A Bowlers’ Day – T20 Finals Day 2022 – Edgbaston

After travelling back to Somerset from Southport on Friday afternoon, a six-hour journey, I was on the supporters’ coach to Edgbaston at 7.00 a.m. on Saturday morning. It was a wonderful day at the cricket. Could have done with some shade. The Somerset seats, at least the tranche I was with, were in the R.E.S. Wyatt Stand, full in the face of the sun all day until the sun finally set behind the stand half an hour into the final which made it a very pleasant evening. I watched most of the second innings of the first match on a screen in an open fronted bar to ration my exposure to the heat and the sun. It really was quite fierce in the morning, less so in the afternoon.

The atmosphere was absolutely tremendous. A singer walking along the front of the Barnes and Wyatt Stand singing ‘Hey Jude’ in the interval between innings in the final seemed just right and had the whole stand, or most of it, and probably most of the ground, singing along. The huge conga of fancy dressers circulating around the Hollies Stand had people in fits. Even the beach ball gradually being bounced along the crowd seemed to have its place. The looks of joy on children’s faces as T-shirts were thrown into the crowd was a joy to see. A pop festival atmosphere at the cricket.

And all the while, the cricket was going on in front of us. And it fixed the attention. Taut faces while it was on, smiling ones when it wasn’t. While the pop festival atmosphere was the ever-present background, the cricket was the ever-present focus. Cheers and applause for boundaries, wickets, tight-run runs and brilliant fielding. Tension gripping the air at tight points in matches.

And some brilliant cricket too. Yorkshire posted what looked a competitive total in the first match and Lancashire breezed past it. Somerset looked to have just about held Hampshire to an achievable total in the second match and Hampshire bowled them out of the competition. After the semi-finals Lancashire looked to be the team of the day. More so when they seemed to have bowled Hampshire to an inadequate total and breezed their way through the powerplay at ten an over. And then, from ‘game over’, Hampshire slowly squeezed the life out of the Lancashire batting.

With Somerset not in the final, and wanting a quick getaway, I watched the last couple of overs on a screen behind the Hollies Stand. The action on the screen was half a second behind the live action. The half second delay was discernable becauset he atmosphere in the ground could be heard and sensed through the back of the stand. I was beneath a tranche of Hampshire supporters. There was silence between the balls and then cheers or groans predicted which way the action which followed on screen would go.

The festival atmosphere carried on to the end, but as the tension in the cricket rose, the festival faded into the background until it exploded again in fireworks in the Edgbaston sky, and a very chirpy coach ride home.

In the end, this was a day for white ball bowlers and spectators. Especially for the Hampshire white ball bowlers. And for the supporters of all four teams.

It was my fifth Finals Day. I reached home at 1.00 a.m., 16 hours after the coach had left in the morning. Would I go again? You bet! If Somerset were there.

First semi-final. Yorkshire 204 for 7 (20 overs). Lancashire 208 for 4 (18.4 overs). Lancashire won by six wickets.

Second semi-final. Hampshire 190 for 6 (20 overs). Somerset 153 (19.3 overs). Hampshire won by 37 runs.

Final. Hampshire 152 for 8 (20 overs). Lancashire 151 for 8 (20 overs). Hampshire won by one run.