By Neil Fissler
Dominic Ostler believes that Warwickshire’s 1994 campaign was the greatest enjoyed by any county side.
Warwickshire came within a hair’s breadth of completing an unprecedented clean sweep of all four trophies on offer.
They won the County Championship with 272 points, which was 42 more than second-placed Lancashire. They then pushed Worcestershire into second place to claim the Sunday League.
They also beat Worcestershire by six wickets in the Benson & Hedges Cup Final at Lord’s after chasing down 171, Ostler top-scoring with 55.
It left them only needing to beat Worcestershire in the NatWest Trophy at Lord’s to claim the quadruple, but they were defeated by eight wickets.
“I think it is a season that will never be beaten and has never been repeated. It was probably the greatest season a county side has ever had,” said Ostler.
“Everybody knew their roles and what they had to do. To the extent that somebody would go out to bat and you could pre-empt what shot they were going to play before they played it due to where the field was and the situation of the game.
“It was just brilliant. Everyone played for the team and not themselves. It was just one of those seasons that we got to the stage where we knew we couldn’t lose – whatever the situation we couldn’t lose.”
The final piece of the jigsaw was a batsman called Brian Charles Lara, who scored 2,066 runs including becoming the first batsman to score 500 runs in an innings.
Lara beat Hanif Mohammad’s record of 499, which had stood for 35 years with 501 against Durham just two months after savaging England in Antigua.
“He came in just after breaking the world Test record with his 375. He was joining a pretty decent set-up and the jigsaw worked then.
“He was an inspiration to all the other batsman and it all gelled. If he didn’t score runs, and more often than not he did, everyone else would score them.
“You learned off this guy who was a legend coming to play for you. It was just a fantastic experience more than anything else,” added Ostler.
The only thing that went against Warwickshire in the whole season was Dermot Reeve losing the toss in the final of the NatWest Trophy.
It enabled Graeme Hick and Tom Moody to make an unbroken third wicket stand of 198 to end the Bears’ dreams of a domestic clean sweep.
Ostler said: “We lost the toss and in those days Lord’s was renowned for having a green September wicket and if you lost the toss you lost the game.
“That is exactly what happened and Worcestershire asked us to bat. We made a more than reasonable 223 but the longer the day went on the wicket got better and they knocked them off. So we won three trophies and were runners-up in the fourth. Until that point everything had gone according to plan.”
BACK ROW (left-right):
Bob Woolmer: England all-rounder was a teacher in Kent and South Africa. He was Pakistan coach at the time of his sudden death during the World Cup in March 2007, aged 58.
Dermot Reeve: Another England all-rounder has worked as a TV commentator and coached the Pune Warriors and Central Districts. He worked with England earlier this summer.
Mike Burns: Batsman, who also served Somerset, is still based in Taunton where he became a salesman for Bradbury bats and is on the ECB’s list of reserve umpires.
Mike Bell: Seamer is now living in the Brighton area where he was last known to be running a shop in the town.
Richard Davis: Spinner played for five different counties. Brother-in-law of David Fulton. He died after a long fight with illness in December 2003 aged 37.
Neil Smith: England ODI all-rounder. Son of former Test captain and rugby union international MJK Smith. Now coach and groundsman at Warwick School.
Dominic Ostler: England A batsman now works as a coach at King Henry’s VIII School in Coventry. Head batting coach for Complete Cricket during the winter.
Trevor Penney: Rhodesian batsman has been specialist fielding coach for England and assistant coach of Sri Lanka. Also coached at the Western Warriors and with India.
Paul Smith: Fast-bowling al-rounder who battled drink and drug addiction. Works for the Prince’s Trust and does some freelance writing and works with Compton CC in LA.
Stuart Nottingham: Physio now lives in Barbourne, Worcester, and has worked in his own private practice and occupational health business.
Keith Piper: Wicketkeeper who has coached Warwicks 2nds, and in New Zealand, Pakistan and England emerging keepers.
Andy Moles: Former batsman who went into coaching with New Zealand, Wellingborough School, and led Afghanistan at the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
Tim Munton: England fast bowler is now managing director of BIG Group consultancy and is head of business development for the League Managers Association.
Roger Twose: Torquay-born batsman played for his adopted New Zealand. Went into the banking industry and is a director of Wills Bond in Wellington.
Gladstone Small: England fast bowler has worked as a commentator and also works the after-dinner circuit.
Graeme Welch: Former seamer who became bowling coach at Essex and Warwickshire but is now elite cricket performance director at Derbyshire.
Brian Lara: The legendary West Indies batsman now plays a lot of golf and is a Sport & Tourism Ambassador for his native Trinidad.
Asif Din: Batsman is now running his own garden furniture import business in the Birmingham area.
Dougie Brown: Former England and Scotland ODI all-rounder who joined the Warwickshire coaching staff after retiring in 2007 and is currently director of cricket.
This piece originally featured in The Cricket Paper on Friday August 28, 2015