Former England bowler Jade Dernbach scoffs at the notion that Surrey are flirting with the tag of chokers but acknowledges that failing to make it third time lucky at Lord’s on Saturday is unthinkable.
Surrey play Nottinghamshire in the final of the Royal London One-Day Cup as they bid to clinch their first piece of major silverware since winning the now-defunct Clydesdale Bank 40 in 2011.
It is familiar territory for Dernbach and his team-mates after reaching the lattermost stage of the tournament in each of the past two seasons, only for Gloucestershire and then Warwickshire to thwart their quest for one-day silverware.
“For a team to achieve the feat of getting to three consecutive finals in this era, knowing how competitive one-day cricket is, I would laugh at any such labels [of chokers],” Dernbach told City A.M.
“To be labelled anything would be disrespectful to what have been some very good performances. It ends up being a one-off game and comes down to who is best on the day. That’s all it is and we’ll only be concentrating on positive vibes.
“But the two defeats have been pretty tough to take. Anybody who has been involved in a final, worked that hard to get to that point, but failed to get over the line knows it is very disappointing.
“We have been hurting and winning this competition is something we really want to do. We’ve been playing the best one-day cricket now for a very long time so we just need to top it off with a trophy.”
Dernbach, who has claimed 14 scalps in this season’s competition, admits his side’s eight-wicket thrashing by Warwickshire last term was a by-product of an unhealthy fixation on unfinished business.
“I think there could be a case for us thinking too much about that last year in terms of trying to avenge what was a tight game against Gloucestershire in 2015,” added Dernbach.
“We really just didn’t turn up last year so we’ve scratched that out of our minds and are seeing this as a whole new challenge, taking it on its merit and focusing on the best Surrey team turning up.
“It’s just a mental thing. It is a case of everybody understanding that it’s a big occasion but not getting overawed by it. Rather than thinking ‘we have to do this because we lost two previous finals’, it’s more a case of ‘we have to beat Nottinghamshire to win a final’.
“That’s the change in mindset which will be important leading into Saturday because we can’t do anything about the two previous years. They’ve been and gone.”
The 31-year-old concedes that a solitary frontline trophy since a limited-overs double in 2003 does not befit a club of Surrey’s stature, with the financial resources and talent at its disposal.
But they are in striking distance of the County Championship Division One summit and will be able to call upon a battery of international stars when the T20 Blast begins next week.
Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara, Australia T20 captain Aaron Finch, former England skipper Kevin Pietersen and present-day opener Jason Roy will form part of a formidable looking line-up.
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Dernbach believes success at Lord’s can prove a catalyst for a flurry of honours.
“We are in a very strong position on all fronts and it is a great opportunity for this squad to win things. It’s important we grasp that opportunity,” said Dernbach.
“To win the first trophy of the season and still be involved in another two competitions would be a great place to be. We want to tick things off one box at a time and it starts here.
“A club of our size, our infrastructure and the drive we have off the field needs to be matched by what we’re producing on the field. We are here to win trophies.”