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September 17, 2010
Marcus Trescothick believes the motivation of playing at Lord's in the Clydesdale Bank 40 final can help inspire his players to bounce back from the disappointment of seeing the County Championship title clinched by Nottinghamshire. It is Somerset's last chance to take something from an impressive season, but the Warwickshire coach Ashley Giles is intent on making it a weekend to forget for his former England team-mate.
The Somerset squad were shattered on Friday evening after watching Nottinghamshire clinch the Championship crown with the final ball of the competition when they claimed the third wicket they needed against Lancashire to earn a third bonus point. After being held to a draw by Durham at Chester-le-Street, Trescothick's team had to watch the big screen at the ground and await their fate before making a quick dash to Newcastle airport to fly to London for the one-day final.
Somerset had already experienced coming a narrow second-best this summer after watching Hampshire take the Friends Provident t20 title by losing fewer wickets at The Rose Bowl and, despite being the most consistent county unit throughout the season, they face the prospect of having no silverware to show for their efforts.
"It was a massive day and the disappointment was pretty tough, but we talked a bit last night and had a flight down from Newcastle," Trescothick said having reflected on the Championship for a few hours. "But just coming here lifts the mood immediately, getting into the changing rooms, seeing the ground - the best in the world - it picks you up pretty quickly and we've not had to say a great deal to the boys. They are all ready to go.
"It's almost the best scenario to get right back into it and play such a big game. I think if we had time to dwell on it for a few days then it would probably last a bit longer. The effect of playing the CB40 is that we have to get straight back up, there's no other option. The boys have turned it around pretty quickly."
Standing between Somerset and a trophy is an in-form Warwickshire team who enjoyed the final day of the Championship when they secured victory against Hampshire to retain Division One status. Despite having played most of his England career alongside Trescothick, Giles only has one interest in his mind and that's making sure the Taunton trophy cabinet stays empty this winter.
"Somerset, runner's up twice, it's our job to make sure it's three," he said. "I feel sorry for Marcus, but sympathy ends tomorrow when we arrive back at Lord's."
Warwickshire will be boosted by the availability of Jonathan Trott, after he was released from one-day duty by England, and he will form a strong top order with Ian Bell who will captain the side and Neil Carter who is in line for county cricket's Most Valuable Player award. Alongside an in-form Chris Woakes and the legspin threat of Imran Tahir, Warwickshire have plenty of weapons to challenge Somerset although Giles is happy if the opposition remain favourites.
"We seem to be the underdogs all the time which suits us, people forget we've only lost three 40-over games in two years," he said. "We took the competition seriously last year where others saw it going out and I think that's helped us this year."
The reduction of the main domestic one-day tournament from 50 to 40 overs for this season provoked much debate because the international game remains the longer duration. And even among the two teams who have reached the final there remained a split opinion.
"The international game is 50 overs and I think you have to have a domestic structure that mirrors it if we want to produce players for 50-over cricket," Trescothick said. "Having said that I like 20-over cricket, but sometimes it's a little short and 40 overs is pretty good for the crowd."
"When we first talked about it there was some resistance but I think it's been a brilliant competition," was the view of Ashley Giles, who also wears his England selectors' hat. "There's no dead cricket and scores have gone through the roof. Last year 230-240 was a good score but guys are getting 300 regularly now. We've moved the game on and the tempo is closer to 20 overs than 50 overs."
The crowd at Lord's on Saturday will hope the 40-over season is crowned by another high-scoring encounter.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at CricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
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