Hampshire bowler ready for another nail-biter

Chris Wood. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
Chris Wood. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
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Chris Wood is bracing himself for more last-gasp thrills with old foes Somerset.

The bowler was in the Hampshire sides who have faced the Taunton-based outfit in three memorable encounters on finals days in the past five seasons.

Perhaps the most remarkable of them all was the last-ball victory for Hampshire on their home patch in 2010 to claim the trophy for the first time by losing fewer wickets.

Most will recall groundsman Nigel Gray famously trotting out to repaint the line on the crease for a runner as Dan Christian pulled a calf muscle with just one ball to go.

But the rematch in the semi-final the following year at Edgbaston was just as thrilling as the two teams required a super over to decide the winners, with Somerset taking the spoils on that occasion.

Hampshire, however, had the last laugh when the two rivals last met in 2012 – earning a six-wicket win in the semi-final on their way to the trophy in Cardiff.

And Wood is predicting another tight tussle in the showdown at Taunton today (5.30pm).

He said: ‘I’ve had a few nightmares about those games and them always going so close.

‘We had that semi-final game in 2012 and the famous one in 2010 in the final.

‘We just seem to like having close games with them.

‘Hopefully, we can put on a spectacle again.

‘We’ve had some unbelievable fixtures against them and we always seem to have very good games.’

With just one win from four fixtures so far in this season’s competition, Somerset have yet to find their usual power.

But Marcus Trescothick, Craig Kieswetter and Peter Trego are among the most potent top-order batting units in this year’s Natwest T20 Blast.

And Alfonso Thomas remains one of the most successful bowlers in those crucial final overs.

Wood said: ‘They are proven matchwinners.

‘They are usually there or thereabouts at quarter-finals or finals days.

‘They have got one of the best death bowlers in the world in Alfonso Thomas.

‘And Trescothick and Kieswetter have done well for many years.

‘It’s surprising Somerset haven’t done as well as they usually do so far.

‘They are a really good side and a great outfit who will be gunning for us.

‘If they get on a roll, they can still definitely make the top four with the new system this year.’

Wood, who underwent knee surgery over the winter, believes he is now bowling back to levels he should be and is in confident mood after the team’s easy win over Kent last time out.

‘The last game was where I want to be bowling-wise,’ added Wood.

‘I’ve probably struggled a little bit at times in the past three games having come back from injury.

‘The intensity of it all is slightly different to second team games.

‘But we go into every game confident.

‘With the side we’ve got at the moment and the way we have been performing, we would be stupid to go into a game thinking we weren’t going to win.’