Ian Westwood expressed great pride in his depleted group after Warwickshire lifted the Second XI T20 Trophy with superb back-to-back performances at Finals Day at Arundel.

The Bears defeated Middlesex in the semi-final and Sussex in the final to bring the first silverware of the season back to Edgbaston.

It is an excellent achievement by the Second XI group which took part in the finale with several unfamiliar faces on board. Finals Day coincided with a first-team game, and injuries affecting the senior squad had a knock on effect on the 2nds.

That left Westwood needing to draft in some cover at short notice – with some success as 21-year-old, Johannesburg-born opening batsman Matt Montgomery was enlisted and scored important runs in both games.

Yesterday’s triumph was heavily bowler-driven, however, and by bowlers on the Bears staff as Ryan Sidebottom and Manraj Johal shared six-wickets in the semi-final before George Garrett took a brilliant five-for in the final.

“It was a really pleasing day and I am proud of everyone involved. We were a bit depleted and had to call up some guys, particularly in the batting, but everyone did their job really well.

Ian Westwood

“Matt was impressive when he scored a century against us for Notts 2nd XI earlier this season, so we called him in and he batted really well. In both games they were really good team performances, but the bowling especially was very pleasing as the guys twice defended 150.

“It was great to see George bowl so well and get his rewards in the final. He has had a tough time after breaking into the first team then losing a year with no cricket last year due to Covid and injury but he’s worked really hard and fully deserves his success.  

“Manraj and Ryan also bowled well and Ethan Brookes contributed as he has throughout the tournament. It was great to see them excel because Second XI cricket is mainly about player development, but it was great to win the trophy because it showed how well the players could perform in a pressure situation.”  

In the semi final the Bears beat Middlesex by 18 runs after making 155 for seven (Montgomery 66 from 50 balls) then bowling them out for 137 (Sidebottom four for 28, Johal two for 13).

Montgomery was then in the runs again in the final as his 60 (43 balls), supported by Keil van Vollenhoven (28 not out, 20) and Ethan Brooke (25, 20) lifted the Bears to 149 for five.

It was not a massive target but proved more than enough as Sussex, on one of their home grounds, were bowled out for 95. Garrett bowled superbly for five for 19 and Sidebottom again took important wickets with two for 16.