Marshall remembers 'one of the best days'

Hamish Marshall remembers last year's Royal London Cup final at Lord's, where Gloucestershire clinched a six-run victory against Surrey, as "one of the best days of cricket" he's experienced but knows that it will be a tall order to defend the title this season.

The title was Gloucestershire's first piece of silverware since 2004 and was secured in tension-filled scenes after Surrey had started the last over needing seven off six balls with 17-year-old Sam Curran playing a fine hand. But Curran fell to the first ball of the last over and two deliveries later Gareth Batty found deep midwicket.

"I remember I could feel my heart beating, thinking we were so close," Marshall told ESPNcricinfo. "I was very nervous but David Payne had been bowling well for us so confident in him. When that catch went down Benny Howell's throat I thought we had a really good chance. Then Jack [Taylor] took that catch - I didn't know what I should do - I just chased the other lads. One of the best days of cricket I've experienced."

A man on the opposition that day, Jason Roy, remembered being left astonished as to what had happened after Surrey had subsided from 143 for 2, with Kumar Sangakkara in control before clubbing to mid-on, to being left with the last-over scramble.

"Heartache. It was crazy," Roy said. "It was one of those days when you walked off the pitch and said 'what the hell has just happened?' But do you know what, it was great for the game, great for Gloucestershire, they played well and were the better team on the day and that is what sport is all about."

Recalling the team's progress through the tournament - which was anchored by Michael Klinger's 531 runs at 106.20 before a duck in the final - Marshall picked out a run chase early in the competition against Derbyshire where the team felt events could be going their way. They needed 20 off the last over from Chesney Hughes, who bowled a no-ball off what should have been the final delivery - for having too many fielders on the leg side - and the next ball was dispatched for the match-winning boundary by Howell.

"We needed 60 off four overs, then there was the no-ball. Some things went our way, but guys played good cricket," Marshall said. "Michael was outstanding and the guys feed off that. Our two spinners, Tom Smith and Jack Taylor, played really well - Jack with the bat as well - guys played good cricket. Although Michael was outstanding others played really important roles."

Marshall knows, though, that Gloucestershire will need to keep improving to have a chance of retaining their title - and have been hit by the blow of the Man of the Match from the final, Taylor, being suspended for a suspect action - but they will trust in the methods that proved successful for them last summer.

"As a group we'll stick to what worked for us last year. Hopefully guys will have improved over the winter, but winning last year will give us a lot of confidence. But we know teams will be after us, and they'll know us a little bit better. Like last year we'll need a lot of guys in good nick."

As proud sponsors of the One Day Cup, Royal London is giving away match tickets to see the action live. Visit royallondoncricket.com to enter.