T20 FINALS DAY: Crook wants to experience that winning feeling again

MAGICAL MEMORY - Steven Crook is congratulated after claiming a wicket in the 2013 T20 final win over Surrey
MAGICAL MEMORY - Steven Crook is congratulated after claiming a wicket in the 2013 T20 final win over Surrey

“Win!”. That is Steven Crook’s response when asked what he and his Steelbacks team-mates have learned from last year’s NatWest T20 Blast disappointment at Edgbaston.

Crook and Co overcame Birmingham Bears in the day’s first semi-final, but were edged out by Lancashire Lightning in the showpiece.

It meant no repeat of the 2013 glory at the same ground and ensured the Steelbacks were forced to walk past the trophy rather than picking it up.

And now Northants will look to go one better when they travel to Edgbaston for the third time in four seasons this Saturday.

David Ripley’s side will face Nottinghamshire Outlaws first up at 11am in the semi-finals as they look to set up a final against Durham Jets or David Willey’s Yorkshire Vikings.

And talented all-rounder Crook, who is battling to be fit for the weekend, said: “It’s one of those things, it’s a knockout game and it’s a final and we’ll just approach it and do our research on the players and go out and give it our best shot and if it happens it happens.

“If we’re good enough then hopefully we’ll bring a trophy back here.

“It would be great again, it’s a great experience and we just missed out last year. We’ve had that experience of winning and losing, and it’s much better to win than it is to lose.”

So how much of an edge will Northants’ recent Edgbaston experience give them against a Nottinghamshire side who have not been to finals day since the one at Southampton in 2010?

“We’ve done pretty well there in the past so we’re looking forward to it,” said Crook, who was part of the Steelbacks side that beat Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston in the 20-over competition earlier this season.

“It’s a good ground and it’s a ground we have won a lot of games on so who knows on Saturday?

“We just can’t wait, it’s a fantastic day and everyone’s buzzing. It’s great to win a quarter-final in front of our home crowd as well.”

Northants have thrived on pressure in recent years, and Crook is hoping they can do so again this weekend.

“It’s such a great day,” he said.

“We’ll just approach it as we approach every other game, and just try and enjoy ourselves and enjoy the spectacle.

“It’s the biggest day of the year for us, there’s going to be a big crowd there hopefully, and you know we just love that sort of thing and it’s great for the players, it’s great for the club and it’s great for the town to reach it again.

“Little old Northants, three out of the last four years!

“We’re really proud and credit to David Ripley and the coaching staff and obviously Alex Wakely as well.

“We’ve pulled together and hopefully we can do something special again.”