Leach unleashed

County Championship Division 1. Nottinghamshire v Somerset. 11th, 12th and13th April 2019. Trent Bridge.

Final day. 13th April – Leach unleashed

Overnight. Nottinghamshire 263 and 25 for 2. Somerset 403. Nottinghamshire trail by 115 runs with eight second innings wickets standing.

It was just after noon when I sent the text about the pitch based on the first hour of play. No wickets had fallen and the expectation of wickets felt on the evening before was no longer there. The only bowler who looked like he might take a wicket was Overton. The batsmen did not look in any real trouble although their scoring had been severely restrained by the accuracy and intensity of Somerset’s hard-running pace attack. My text suggested a long day in the field, the long Abell-Bartlett partnership still strong in the memory. It also suggested Broad might find something in the pitch with the unwritten thought that he might test Somerset if a target were too great. Such were the thoughts of an incessant Somerset worrier. The response to my text was instantaneous. “Leach”. Abell’s response was just as instantaneous. He put Leach on at the Pavilion End.Read More »

Abell and Bartlett turn the tide

County Championship Division 1. Nottinghamshire v Somerset. 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th April 2019. Trent Bridge.

Overnight. Nottinghamshire 263. Somerset 74 for 3. Somerset trail by 189 runs.

Second day. 12th April – Days don’t come much better than this

“Days don’t come much better than this,” said the text. And they don’t. Somerset entered the second day of this match barely clinging on to parity. They ended it in a position of dominance. The change was almost entirely due to the quiet determination, skill and patience of Somerset’s captain, the 25-year-old Tom Abell, and 21-year-old George Bartlett. They carried on with the bat where they had left off the previous evening; with quiet, controlled, purposeful accumulation.Read More »

Momentum to Nottinghamshire

County Championship Division 1. Nottinghamshire v Somerset. 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th April 2019. Trent Bridge.

First day. 11th April – Momentum to Nottinghamshire

“Notts are in the ascendancy,” was the comment made by a fellow Somerset supporter as I made to leave the ground. And that is how it felt. Not just from the score but from the manner of its making. Nottinghamshire had made their 268 all out at all but four an over. Somerset’s 74 for 3 in response had been made at well under three. The Nottinghamshire batsmen attacked the bowling throughout their innings irrespective of the fall of wickets. It was rather reminiscent of Somerset’s approach in the first innings against Kent. In this match Somerset made a much more circumspect start. Nottinghamshire’s third wicket fell at 51 in the 11th over. Somerset’s at 36 in the 15th. Momentum is said to be important in shaping cricket matches. At the end of the first day Nottinghamshire have it in this one.Read More »

Somerset and the will to win

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Kent. 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th April 2019. Taunton.

Final day. 8th April – The will to win

Overnight. Somerset 171 and 171 for 7. Kent 209. Somerset lead by 133 runs with three second innings wickets standing.

There are times when cricket can truly lift the spirits to the heights. If you were a Somerset supporter this was one of those times. Somerset had spent the latter part of the third day desperately trying to pull this match back from the brink of defeat. For that is what the nadir of 32 for 4 in their second innings, still six behind Kent, had represented. The faces of most in the crowd had spoken of resignation to defeat. Tinged perhaps with hope but hope limited to that which could only be provided by a miracle.

It is clear now, looking back, that the Somerset team had other thoughts. Thoughts of turning a lost cause into a winning one through their own efforts. There would be no reliance on miracles on that side of the boundary. The fightback had started at the fall of that fourth wicket. By the close of the third day Somerset had reached 171 for 7, 133 runs into the lead in bowler friendly conditions. Much would depend on what those last three wickets could add on the final morning.Read More »

A repair job for Somerset

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Nottinghamshire. 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th April 2019. Taunton.

Third day. 7th April – Repair job

Overnight. Somerset 171. Kent 84 for 2. Kent trail by 87 runs with 8 first innings wickets standing.

It was a morning of sustained Somerset brilliance. The bowlers, particularly Gregory, Davey and Overton attacked, pressurised and harried the Kent batsmen. It is true the conditions favoured the them. The Quantocks had retreated behind the haze that had shrouded them on the second afternoon. On the third day the scene was even darker than on the second. Taunton’s newly installed lights were on before mid-day and they stayed on until mid-afternoon and, as the evening light faded, for the final over. How many extra hours of Championship cricket they will afford Somerset in a season would be worth monitoring. It may be enough one day to give Somerset the time they need to win a Championship, or to avoid relegation.

I arrived an hour before the start, the Sunday bus timetable and the gathering Taunton marathon seeing to that. It may have been darker than the previous morning but it was much warmer too. The wind had dropped. In two coats it was actually quite pleasant and two teams of cricketers playing football brought an air of familiarity which had been strangely absent from the scene on the previous morning.Read More »

Somerset rush their fences

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Kent. 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th April 2019. Taunton. 

First day. 5th April – No play. Rain. 

Second day. 6th April – ‘Rushing your fences’

There was a heavy mist on the Quantocks as if they had not quite kicked off their winter duvet in time for the start of the season. The point, which, viewed from the top of the Somerset Pavilion, sits neatly on the end of the Sir Ian Botham Stand, was virtually invisible as it slumbered in the mist. The ground was just as somnolent. The crowd rather lazily gathered itself together.Read More »