By Neil Fissler
Matt Cassar recalls that Derbyshire were put at a major disadvantage after being asked to bat first in a rain-affected Lord’s final.
Lancashire skipper Wasim Akram, who was chasing the treble, won the toss and put Derbyshire into bat in conditions that were always going to help his seamers.
And so it proved to be – 11 of the previous 12 finals had been won by the side batting second.
Peter Martin ripped Derbyshire apart with 4-19 off nine overs as only Michael Slater offered any resistance with 34 out of a poor total 108 all out.
And, when they returned on the reserve day, Lancashire helped by an unbeaten 53 from John Crawley knocked off the 109 needed for the loss of one wicket with almost 30 overs to spare.
“We felt that after beating Surrey at The Oval in the quarter finals that we had a chance of winning but woke up in the morning pulled back the curtains and it was pouring with rain,” said Cassar.
“That was a little bit disappointing and we were over in the indoor school practising early in the afternoon, thinking that the day would be washed out.
“Then someone ran across saying we had lost the toss and we were batting, starting in ten minutes. Lord’s in September batting on a pitch that had been under covers was never going to easy.
“We were always going to be up against it. We batted with the ball nipping all over the place then the next day they batted in bright sunshine and a really good pitch. The toss was crucial and gave them a huge, huge advantage.”
Derbyshire had booked their place in the final after seeing off Cumberland (202) by 64 runs in the first round and then a seven wicket win over Scotland (113), who had beaten Worcestershire.
In the quarter finals at the Oval, Derbyshire chased down 218 to beat Surrey by five wickets and they overcame Leicestershire (295-6) by three runs off the last ball to win the semi-final.
But Cassar insisted the powers that be should have called off the final on the Saturday and levelled the playing field by making both sides bat on the reserve day in better conditions.
“On reflection it would have been far better if they had called it off that day and just played it the next day,” he said.
“There is a reserve day there and making one team bat in less than ideal conditions and then the other team to bat in perfect conditions made the game very one-sided.But, of course, if the coin came down the other way it could have been a completely different result and we would have been talking about us winning it.”
BACK ROW (left-right):
Robin Weston: A middle order batsman, the brother of Worcestershire’s Phil, and son of England rugby star Mike is a recruitment consultant specialising in ECommerce and Digital Marketing.
Matt Cassar: Australian-born all rounder was married to former England women’s wicket keeper Jane Smit and is now managing director of Derby Financial Services.
Ben Spendlove: A batsman who took two catches while fielding as 12th man for England against South Africa in 1998 and worked in ground maintenance and has been a painter and decorator.
Vince Clarke: A middle order batsman is now back living and working in Perth, Western Australia, where he grew up.
Ian Blackwell: An England all-rounder who settled in the West Country after retiring through a shoulder injury and is now on the ECB’s list of reserve umpires and runs a coaching academy.
Glenn Roberts: A left-arm spinner. Now an umpire in the Bradford League and works as a PE teacher at Silcoates School in Wakefield.
Kevin Dean: A seamer who spent 15 summers playing for Derbyshire has worked for BaileyDean Properties in Derby but is now acquisition manager of Westdene Capital.
Phil DeFreitas: England international all-rounder Daffy has coached at Oxford UCCE and Nottinghamshire and appears on the after dinner speaking
Karl Krikken: A wicketkeeper / batsman who spent 27 years at the county as player and coach before leaving in December 2014. Is now coaching Shropshire.
Dominic Cork: Another England international all-rounder now works in the media with TalkSport and Sky Sports as well as at events for the Professional Cricketers Association.
Kim Barnett: The most successful player in Derbyshire’s history having enjoyed a 25-year career before a spell with Gloucestershire. He worked for a luxury car hire firm. Lives in Leek and coaches Staffordshire.
Michael Slater: Australian international has worked in the media in his homeland presenting the Footy Show and now works as a cricket commentator.
Tim Tweats: A batsman who went into teaching and is head of Business and IT at Alleynes High School, in Stone, Staffordshire.
Adrian Rollins: Wicketkeeper brother of Essex’s Robert has worked as a teacher in Luton, Northampton and London and is now assistant head of The Pingle School, Swadlincote.
Paul Aldred: A batsman who was a former builder and is still based in Derbyshire where he coaches and also owns a bat making business.
Trevor Smith: Derbyshire-born seamer runs his own taxi business in the Derby area.
Michael May: Chesterfield-born batsman emigrated to Australia after leaving the county and is now a health and safety officer in Melbourne.
Andy Harris: Seamer returned to Derbyshire as 2nd XI coach then bowling coach and is now academy director.
This piece originally featured in The Cricket Paper on Friday June 19, 2015.