1989 Refuge Assurance Cup (partially found footage of one-day county cricket tournament matches; 1989)

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The final ball of the Final.

Status: Partially Found

The 1989 Refuge Assurance Cup was a one-day 40-over county cricket tournament. Occurring on 6th and 17th September 1989, the Final commenced in front of around 8,000 at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground, and saw Essex narrowly defeat Nottinghamshire by five runs to claim its sole Refuge Assurance Cup.


The Refuge Assurance Cup was a short-lived tournament used to conclude the Refuge Assurance Sunday League season.[1] It would feature the top-four ranking counties in the league competing in one-day knockout matches consisting of 40-overs and the Sunday League rules.[1] Defending champions Lancashire were the 1989 Refuge Assurance League champions, and so qualified for the tournament alongside Worcestershire, Essex, and Nottinghamshire.[2][3] As they and Worcestershire finished first and second respectively, they held the home advantage in their Semi-Final clashes against Nottinghamshire and Essex respectively.[2] Essex in particular were seeking retribution, for a 25-points deduction over a below-standard pitch for first-class cricket cost them the Sunday League title, Nottinghamshire also being subject to the same sanction.[4] Essex's season in general was fraught with frustration, having also lost the Britannic Assurance County Championship and Benson & Hedges Cup to Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire respectively.[5][6][7]

The Tournament

Both Semi-Finals occurred on 6th September, with Lancashire hosting Nottinghamshire at Old Trafford.[8][5] Lancashire's title defence started disastrously, as the team limped to 20/4. The team's batters were unable to cope with Andy Pick, who ultimately took four wickets.[5][8] One of these saw Mike Watkinson out for a duck.[8] Lancashire's performance then improved thanks to a partnership between Neil Fairbrother and Wasim Akram, which yielded an additional 110 runs over 22 overs.[5][8] However, after a Pick bowl saw Akram caught by Eddie Hemmings, the team sluggishly accumulated 187/9, with Franklyn Stephenson contributing to Fairbrother and two other batsmen's eliminations.[5][8] In contrast, Nottinghamshire started strongly, a partnership between Chris Broad and Paul Pollard accumulating 84 runs in 22 overs, before Broad was caught by Gehan Mendis, and Pollard was bowled out by Jack Simmons.[5][8] Ultimately, Lancashire failed to prevent Tim Robinson and Derek Randall reaching the 166 mark.[5][8] Despite Robinson's later elimination, Nottinghamshire managed to win via five wickets with four balls remaining.[5][8]

Meanwhile, Worcestershire played host to Essex at the County Ground.[9][5] After losing two wickets and scoring just 23 runs, the arrival of Paul Prichard enabled Essex to steadily accumulate runs, Prichard ultimately achieving 82 not out despite enduring a pitch not suited for strokeplayers like himself.[5][9] Despite Neal Radford and Stuart Lampitt taking two wickets each, Prichard, in part thanks to a partnership with Derek Pringle, guided Essex to 211/7 by the inning's end.[9][5] Worcestershire's campaign comparatively started horrendously, losing two wickets after only scoring six runs, with Graeme Hick out for a duck.[9][5] Though Phil Neale scored 22 runs, Worcestershire were swiftly picked off by Essex's bowlers, Graham Gooch taking three wickets, while John Lever and John Stephenson both took two each.[9][5] Worcestershire collapsed to 110 all out after 34.1 overs, giving Essex a dominant victory.[9][5]

On 17th September, in a rematch of the 1989 Benson & Hedges Final, Nottinghamshire and Essex competed at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground, with around 8,000 in-attendance.[10][5][7] Nottinghamshire won the toss and elected to field first, most likely as Edgbaston reportedly suited bowlers at the batsmen's expense.[5][10] Essex started slowly, scoring 52 runs between Gooch and Brian Hardie, before they were bowled out by Pick and Kevin Saxelby respectively.[5][10] A more successful partnership commenced between Prichard and Nasser Hussain, achieving nine boundaries and 88 runs between them, before both were ultimately run out.[5][10] Essex set a total of 160/5 following 40 overs.[10][5] Nottinghamshire's innings started decently courtesy of 39 runs from Broad, 12 from Pollard, and 22 via Robinson.[10][5] However, four wickets taken by Pringle, as well as two each from Gooch and John Childs, gnawed into Nottinghamshire's offence, something that Hemmings' 24 runs and two sixes struggled to overcome as wickets continually fell.[10][5]

Nevertheless, Nottinghamshire were still in contention in the final over, requiring six runs from three balls to win.[5][10] Alas, Hemmings' shot was caught by Waugh, giving Essex the final wickets and allowing the team to win by five runs.[5][10] This interestingly meant that all four competing teams won a major county cricket competition in 1989.[3][2][7][6] Additionally, this marked Essex's only instance of winning the Refuge Assurance Cup, with the tournament abolished after 1991.[3][1]


Issues from Radio Times confirms that unlike in 1988, both the Semi-Finals and Final received television coverage from the BBC.[11] The Semi-Finals each received some live BBC 2 coverage, split into two timeslots.[12][11] One, from 11:20 am to 13:20 pm, was fully dedicated to the matches, while the 13:35-15:50 pm timeslot was shared with news and weather segments.[12][11] The Final would also receive live BBC 2 coverage as part of its Grandstand programming.[13][11] While timings were subject to change, Radio Times noting that cricket coverage was to have commenced from 13:05-14:25, 14:45-15:40, and 16:20 to 18:15 pm, being split by the broadcast of the Shell Oils ACU Super Cup from Brands Hatch.[13][11]

Ultimately, very little of this footage has publicly resurfaced.[14] As noted by Gazza1976 in a discussion over missing county cricket footage, clips from the 1980s and early-1990s are generally uncommon, with non-Final match footage being especially uncommon.[14] But while no footage from the Semi-Finals have resurfaced, the last overs of the Final were uploaded to YouTube on 29th September 2020 by DM MORDECAI. The full tape of the match remains unaccounted for.



Last overs of the Final.

See Also

External Link


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 ESPNcricinfo summarising the history of the Sunday League and its short-lived knockout cup. Retrieved 15th Jun '23
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Archived Cricket Archive detailing the 1989 Refuge Assurance League table. Retrieved 15th Jun '23
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians listing the winners of the Refuge Assurance Cup. Retrieved 15th Jun '23
  4. Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 1990 noting Essex lost the Sunday League because of a 25-points deduction. Retrieved 15th Jun '23
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19 5.20 5.21 5.22 Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 1990 summarising the tournament and matches (pg. 812-815). Retrieved 15th Jun '23
  6. 6.0 6.1 Wisden detailing the 1989 Britannic Assurance County Championship table. Retrieved 15th Jun '23
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 ESPNcricinfo detailing the results of the 1989 Benson & Hedges Cup. Retrieved 15th Jun '23
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 Archived Cricket Archive detailing the Lancashire-Nottinghamshire result and statistics. Retrieved 15th Jun '23
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Archived Cricket Archive detailing the Worcestershire-Essex result and statistics. Retrieved 15th Jun '23
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 Archived Cricket Archive detailing the Nottinghamshire-Essex result and statistics. Retrieved 15th Jun '23
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 BBC Genome archive of Radio Times issues detailing the BBC's coverage of the tournament. Retrieved 15th Jun '23
  12. 12.0 12.1 Issue 3,430 of Radio Times detailing BBC 2's coverage of the Semi-Finals. Retrieved 15th Jun '23
  13. 13.0 13.1 Issue 3,430 of Radio Times detailing BBC 2's coverage of the Final. Retrieved 15th Jun '23
  14. 14.0 14.1 Cricket Web discussing missing county cricket footage, including of the 1989 Refuge Assurance Cup. Retrieved 15th Jun '23