Benson & Hedges Cup Final 1989:
Steady Eddie Saves Notts

Featured News | 18th September 2013

Nottinghamshire will be eyeing their first one-day silverware since their victory over Essex in 1989's Benson and Hedges cup with a trip to Lord's to face Glamorgan in this summer's Yorkshire Bank 40 final.

This is the day's match report by Peter Perchard published in The Cricketer magazine:

A hush fell over a packed Lord’s as 26,000 onlookers, glued to their seats by tension and 80 degree heat, watched Essex’s veteran left-armer John Lever prepare to deliver the final ball of the game to another much loved 40–year-old, Nottinghamshire’s Eddie Hemmings. For the third time in four years then Benson and Hedges Cup Final was about to end in high drama, with Notts requiring four runs to win off the last ball.

With a leg-side field packed to the hilt, Lever ran in and speared a Yorker-length ball wide of leg stump, whereupon Hemmings stepped back and squirted the ball wide of Brian Hardie at backward point, leaving the Scotsman an agonising and futile chase to the Grandstand boundary. Hemmings and his partner French ran towards each other, bats aloft, embraced and cavorted with abandon like the Walrus and the Carpenter on speed, to celebrate Notts’ three-wicket win, their first in the competition.

For at least two thirds of the match things had looked good for Essex who, despite losing their three previous Benson and Hedges Final, were installed as 9-4 on hot favourites by the bookmakers. 

"In twinkle-toed fashion they attacked the respectable but hardly threatening Notts bowling,"

Graham Gooch, a winner of 16 Benson and Hedges Gold Awards, won the toss on a scorchingly hot sunny day with not a hint of cloud nor a whisper of breeze, and elected to bat. Essex suffered an early setback losing Hardie in the third over for nought. Bamboozled by Mark Waugh, awarded his county cap before the match, joined Lilley and the pair featured in Essex’s most enterprising stand. 

In twinkle-toed fashion they attacked the respectable but hardly threatening Notts bowling, scoring 82 off 19 overs. Afford, unable to repeat his semi-final heroics, should have had the Australian stumped on 14 but the ball spat up chest-high to French who failed to hold it. However, with lunch three ball away, and Essex set fair for a hefty total at 156-2, Waugh chipped a catch to Robinson at short mid-wicket off Evans to reprieve Notts.

Essex stuttered after lunch and while Lilley, the epitome of the unsung hero, accumulated runs to provide the nuts and bolts of Essex’s innings, he lost partners at regular intervals. Pritchard was trapped LBW by Cooper, Stephenson also sacrificed himself in a needless run out and Pringle was also run out by French’s lightning reactions when lumbering back into his crease after a false start for a run. 50 runs came off the last ten overs but it left Essex at 243 for seven, maybe 30 or 4 adrift of what they had promised, and Lilley tantalisingly five short of a deserved hundred. The pick of the bowlers for pure economy were the two Kevins, Evans two for 28 and Cooper one for 30, while Nottinghamshire’s fielding, personified by ‘Arkle’ himself, was faultless.

"Robinson, at his most fluent and in complete control, was run out 14 short of a hundred by an over eager Randall,"

John Lever, opening the bowling in what was probably his swansong final, hot Essex off to a dream start when Notts began their reply. He had Pollard LBW for two in the seventh over and four overs later he tempted a becalmed Broad to swish at a widish ball outside off-stump and Garnham took a brilliant one-handed diving catch. Paul Johnson joined his captain at 17 for two and they took the Notts score steadily, if a little slowly, to 58 for two at the 25 over mark, by which time the run rate had escalated to 6.2.

After tea, for the first time in the match, the tide began to turn Notts’ way as Robinson and Johnson, batting with sense and determination, put on 132 precious runs. Gooch, with mounting desperation, switched his bowlers around attempting a breakthrough and in fact bowled five different spells himself.  Essex had to wait until the 40th over when Johnson, in pugnacious form, completely misjudged a Foster Yorker, tripping over the ball, and was bowled off his pad for 54. 

Worse was to come for Notts: Robinson, at his most fluent and in complete control, was run out 14 short of a hundred by an over eager Randall and then Stephenson, off his first ball, meekly popped a catch to Gooch off Miller to leave them 162-5. 

"The irrepressible Randall, having charmed his way to 49 off 49 balls, literally ran back to the pavilion,"

Angst-ridden at running out his captain and no doubt haunted by the memories of the death throes of the 1985 NatWest final, Randall played as though Adrenalin was positively awash in his system. He began to charge the bowling, squeezing runs off every part of his bat and, ably supported by Kevin Evans who had an unspectacular but thoroughly effective match, the two shared 59 valuable runs.

Essex’s field then entered a Jekyll and Hyde period; the unfortunate Lever took the role of Hyde, dropping Randall twice, but Pritchard’s throw and Gooch’s goalkeeping dive ran out Evans for 26, and Mark Waugh eventually accounted for Randall, holding a skier off Pringle at deep square. The irrepressible Randall, having charmed his way to 49 off 49 balls, literally ran back to the pavilion leaving 10 runs still needed off 7 deliveries and the game on a knife edge.

French and Hemmings fiddled and lumped their way to the electric final ball finale and after Gooch and Lever had conferred endlessly over the final field placings, ‘the Whale’ calmly delivered the killer blow. 

Amidst scenes of joy, and mindless fisticuffs, Tim Robinson proudly flourished the cup and the winners’ cheque for £22,000, and to complete his triumphant day adjudicator Ted Dexter proclaimed him the Gold Award winner.

Notts Outlaws face Glamorgan in the final of this summer's Yorkshire Bank 40 competition this Saturday, with play starting at 11.30. 

Click here to buy ticket from the Lord’s ticket office.

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