Ian Bell today saluted the “unbelievable” backing from Warwickshire’s supporters at Lord’s which helped power the Bears to Royal London Cup glory with victory over Surrey.
Bell’s side produced a brilliant all-round performance, one of the most complete ever seen from any county in a Lord’s final, to deliver the trophy for their fans.
And how those fans played their part.
The captain was genuinely moved by the scale and volume of Warwickshire’s support in St John’s Wood – and hopes some of the youngsters among them are as inspired to become a future Bear as he was back in 1993 as a thrilled 11-year-old racing on the field at the end of the Nat West Trophy final.
“It was the best backing I have ever heard from the Bears fans,” Bell said. “I have been lucky enough to play in a number of finals and have never known support like this time. It was unbelievable. It genuinely felt like a home game.
“I know we were playing well but the support was outstanding and I hope there were some youngsters there in the crowd who went home desperate to be Warwickshire players in the future, just like I did back in ’93.”
The mutual ovation between players and supporters after the eight-wicket win will be long-remembered by all associated with the club. But on a wonderful afternoon, the best-attended domestic final for years threw up countless moments which will be recalled for years to come. From that brilliant catch by Laurie Evans to Jonathan Trott’s flawless innings – and from the stunning stumping by Tim Ambrose to Olly Hannon-Dalby’s pivotal dismissal of Kumar Sangakkara.
It was one of those rare days in sport when everything goes right for a team including, admitted Bell, some very tough selection decisions which saw William Porterfield and Josh Poysden left out of the 11.
“It was a really tough morning,” the skipper said. “Did we want to play Josh Poysden? Yes. And Will Porterfield has been fantastic for us in white-ball cricket for a long time. So we were leaving out two players who have contributed so much to us getting to the final.
“They were hard decisions but I think we got them right. I suppose when you are leaving out two guys of that calibre you are in a good place.
“We peaked at the right time. We have played some good cricket throughout the tournament and when you get to the final you want to show exactly what qualities you have got. It’s been a frustrating season for us in some ways, we all know that, but we also know what we are capable of and we showed it today all the way through.
“We knew, with the players Surrey have, you have to hold your nerve and take your chances and a catch like Laurie’s and then a brilliant stumping from Amby, can make all the difference. After the bad result at Somerset we worked very hard on the fielding and Laurie was probably the standout fielder in that practice.
“The bowlers were all outstanding. Jeetan Patel was brilliant again and Ateeq Javid did a great job. Surrey might be harsh on themselves but I didn’t think it was that they played badly – I just thought we were outstanding with the ball.
“Then if there is one bloke in world cricket I would want on my side to knock off a small total that you can pace yourself to, it’s Trotty and he did it brilliantly.
“It was a very satisfying performance. Now we have got to go again and play to the same levels next week in a very big championship game against Lancashire.”