In partnership with Lord Combustion, we're looking at some of the best performances from a Bear in a one day final.
Opting to use Dominic Ostler for this feature turned out to be a mistake.
“I remember 1993 vividly, and 1994 pretty well, but ’95 is slightly tougher,” Ostler said with a grin. “That era was special to be a part of. We had a great side, who enjoyed each other’s company and left everything out on the pitch. We had ups and downs of course, like all teams do, but the success we experienced was incredible.”
After the brilliance of ’94, it could so easily have been a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’.
But another brilliant campaign (they missed out on another treble only by the narrowest margin after finishing second to Kent in the Sunday League only on run-rate) ensured the mid-90s did not go down in history as simply including a one-off year of wonders but as a golden era.
When Warwickshire set off in pursuit of the NatWest Bank Trophy, the only prize to elude them in ’94, in ’95, they did not have it easy. In the first round, then contested by many minor counties, the Bears were drawn in one of only two all-first-class ties, at home to Somerset.
Having seen off the dangerous west countrymen in a high-scoring match by 18 runs, the Bears were paired with another strong team, Kent, at home, and won a tight, tense contest by ten runs.
Next came two away games, a quarter-final at Derbyshire (won by 116 runs) and a semi-final at Glamorgan (won by eight wickets) which became synonymous with the crowd and not the events on the pitch.
“We had played in a Sunday League game at Cardiff not long before the semi-final and it got a bit ugly,” recalled Allan Donald. “Some football hooligans turned up and a bottle was thrown at our dressing room and there was talk of the semi-final being moved. “It wasn’t in the end and we took down what was then a very good Glamorgan side. It was a boiling hot day and Tim Munton bowled his 12 overs off the reel for 18!
That took them through to a rain-affected final, adding to the drama as the Bears chased that elusive trophy.
“We were always confident, but we knew the toss would be important,” added Ostler. “Using the reserve the day, you’re never sure what you’re going to get on that second morning. We’d been on the wrong side of a toss in ’94 and those fine margins can make a huge difference, especially in a Lord’s final.”
The Bears lost the toss, were put into field, and the heavy lifting from the bowling unit came into effect.
Richard Montgomerie and Alan Fordham fell cheaply, before two homegrown fan favourites combined to take the big wicket of Allan Lamb for nought.
“Now that I remember clearly!” said Ostler. “Dougie [Brown] was bowling and Lamb went for this huge drive. I knew it was coming and it stuck. We never looked back.”
Stuttering to 200 all out, with no Steelback making a half-century, those strong Bears’ nerves were tested. Chasing the modest total, they were five for one, 28 for three and 122 for five but were kept afloat by Dominic Ostler (45), Roger Twose (68) and Trevor Penney (20) before Reeve and Smith shepherded them over the line against the highly-skilled threat of Indian spinner Anil Kumble
“Dermot’s performance was exceptional,” concluded Ostler. “Not only was he a fantastic captain, but he backed it up with bat and ball.
“Twosey’s runs  were important, as were mine in the early part. Kumble got me, there’s no shame in that, but I wanted to carry the side home. Credit to Dermot and Paul [Smith] for finishing off the job.
“It was another special day at Lord’s and I was very lucky to experience quite a few of those in my career. To win the treble in ’94 was an incredible achievement, but to back it up again was pretty special.”
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