These are heady days indeed for Somerset. The County Championship pennant could be hoisted for the first time at the County Ground at the end of this week, and Marcus Trescothick's men may cap off a superb season with a dream double after reaching a Lord's showpiece final yesterday.
Somerset hammered Essex, who were relegated from the First Division of the Championship last week, by 95 runs in their Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-final at Taunton yesterday to set up a day-night final next Saturday against Warwickshire, who surprisingly edged out Yorkshire by four wickets at Scarborough.
Somerset racked up a mighty 312 for 6, Marcus Trescothick again leading from the front, bludgeoning 79 off 62 balls with seven fours and two sixes. Nick Compton chipped in with a quickfire half-century and long-handle gems came from James Hildreth, Arul Suppiah and Jos Buttler.
Essex needed something of a miracle but lost England opener Alastair Cook early. The captain, James Foster, ensured the Eagles would go down fighting with a rapid 58 but there were more than 10 overs remaining when they were bowled out for 217.
At Scarborough, home fans must have been happy at the halfway stage after the White Rose totted up 257 for 5, Jacques Rudolph cruising to a century and Gerard Brophy hitting 64 off 46 balls with four maximums.
However, the Bears' batting – which has been so brittle in the Championship – is a different animal in the one-day format. Boosted by the presence of England batsman Ian Bell, who caressed 57 off 49 balls, Warwickshire reached their victory target with seven balls to spare, opener Varun Chopra chipping in with 70 and old hand Darren Maddy guiding them home with 34.
Warwickshire now turn their attention to staying in Division One of the Championship. Yorkshire can win the title if they beat Kent – which would consign Rob Key's men to the drop – and hope that Lancashire do their arch-rivals a favour and beat Nottinghamshire at Old Trafford.
But the big winners could be Somerset, who have come up on the rails and sit two points behind Notts in the title race. They will fancy their chances of beating Durham, piling the pressure on Chris Read's men and then capping a memorable campaign with victory over the Bears next Saturday.