T20 Cup winners 2005
Somerset surprised even themselves when they became the third county to win the recently introduced T20 Cup. In the first eight seasons of the competition, there were seven different winners with Leicestershire, who Somerset were to beat in their 2005 semifinal, the only side to win it twice.
In the previous two seasons Somerset had failed to get past the group stages of the tournament but this time they squeezed through after finishing third in the Midlands/Wales/ West Division.
Northamptonshire Steelbacks, who won the division, were their hosts in the knockout quarter final and made 154-8 which Somerset knocked off with a ball to spare to win by four wickets.
It enabled the Sabres to qualify for finals day at the Oval along with hosts Surrey, who would play Lancashire in the first semi-final, and their opponents, reigning champions Leicestershire.
After watching Lancashire crush Surrey by 22 runs, Somerset faced Leicestershire and made 157-9, batting first.
Ian Blackwell and Richard Johnson, on his T20 debut, each took three wickets as the Foxes fell four runs short of their target.
Somerset all-rounder Keith Parsons said: “The competition had only started in 2003 so finals day probably wasn’t as big as it is now, but it was a big achieve and to win it was a surprise to everybody really.
“We had a vague idea what to expect because we’d seen it on the TV the previous two years, it was obviously a big occasion and it was always nice to play on those days.
“We didn’t get too many and Leicestershire were going well but then they had a collapse against the spinners and we just sneaked home.
“Carl Gazzard was the man of the match, he made a few runs at the end of our innings and then made a couple of key stumpings.”
Rain delayed the start of the final by an hour and it was reduced to 16 overs. Lancashire batted first after winning the toss but struggled.
Stuart Law’s 59 off 45 balls helped them to 118-8 but it was never going to be enough Graeme Smith scoring 64 off 47 to see his side home by seven wickets with 11 balls to spare.
Parsons added: “Lancashire were pretty big favourites for the final, but they lost five or six early wickets so we had control right from the start of the final.
“We were a pretty young side and we hadn’t really played an awful lot of cricket. So it was a good effort to beat a Lancashire side in the final that was full of internationals.
“The key was that we had two South Africans – Graeme Smith and Charl Langeveldt and they were very good signings for that competition, they gave us a good run.
“Graeme took control of our innings and saw the game out for us. He had the ability to say, ‘don’t worry lads, I’ll sort this out’, and he did it. That was the sort of character that he was.
“He was the South Africa captain and it was good to get him to come and play for us. In the six to eight weeks that he was with us he had a big impact.” BACK ROW (LEFT-RIGHT): Matt Wood: The opening batsman has stayed in cricket and is now the Cricket Development Officer for Nottinghamshire CCC at Trent Bridge. Wes Durston: Batsman, who left Derbyshire by mutual consent at the end of last season after captaining the side in limited over cricket. John Francis: Spinner. The brother of Simon, ran a wedding and event company as well as a marquee hire firm, he is now an assurance associate at PwC. Gareth Andrew: All-rounder who is about to start his second season with Hampshire and is studying for a Chartered Institute of Marketing Professional Certificate. Michael Parsons: Seamer. He is now the store manager for Somerset County Sports which is based at the County Ground, Taunton. James Hildreth: England Lions batsman. Has been playing for Somerset since 2003 and was a substitute fielder for England throughout their 2005 Ashes winning campaign. Arul Suppiah: Batsman who was an England U16s hockey international is now the director of cricket and economics teacher at Queen’s College in Taunton. MIDDLE ROW (players only): Carl Gazzard: Wicketkeeper,. He retired in 2009 to focus on his career in financial services and is financial consultant at Cooper Associates Wealth Management. Ian Blackwell: An England all rounder who is now on the ECB’s reserve umpires list and runs his own Taunton-based cricket academy. Aaron Laraman: Batsman. Is now based in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, where he is fleet services director at VMS Fleet Management. Neil Edwards: Batsman, who settled in Nottingham where he finished his career and is business manager for Barker Ross Food after working as a recruitment consultant. Nixon McLean: West Indian fast bowler. Has coached St. Vincent & the Grenadines and has been a Windward Islands selector. He is also the vicepresident of the West Indies Players’ Association. Simon Francis: England A seamer, and the brother of John, is now a PE teacher and director of cricket at Warwick School. FRONT ROW (players only): Mike Burns: The former Somerset captain has worked in cricket shops, for a bat company and also delivered cars. He is now on the list of first-class umpires. Rob Turner: Wicketkeeper. Spent a decade as head of cricket and teaching maths at Blundell’s School. He is now a maths teacher at Richard Huish College in Taunton. Richard Johnson: England seamer is on the staff of current County Champions Middlesex where he is one of two assistant coaches. Marcus Trescothick: Opening batsman who has also served England and is set to start his 24th summer with Somerset this season. Andrew Caddick: England fast bowler. Is now a qualified helicopter pilot and runs an aviation brokerage firm – he also has business interests in property and commodities. Keith Parsons: All-rounder, whose twin brother Kevin is now a coach. He is also corporate clothing manager for Somerset County Sports.