IT was one of one-day cricket’s classic finals.
Amid nail-biting scenes at Lord’s, Yorkshire won the 1987 Benson and Hedges Cup by virtue of losing fewer wickets against Northamptonshire after the scores finished tied.
Jim Love struck an unbeaten 75 and Arnie Sidebottom an undefeated two as Yorkshire scored 244-6 in reply to Northamptonshire’s 244-7.
Thus Yorkshire became only the fourth county after Essex, Kent and Lancashire to complete the full set of domestic trophies – the County Championship, the NatWest Trophy (formerly the Gillette Cup), the Sunday League and the B&H.
The foundation for Yorkshire’s successful run-chase at Lord’s was laid by Martyn Moxon and Ashley Metcalfe.
The opening batsmen added 97 in stylish manner, Moxon scoring 45 and Metcalfe 47.
Moxon had a fine tournament as Yorkshire won all seven matches – including group victories over Warwickshire, Lancashire, Worcestershire and Scotland, plus a quarter-final win against Hampshire and semi-final success against Surrey.
The current Yorkshire director of cricket scored 289 runs at 48.16 but it was Metcalfe, who won a staggering four man-of-the-match awards that year, who led the charge on his way to 445 runs at 89.00.
“It was the only trophy I won during my time at Yorkshire and extra special because of it,” said Metcalfe, who scored 5,520 limited-overs runs for the club at 32.09 to go with 10,465 first-class runs at 35.11.
“It was a fantastic summer in general and we played really well as a team that year, only falling away towards the end in the Championship because we didn’t have the depth of squad necessary to sustain a challenge.
“That B&H Cup win had massive meaning for me personally and even more so because we were still a Yorkshire-born team representing the county – the Yorkshire-born rule really gelled us together.”
Metcalfe got Yorkshire’s challenge off to the best possible start with an unbeaten 94 in the opening game against Warwickshire at Edgbaston, sharing an unbroken first-wicket stand of 211 with Moxon (93) in a crushing ten-wicket victory.
Metcalfe top-scored again in the next game against Lancashire at Headingley, firing 84 as Yorkshire won by 75 runs. An isolated failure followed in the 12-run victory over Worcestershire at Headingley, when he managed only nine, but Metcalfe was back to his best in the next match against Scotland at Glasgow, contributing 91 as Yorkshire won by seven wickets.
Metcalfe scored an unbeaten 93 in the nine-wicket quarter-final win against Hampshire at Leeds, repelling the best that Malcolm Marshall could throw at him, and hit 27 in the 76-run semi-final victory over Surrey at Headingley.
“People can go through their whole careers without winning a trophy, so to win the B&H and to be able to make an important contribution was something I shall always cherish,” added Metcalfe. “The final itself was a dramatic affair and a fantastic game of cricket for the neutral. It was a shame that someone had to lose.”
Metcalfe represented Yorkshire from 1983 to 1995 and looks back fondly on his time with the club.
He will always be remembered for his partnership with Moxon, one of the most successful in the county game.
“We had a really good understanding and friendship,” he recalled.
“Martyn was technically a superior player; he was very solid and could bat for long periods. I was slightly more attacking and adventurous and we complemented each other really well.”
Metcalfe still keeps a close eye on events at Headingley, where his former opening partner helped inspire the club’s promotion last summer back to Division One of the County Championship.
He feels it is not beyond the bounds of possibility they could follow up this year by winning the title.
“It’s certainly not out of the question and it would be great to mark the 150th anniversary of the club with a trophy,” he added. “The club is moving in the right direction.
“Yorkshire cricket is still deep in my heart, I still follow them closely and I’m desperate for them to do well.
“They look like they’ve got a good plan now and I’m excited about what they can potentially achieve.”