It’s been a right old up-and-down week as a Foxes fan.
Thursday: Leicestershire crash to defeat by Surrey at Grace Road in the latest chapter of what has been a dismal championship season.
Same day: James Taylor makes his England ODI debut and scores 1 off 8 balls.
That evening: news spreads that Harry Gurney, the man who has helped bowl the county to T20 Finals Day, is off to Nottinghamshire on a three year deal. Not only that, but injury means that he will not be taking part in Saturday’s extravaganza.
Friday: the England ODI and T20 squads are announced. James Taylor is in neither of them.
Today, Saturday, August 27th: Leicestershire win their semi-final versus Lancashire by the skin of their teeth, conceding 6 off the last ball of the match to take it to a super-over. Big Will Jefferson, fresh from 121 against Surrey, is the hero of the hour. He wins it for the Foxes with a balls-out, guns-blazing, almighty heave into the crowd for 6, followed by a primal scream of triumph.
Nerve-shredding? Only slightly.
T20 finalist; place in the Champions League qualifiers assured: I was prepared to accept this should they fall at the last hurdle. Actually to hell with that. A loss would have been gutting. It would have been the end of a dire week, and it would have hurt like a motherfucker.
In the final, Somerset limited Leicestershire to 145-6. Abdul Razzaq, opening instead of Andrew McDonald, made a subdued 33. Josh Cobb’s stay at the crease was worth a brief but entertaining 18; Jefferson again played his heart out for 35. Around the 12th over, as wickets started falling regularly, momentum ebbed.
It was a total that looked about 20 short. 20 runs is the difference between twitchy uncertainty and fatalistic resignation.
And then the magic. A true team effort that shows what a small county – struggling financially, plundered for its talent, written off by all and sundry – can do when it believes.
Five Somerset wickets fell in the space of 19 runs – Hildreth, Pollard, Trego, Suppiah and Buttler.
Josh Cobb and Matthew Boyce were the double-act that headlined the show. Every wicket of Cobb’s was caught by super-sub Boyce on the midwicket boundary.
A superlative diving catch by Paul Nixon to dismiss danger man Pollard would have done credit to a man twenty years younger; he will have to put that retirement on ice for a bit longer because boys, you’ve bagged yourselves a trip to Hyderabad.
Hell, Charlie Fox even won the mascot derby.
“Good luck to the underdogs,” Hampshire captain Dominic Cork said prior to the final.
See, the thing with underdogs is: sometimes they have a tendency to bite you on the arse.
Well played, lads. Well bloody played.