Royal London Cup final September 19, 2015

I said dare to dream, and who knows - Jones

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WATCH - Jones carried off in final game

Sometimes fairy tales do happen in sport. Geraint Jones, Ashes winner in 2005 turned priceless county pro - via Papua New Guinea - signed off his professional career by being chaired around Lord's after Gloucestershire secured the Royal London Cup with an epic come-from-behind victory.

Jones had dragged Gloucestershire to a competitive total with 50 off 65 balls, using his wealth of experience to assess the conditions, before being bowled as the first of Jade Dernbach's hat-trick wickets. For 34 overs of Surrey's chase it appeared Dernbach's 6 for 35 would be the headline act, but then Kumar Sangakkara clubbed a full toss to mid-on and Gloucestershire, evoking the spirit of the one-day sides which dominated from 1999-2004, strangled Surrey and took the match to the final over.

"I just feel very lucky to be honest," Jones said. "To finish this way, very few people get the chance to walk off holding a trophy and look back on a great day. Personally I couldn't have asked for any more. Since the knockout stages I've been saying to myself, dare to dream and who knows. And it couldn't have worked out better.

"My family was here, although I had to keep batting because the boys had swimming lessons this morning and then had to get the train up so I couldn't get out until they showed up - that spurred me on. To finish this way, with a group that has given such energy back to my cricket, it's a pleasurable way to finish."

Jones was not actually on the field the moment the match started to change as Jack Taylor's full toss found the hands of substitute Will Tavare at mid-on. "Thankfully when I popped off for a toilet break is when Sangakkara hit that ball to Tavs, because I knew they were trying to hit it my way," he said.

"I must admit at half time I was very nervous that we were 15-20 shy especially with the way Sangakarra has been playing. But once we got into it, I knew the way our spinners have been bowling all summer has been exceptional and the wicket was going to be good for them because Batty showed when I was batting that it wasn't easy to score off them."

Michael Klinger, the Gloucestershire captain, also pinpointed the role of his spinners - Taylor and Tom Smith who combined to take 5 for 85 in 20 overs - plus the unfortunate absence of Zafar Ansari for Surrey as a key part of the match. He said he, too, would have bowled with the 10.30am start but also backed the strength of his team's bowling if they were able to get a score on the board.

"They were a little bit light on their batting playing a lot of allrounders," he said. "We talked pre-game that if we could get through the top they were quite inexperienced and it just so happened the two wickets we got were the two in batters. We knew it would be tough to score against our spinners. In the end, two spinners was the advantage for us. Unfortunately Ansari's injury hurt them a little bit as well."

Klinger also paid tribute to Jones. "It was fitting that he was our best batter in his last game and to finish his career the way he did."

For Jones, who celebrated with his children on the outfield as Gloucestershire enjoyed a lengthy lap of honour in front of a large number of travelling supporters, this victory will take a special place in his career highlights.

"It's right up the top, purely for the fact I was able to contribute and the group of lads have added more than I can put into words because they've made my last few months in cricket so enjoyable."

He will certainly be remembered for more than just that one catch.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on September 20, 2015, 8:02 GMT

    Alexk400, presumably you are not a regular fan nor have you followed the season much. Gloucesershire have been reeling off "fluke" wins like this all season. A never-say-die attitude in the team allows them to manage comeback wins (but they've also thrown a few away at the death in the T20). Gloucs have specialised in amazing finishes all season.

  • Ray on September 20, 2015, 5:27 GMT

    Good pro. Best of luck in his future endeavours.

  • Mark on September 19, 2015, 20:52 GMT

    We played GO. You deserved to sign off this way. Thanks for everything that you have done.

  • Alex on September 19, 2015, 20:20 GMT

    Fluke WIN. Win is a win though. Surrey had bad captain i think

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