And so we come back to the Champions Trophy, that rarest of beasts: a one day competition in which we have a win.
A boat load of our players are still missing in action. More problematically, most of those that are available are knackered having been run into the ground in that abominable Hundred contest.
I keep the team as is.
Amazingly, we win the toss. I decide we’ll have a bat.
Tom Bailey takes the new ball against young Tommy Haines and Luke Wells.
Second ball, Haines is nearly walking after Bailey traps him on the crease. It’s not given by a millimetre. I puff my cheeks out. Tommy lives to fight another day.
Pensioner Graham Onions gets the treatment in his opening over. Wells slaps him for 10.
After 9 overs, we are 29-0. As ever, we are behind the run rate. “Hurry up!” I screech from the balcony.
Highly unusually, it does actually seem to work. Haines’ 50 comes up with a flat batted six and they have moved the score to 88-0.
We get to the 100 off 20 overs. Both the batsmen are set fair and Lancashire are, inexplicably, bowling their spinners into the ground.
“Cash in!” I scream.
Wells follows his young colleague into the half century club. 51 from 70 balls is helpful but he could up the strike rate if I was being picky. Which I am.
A card comes up informing me that their stand of 123 is a record partnership. Both batsmen celebrate by trying to get out in shoddy fashion.
They both survive by the skins of their teeth.
But not for long: Wells is out, clean bowled by slow left arm pie chucker Hartley. 125-1.
The good news is that, with half the overs gone, Travis Head can be as expansive as he likes from this platform.
Haines seems keen to just carry on batting. In fact, even his miscues begin going for six.
Obviously, he gets out next over to Hartley, caught trying to smack another boundary. Gone for a fluid 82. This kid is a find. 144-2.
Stiaan van Zyl joins Head at the wicket. Our two best batsmen together. This partnership makes or breaks our chances of a win.
The pair do not disappoint. They go at a run a ball or above, and force the run rate over 5.5.
We reach the 40th over 232-2, van Zyl 45 from 43 and Head 45 from 37.
Onions does creep to the wicket and, with aching joints, dislodge van Zyl next over but 232-3 is still a lot better than we’ve done at other times this season.
Head snares his 50 from 45 balls and George Munsey, who has been a revelation in this tournament, is on 14 off 9. 255-3.
Our final total of 295 is a new record high score for us in a one day tournament. Head finishes 76 from 64 not out and Munsey 32 from 32.
They need 5.9 an over and we have a tally to bowl to for about, hmm, the first time this season.
Keaton Jennings opens with Wayne Weatherall for the northerners.
I give Olly Robinson the new nut and tell him to have at it. I push his aggression to “bonkers“ for the opening over. Let’s break some batsmen here lads.
Robinson does bowl Weatherall in his second over, but sadly, it’s a no ball. He lives to fight another day. 15-0 off 3.
Aaron Thomason comes on as first change. It’s not long before Jennings is trotting off, a damning leg before wicket against his name and they’re 35-1.
261 to get, at 6.1 an over.
Kiwi BJ Watling partners Weatherall and we sling on Will Beer from the other end. They tick on ok the new pair, until Weatherall tries to dance down the wicket to our boy. Jennings carries out the regulation stumping and he’s off for 23. 48-2.
248 to get, at 6.5 an over.
Irishman Andrew Balbirnie partners with Watling and they do really well to shore up the scoring. They move to 115-2 leaving them 181 to get at 6.4 an over.
Head turns his arm over and Watling moves to his 50, from 50 balls.
However, the Aussie snares him next ball as he snicks behind and Jonty Jenner makes no mistake with the catch. 120-3.
Steve Croft is next man in and he is not going to die wondering. He progresses to 29 from 16. They shove on to 166-3.
130 to get at 5.9 an over. Advantage them.
I throw on Munsey. His bowling isn’t terrible. Third ball, Croft snicks, Jenner does the business and he’s singing the song of the out. Walking for 30.
168-4, 128 to get at 5.9 an over.
Lancashire’s number 6 is Josh Bohannon. He does well until he decides that he’s going to run out that thorn in my posterior Balbirnie for 47. “Tatty bye!” I shout from the safety of the pavilion.
177-5, 119 to get at 6.4 an over.
Liam Hurt looks to be a very decent number 7. However, Munsey nearly gets him early, but is waved away by the umpires.
As the 100 to get comes up, I bring back Robinson. Our big man makes no mistake and Hurt can retire to nurse his wounds. 201-6.
35/50 overs bowled, 95 to get at 6.5 an over.
Bohannon also joins Robinson’s list of victims. Gone for 21. 226-7
39/50 overs bowled, 70 to get at 6.4 an over.
Tom Bailey joins Danny Lamb at the wicket for Lancs.
Munsey’s second spell opens well. He gets milked for 3 off the first ball but then Bailey departs, caught by Meaker at mid on for 5. 235-8.
40/50 overs bowled, 61 to get at 6.3 an over.
They dig in and keep ticking on. With 5 overs to go, they are 259-8 and need 37 runs at 7.4 an over. If we keep our discipline we could add another victory to our record.
Dare to dream.
In the same over, Graham Onions has never looked bothered – until Meaker sucks him into a false stroke. Caught behind, gone. 261-9.
35 runs to get at 8.4 an over.
Somewhat staggeringly, Munsey bowls his eighth over. He only goes and traps Lamb leg before wicket and they’re all out for 261.
We win again! Head gets the Man of the Match gong for carrying his bat, but it’s a brilliant team effort.
We rise to the headache-inducing heights of fifth, level on points with our vanquished rivals Lancashire, and only 2 behind Kent in third.
Do we? Do we think we can do this? Dare to dream?