. With a score of 69 and so almost getting that final much needed wicket he seemed to be an okay choice. I like him as a player and I think he has much more to give; he is a loss for Yorkshire.
All in all, I am pleased with how Warwickshire’s season has gone. Last year’s disaster of a season is long gone and they have shown a lot of promise and determination. The senior players have stepped up and the youngsters have shown ambition so I am confident that the team will succeed in the future. If players start to convert their 40s to fifties and their 70s to hundreds then perhaps we will be in a better situation.
However, one white ball competition over means another one will shortly begin and we have a lot to prove in the twenty over Vitality Blast!