CRICKET: Royal-ly thrilled

This Is Wiltshire: Liam Dawson (right) and former Chippenham player James Vince start the celebrations after Hampshire's CB40 final triumph at Lord's Liam Dawson (right) and former Chippenham player James Vince start the celebrations after Hampshire's CB40 final triumph at Lord's

HAMPSHIRE star Liam Dawson believes his side’s Clydesdale Bank 40 victory over Warwickshire Bears at Lord’s last weekend was one of the greatest cup finals that the home of cricket has ever staged.

The 22-year-old Calne all-rounder and his Royals team-mates, including former Chippenham ace James Vince from Steeple Ashton, were left biting their nails on Saturday as the Bears needed just one run off the final ball to snatch the trophy.

But Neil Carter missed his swing at Kabir Ali’s delivery and Matthew Bates whipped off the bails to secure a thrilling Hampshire victory and their second one-day title of the season.

Dawson’s side also lifted the Friends Life T20 title last month and the Wiltshire man is certain that he won’t be forgetting the spellbinding conclusion to his season in a hurry.

“It’s been absolutely phenomenal – winning one competition is great but to win two makes it an absolutely exceptional season,” said Dawson, who has also featured for Goatacre this season.

“To play in a final at Lord’s is awesome but to then be a part of what was one of the best finals that there’s ever been there is even better. The atmosphere in front of more than 15,000 fans was amazing and those 5 or 6,000 Hampshire fans that made the journey really were a 12th man for us. “But when it got to that final ball, you could hear a pin drop.

“The place just exploded after that and it was so emotional. “The celebrations were amazing afterwards and we even had a few beers in the changing rooms afterwards with the Warwickshire lads, which was great.

“Some family and friends from back at Goatacre also came to watch too, which was much appreciated.

“Winning tournaments like that is what you dream about doing as a cricketer and unless you’re playing for England, it doesn’t get much better than that.

“And to do it all alongside all of the lads that I’ve grown up with in the academy is really special.”

Dawson and his title-winning Hampshire teammates will report back for training on October 1, ahead of the Champions League T20 event in South Africa.

The Royals take on New Zealanders Auckland and Pakistani outfit Siakolt Stallions in the qualifying round.

Dawson said: “The Champions League is a great chance to take on some of the best sides in the world and playing against one of the IPL (Indian Premier League) sides would be fantastic.

“Whatever happens out there, no-one can say that we haven’t had an amazing season.

“We’re all looking forward to it.”

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