Birmingham Bears pace ace Olly Stone had heard all about the unique atmosphere of Vitality Blast Finals day.
On September 2, 2017, he experienced it for the first time – and rose to the occasion, as Glamorgan’s batsmen can testify.
The Bears faced the Dragons in the semi-finals and made 175 for nine, thanks to a dazzling 50 from Ed Pollock who gave the innings a crackerjack start in an opening stand of 65 from 35 balls with Dom Sibley.
Stone’s contribution with the bat was an astute nought not out (no balls, no four, no sixes) – but his impact with the ball was spectacular. After the Dragons made a perky start to reach 31 after 20 balls, Stone came on to blast out danger man Colin Ingram and follow up with the quickfire wicket of Kiran Carlsson. Suddenly, Glamorgan were tottering on 48 for four and the Bears had one paw in the final.
Stone came back later to demolish Marchant de Lange’s stumps and end with a match-winning 4-0-29-3.
“It went really well in the semi-final for me and it was just an amazing atmosphere,” he said. “It is always fantastic to play in front of 10,000 in the group games at Edgbaston so to play in front of 25,000, with loads of them Bears fans cheering you on, on Finals Day, you just can’t beat that.
“It didn’t go so well for me in the final and unfortunately Notts edged us out but it was a brilliant day. “
Now Olly can’t wait to lead the Birmingham attack again in this year’s Blast. Opposing batsmen, be warned: There will be no holding back from the England paceman.
“As a bowler you always want to take wickets and in T20, especially up front, you always need to try to do that,” he said. “You have to attack the batsman as much as you can and threaten his wicket. There might be times during a game when a captain says to you ‘look we just need a tight over here’ but primarily it’s about taking wickets – and, for me, that’s bowling fast.”
Buy tickets in advance and save £6, while U16s go FREE to all games. Tickets can be purchased online at birminghambears.com, over the phone by calling 0121 369 1994 (option 1) or in person at Edgbaston Stadium (not during the World Cup).