WHEN Lewis Gregory appeared at his first T20 Finals Day in 2012, he could have been forgiven for thinking it would become a regular occurrence.

The all-rounder’s finals day bow came on Somerset’s fourth appearance there in as many years but, as had been the case in the previous three, they left without the trophy – and haven’t been back since.

Gregory has led from the front to secure a return to the top table this summer. In his first season as T20 captain, the 26-year-old has blasted 321 runs in 12 innings at a remarkable strike rate of 216.89 as well as taking 17 wickets with the ball.

He saved his most destructive knock for the quarter-final win over Nottinghamshire in Taunton. Coming in at 128-5 with 5.3 overs left, Gregory fired 60 not out from 24 balls to completely shift the momentum of the match and book a place at Edbgaston.

Now the Devonian all-rounder is aiming to become the first Somerset skipper since Graeme Smith in 2005 to bring silverware back to Taunton – a barren spell of 13 years which has come as a surprise to Gregory.

“A trophy is long overdue, particularly given some of the teams that I’ve played in and watched here since then – I think we’ve deserved a lot more than we’ve got,” he said.

“This team might not have the high-profile names that some of the other sides have had, but it’s one of the best I’ve played in in terms of guys fighting for each other and working for each other. 

“We have seen throughout the competition that guys are willing to do the hard yards for someone else, which is the hallmark of a really good environment and a good team. 

“There are some big-game players in our squad and we have seen that throughout this year’s competition. 

“When we have needed someone to stand up and put their hands up to win a game they have done that, and I don’t expect that to stop just because it’s a high-profile game. We have some talented lads in the squad and hopefully they’ll show that on the big occasion.

“At the start of the competition we set out to bat really deep, knowing we were going to be playing on some flat wickets here [in Taunton] and small boundaries and a quick outfield. 

“If we lose a few early wickets we still have the firepower to post big totals.

“My experience of playing in finals day will help, but we are just trying to treat it as another game of cricket. That’s all it is at the end of the day. Hopefully we can go out there and perform as we have been.”

Gregory, who has flourished at number seven this summer having opened the batting in this competition last time out, has thrived under the added responsibility of the captaincy.

“It’s been tough at times, but thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding,” he said.

“The guys have been tremendous throughout the competition - it’s a lot easier when you are winning games!

“It is a very fast game so you have to make snap judgement calls. You can’t dwell on it too much if it doesn’t go the right way. 

“The other players have been fantastic in helping me and giving me ideas if they think something needs to change or isn’t quite right. 

“You have to trust your gut and back that you’ve got the cricket intelligence to call it right.

“Hopefully there are now two more games where we can put in good performances and bring the cup home.

“It would be a hugely proud moment for myself and the whole team if it does happen. We have got two games to fight for that trophy and I have got every confidence we’ll be able to do it.”

Leading by example - Lewis Gregory's T20 tournament so far:

  • 2-37 v Gloucestershire (Taunton)
  • 2 & 0-38 v Kent (Taunton)
  • 19 (13) & 2-32 v Gloucestershire (Bristol)
  • 0-42 & 17* (6) v Middlesex (Lord's)
  • 15* (12) & 0-38 v Glamorgan (Cardiff)
  • 50* (23) & 0-18 v Surrey (The Oval)
  • 62 (26) & 4-28 v Middlesex (Taunton)
  • 24 (9) & 0-41 v Hampshire (Taunton)
  • 1-31 v Essex (Taunton)
  • 1-38 & 1 (4) v Sussex (Hove)
  • 2-27 v Hampshire (Southampton)
  • 1-43 & 5* (4) v Surrey (Taunton)
  • 22 (10) & 1-43 v Glamorgan (Taunton)
  • 1-40 & 44* (15) v Kent (Canterbury)
  • 60* (24) & 2-29 v Notts (Taunton/QF)