Butchers relishing Finals Day
Mark Butcher is relishing the prospect of participating in his first Twenty20 Cup finals day after Surrey overwhelmed Gloucestershire by 80 runs in their quarter-final clash at Bristol.
Surrey have featured in the latter stages on every occasion since the competition began in 2003 but injuries and England commitments have denied Butcher the chance to participate.
But there should be no such obstacle when the Brown Caps line up at Trent Bridge on August in their fourth successive semi-final.
Butcher said: "For me it is just fantastic to be back playing. I have really enjoyed leading the team. The team have really responded well to me and I have scored a few runs along the way.
"It is all good. It will be first finals day in the Twenty20. The first year I was contracted with England and the second year I played three games and injured myself during that run when all I had to do was get up in the morning to injure myself.
"Then last year I had the wrist injury all season. This game against Gloucestershire was only my fourth-ever Twenty20 appearance.
"It will be fantastic to play on finals day. I've been to all of the days but not been able to feature."
Butcher was quick to praise the contribution of Mark Ramprakash after Surrey had been put in to bat and hammered 224 for five - their highest score in the competition.
Ramprakash smashed 85 off 50 balls although a back spasm meant he was unable to field as Gloucestershire were dismissed for 144 in 18.5 overs.
Butcher said: "It was a little bit surprising to find us batting having lost the toss but then you've got to go out and put the score on the board.
"James Benning has been magnificent for us in the competition, as has Alistair Brown. They are a couple of fearsome people at the top of the order but perhaps the unsung guy has been Ramps.
"He has scored runs in every game at an extraordinary rate and just because he is such a classical batsman, people tend not to look at him as a Twenty20 player but he can smash it when he wants to.
"He is loving it. It is batting without a bit of pressure. Being a number three and four all his career in first-class cricket, you are often in repairing the business and you don't often get to go in and just open your shoulders like that.
"He really loves the opportunity to do that."
Surrey will be joined on finals day by 2004 winners Leicestershire, who had no problem overhauling Kent's 153 for five at Grace Road, easing home by nine wickets.
Darren Maddy led the way with an unbeaten 79 while HD Ackerman, who hit a triple century in the County Championship earlier this month, maintained his form with 50.
Kent, despite 75 from Martin van Jaarsveld, were largely curtailed by a fine opening spell from England hopeful Stuart Broad, who took three for 13.
Nottinghamshire ensured they would also be present for the finals day at their own ground of Trent Bridge with a 63-run home win over Northamptonshire.
David Hussey cracked 71 from just 34 balls, including five sixes, and Samit Patel hit four maximums in a 38-ball 65 to help the Outlaws to 213 for six.
Lance Klusener smashed an unbeaten 72 for the Steelbacks but disciplined bowling, notably from Ryan Sidebottom (two for 16), ensured they never got close.
Essex completed the semi-final line-up by beating Yorkshire by five wickets at Chelmsford.
Yorkshire's 143 for seven, with 43 from Gerard Brophy and 40 not out from Darren Lehmann, proved inadequate.
Jamie Foster (47no) put on 76 with Ryan ten Doeschate (27no) to see the Eagles to victory with four balls to spare.
The semi-final draw takes place on Tuesday evening.
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