It almost feels full circle for Olly Hannon-Dalby.
The seamer, who now plays a vital cob in Warwickshire’s red ball side, was once the Bears’ white ball demon.
Arriving from Yorkshire in 2013 with 51 White Rose wickets to his name, the fan favourite brought a heavy mix of cutters and slower deliveries in the biggest moments.
Thrust into the T20 set-up, OHD took the heavy lifting of the powerplay and starred in 2014 – the Bears’ only Vitality Blast title – with figures of 3 for 31 from four overs.
But things now are somewhat different. With 248 First Class wickets and just 71 in T20 for the Bears, it seemed that the 34-year-old’s time as short form bowler was over. Thankfully, they’re not.
“I’m the only survivor from our last quarter-final against Essex, but I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or not,” said Hannon-Dalby smiling. “The cricket we’ve played this year is fearless and admirable and I’m just trying to follow these young guys.
“There’s been a few injuries within the squad which is never nice, but we’ve won from lots of different positions this year with different people putting their hand up. Sam Hain has had a great competition, but it’s not always Sam who’s been getting the runs and that’s a fantastic place to be in.
“If you look around, everyone is an all-rounder. If it’s turning we’ve got a lot of spinners and if we need seamers we’ve got those too. The fact that everyone does a bit of everything is great because we got all bases covered.”
Stepping in for the last two games, OHD has been a big part of the Bears’ success. Bowling the penultimate over against Notts and the final one against Durham shows not only the trust he has from Captain Alex Davies but the skills he still possesses.
“Al’s great as he’s cool and calm,” added Hannon-Dalby. “It helps as wicket-keeper that he sees everything and gets that intimate feeling of what the batter and bowler are doing.
“The skills are still there and I really enjoyed the Royal London competition last year. I haven’t played white ball in over a year, so it reminded me I can still do this. It’s still the same skills of bowling a yorker or slow ball and it doesn’t matter who is at the other end. You just need to execute.”
The Halifax native will now be chomping at the bit to follow the campaign all the way through. As the only previous Bears winner, he’s looking forward to Thursday where one win can guarantee a Finals Day place.
“The knockouts are difficult as you get into a rhythm in the North Group,” Hannon-Dalby concluded. “You know everybody and their styles, whereas this is an unknown.
“There will certainly be a home advantage in front of our home fans with a big crowd like the Worcestershire game. Hopefully, we can book our place and give them something to cheer about.”
£15 tickets for home quarter-final
Bears have secured a home Vitality Blast quarter-final which will be on Thursday 6 July, with adult tickets only £15.
Tickets ware available online at tickets.edgbaston.com or on the day via the Ticket Office. Members and Season Pass holders can attend for free by scanning their card at the gate.