A Day to Gladden the Somerset Heart – Somerset v Warwickshire – County Championship 2022 – 28th, 29th and 30th April – Taunton- First Day

County Championship 2022. Division 1. Somerset v Warwickshire. 28th, 29th and 30th April 2022. Taunton.

Sonny Baker and Peter Siddle were unavailable for selection by Somerset due to being injured.

Somerset. T.A. Lammonby, M.T. Renshaw, T.B. Abell (c), T. Banton, J.C. Hildreth, S.M. Davies (w), L. Gregory, C. Overton, J.H. Davey, J. Leach, J.A. Brooks.

Warwickshire. R.M. Yates, D.M. Sibley, W.M.H. Rhodes (c), A.L. Davies, S.R. Hain, M.J. Lamb, M.G.K. Burgess (w), N.J. McAndrew. C.N. Miles, D.R. Briggs, O.J. Hannon-Dalby,

Toss. Warwickshire. Elected to field.

First day 28th April – A day to gladden the Somerset heart

This was a day to gladden the Somerset heart. After those seven successive defeats the Somerset batting raced ahead of Warwickshire and barely missed a step as they went. Only James Hildreth did not deliver full measure from his innings, and his contribution was not inconsequential. Matt Renshaw brought back memories of his astonishing first sojourn with Somerset four years before with a century of measured class, his fourth in six home matches for the County. Tom Lammonby, who has been battling to establish himself as an opener, posted his first fifty of the season and crucially, with Renshaw, saw Somerset through to lunch without the loss of a wicket. There was a typically robust half century from Tom Abell, and by the end of the day Somerset had registered four batting points, kept six wickets in hand for the morrow and left the Warwickshire attack, Oliver Hannon-Dalby apart, flailing in their wake.

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Pure Theatre – Somerset v Warwickshire – County Championship 2022 – 28th, 29th and 30th April – Taunton – Final Day

County Championship 2022. Division 1. Somerset v Warwickshire. 28th, 29th and 30th April. Taunton.

Sonny Baker and Peter Siddle were unavailable for selection by Somerset due to being injured.

Somerset. T.A. Lammonby, M.T. Renshaw, T.B. Abell (c), T. Banton, J.C. Hildreth, S.M. Davies (w), L. Gregory, C. Overton, J.H. Davey, J. Leach, J.A. Brooks.

Warwickshire. R.M. Yates, D.M. Sibley, W.M.H. Rhodes (c), A.L. Davies, S.R. Hain, M.J. Lamb, M.G.K. Burgess (w), N.J. McAndrew. C.N. Miles, D.R. Briggs, O.J. Hannon-Dalby,

Overnight. Somerset 458. Warwickshire 197 for 9. Warwickshire trail by 261 runs with one second innings wicket standing.

Final day 29th April – Pure theatre

There are moments in a cricket match which stick in the memory for years afterwards. Craig Kieswetter, on returning from his ultimately career-ending eye injury, depositing the first bouncer he received into the flats at Taunton. Ian Botham, with the scores level, blocking out the final over of the 1983 Nat West Cup semi-final at Lord’s to ensure Somerset won the match having lost eight wickets to Middlesex’s nine. Pure theatre. There was one such moment on the third day of this match. With a potential washout forecast for the scheduled final day, Warwickshire were approaching tea, still 134 runs behind Somerset’s first innings total, with their second innings sixth-wicket pair beginning to look a little too comfortable for comfort, at least from a worrisome Somerset supporter’s perspective.

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Tom Abell – Somerset’s Eddystone Rock – Surrey v Somerset – County Championship 2022 – 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th April – The Oval – First Day

County Championship 2022. Division 1. Surrey v Somerset. 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th April 2022. The Oval.

Lewis Gregory and Sonny Baker were unavailable for selection by Somerset through injury.

Somerset. T.A. Lammonby, M.T. Renshaw, T.B. Abell (c), T. Banton, J.C. Hildreth, S.M. Davies (w), C. Overton, J.H. Davey, J. Leach, P.M. Siddle, J.A. Brooks.

Surrey. R.J. Burns (c), R.S. Patel, H.M. Amla, O.J.D. Pope, B.T. Foakes (w), S.M. Curran, W.G. Jacks, J. Overton, J. Clark, J.P.A. Taylor, R.J.W. Topley.

Toss. Somerset. Elected to bat.

First day 21st April – Tom Abell – Somerset’s Eddystone rock

There are better places to stay in London than Greenwich, or at least more convenient ones, if the purpose of your visit is to watch Somerset at The Oval. They are both in South London, but South London is a big place and there is quite a lot of it between the two. There is some consolation I suppose if the road that runs alongside your hotel is called Waller Way. I wonder what he did to impress himself upon the citizens on the meridian. Part of the expanse of South London that lies between Greenwich and The Oval, if you are dependent on public transport, is London Bridge station. Ten minutes by train from Greenwich and 15 minutes by bus from The Oval so it has its uses.

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Eyeball-to-eyeball cricket – Somerset v Essex – County Championship 2022 – 14th, 15th and 16th April – Taunton

County Championship 2022. Division 1. Somerset v Essex. 14th, 15th and 16thApril 2022. Taunton.

The following were unavailable for selection by Somerset through injury. Tom Banton, George Bartlett, Josh Davey and Sonny Baker, the last of whom will be unavailable for the immediate future. Matthew Renshaw has joined the squad, Craig Overton and Jack Leach have been approved to play by the ECB and Lewis Gregory and Jack Brooks have recovered from illness.

Somerset. B.G.F. Green, T.A. Lammonby, M.T. Renshaw, J.C. Hildreth, T.B. Abell (c), L.P. Goldsworthy, S.M. Davies (w), L. Gregory, C. Overton, P.M. Siddle, J. Leach.

Essex. N.L.J. Browne, Sir A.N. Cook, T. Westley, D.W. Lawrence, A.M. Rossington, M.J.J.Critchley, A.J.A. Wheater, S.R. Harmer, S. Snater, M.T. Steketee, S.J. Cook.

Toss. Essex. Elected to field.

First day 14th April – Eyeball-to-eyeball cricket

“This is worse than last week,” said the person who had been at Southampton with me. Somerset’s fifth wicket had just fallen with the score on 49 and lunch was still some way off. At Southampton, Somerset’s fifth first innings wicket had fallen at 61 on the stroke of lunch. The comment was both descriptive and prescient. At Southampton, Somerset reached 180 and the end of the innings signalled the tea interval. Here they were out for 109 and the tea interval was still 18 overs away. Looking around, the ground seemed as unprepared for the start of the season as the Somerset top order, although the Quantocks, resplendent in their April oilseed yellow, were reassuringly in attendance for the start of play. The River Stand was in the process of having new seating put in, but one section of it still consisted of bare concrete. Gimblett’s Hill is in the process of being reconfigured to make it accessible. The images of the new design have clean lines, and look impressive, but for the start of the season it consists of a remodelled base and neatly stacked piles of bricks. The scoreboard at the end of the Hill remained steadfastly blank throughout the match, perhaps awaiting the reconfigured Hill before it springs to life.

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Overton – a force of nature – Somerset v Essex – County Championship 2022 – 14th, 15th and 16th April – Taunton

County Championship 2022. Division 1. Somerset v Essex. 14th, 15th and 16th April 2022. Taunton.

The following were unavailable for selection by Somerset through injury. Tom Banton, George Bartlett, Josh Davey and Sonny Baker, the last of whom will be unavailable for the immediate future. Matthew Renshaw has joined the squad, Craig Overton and Jack Leach have been approved to play by the ECB and Lewis Gregory and Jack Brooks have recovered from illness.

Somerset. B.G.F. Green, T.A. Lammonby, M.T. Renshaw, J.C. Hildreth, T.B. Abell (c), L.P. Goldsworthy, S.M. Davies (w), L. Gregory, C. Overton, P.M. Siddle, J. Leach.

Essex. N.L.J. Browne, Sir A.N. Cook, T. Westley, D.W. Lawrence, A.M. Rossington, M.J.J. Critchley, A.J.A. Wheater, S.R. Harmer, S. Snater, M.T. Steketee, S.J. Cook.

Overnight. Somerset 109 and 154.  Essex 180 and 3 for 1. Essex need 81 more runs to win with nine second innings wickets standing.

Final day 16th April – Overton – a force of nature

The crowd was larger than might be expected for a final day with a foregone conclusion, namely a Somerset defeat, and little more than an hour’s play in prospect on a warm and sunny Bank Holiday Saturday. A rough count suggested in the region of 500 well spread around the ground, perhaps a few more. “You never know,” someone said as I climbed the stairs to the top of the Trescothick Pavilion. “You don’t,” I replied, “especially with Somerset!” After all, Somerset cricket is so much easier to understand if you expect the unexpected. Not that Craig Overton uprooting Sam Cook’s off stump with the second ball of the morning was entirely unexpected. Overton is a force of nature with the ball, and his first ball had flown off the edge of Alistair Cook’s bat like the proverbial bat out of hell, fallen short of slip and run down to third man in front of the Colin Atkinson Pavilion for a single.  

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Demolished. Hampshire v Somerset – County Championship 2022 – 7th – 9th April. AGEAS Bowl. Final day.

County Championship 2022. Division 1. Hampshire v Somerset. 7th, 8th and 9th April 2022. Southampton.

The following were unavailable for selection by Somerset. Matthew Renshaw (with Australia), Lewis Gregory and Jack Brooks (ill), Craig Overton and Jack Leach (required to rest by England), Tom Banton, George Bartlett, Josh Davey and Sonny Baker (injured).  

Hampshire. J.J. Weatherley, I.G. Holland, J.M. Vince (c), N.R.T. Gubbins, L.A. Dawson, B.C. Brown (w), J.K. Fuller, F.S. Organ, K.H.D. Barker, K.J. Abbott, Mohammad Abbas.

Somerset. B.G.F. Green, T.A. Lammonby, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, L.P. Goldsworthy, S.M. Davies (w), R.E. van der Merwe, K.L Aldridge, P.M. Siddle, E.O. Leonard, M. de Lange.

Overnight. Somerset 180 and 15 for 0. Hampshire 428. Somerset trail by 233 runs with ten second innings wickets standing.

Third day 9th April – Demolished

Despite yesterday’s late revival, this was as dispiriting a day for Somerset supporters as any at the end of 2021. The makeshift team had kept its head up on the second day under the most intense pressure from a powerful Hampshire side. On the third day, after initial resistance, it crumbled. The team will be stronger for the match against Essex which follows this one. There are uncertain times ahead in English domestic cricket and supporters will rest more easily if the result in that match begins the process of re-establishing Somerset’s position as one of the stronger teams in the top division.

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And the heads stayed up – Hampshire v Somerset – County Championship 2022 – 7th – 9th April – AGEAS Bowl. Second day.

County Championship 2022. Division 1. Hampshire v Somerset. 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th April 2022. Southampton.

The following were unavailable for selection by Somerset. Matthew Renshaw (with Australia), Lewis Gregory and Jack Brooks (ill), Craig Overton and Jack Leach (required to rest by England), Tom Banton, George Bartlett, Josh Davey and Sonny Baker (injured).  

Hampshire. J.J. Weatherley, I.G. Holland, J.M. Vince (c), N.R.T. Gubbins, L.A. Dawson, B.C. Brown (w), J.K. Fuller, F.S. Organ, K.H.D. Barker, K.J. Abbott, Mohammad Abbas.

Somerset. B.G.F. Green, T.A. Lammonby, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, L.P. Goldsworthy, S.M. Davies (w), R.E. van der Merwe, K.L Aldridge, P.M. Siddle, E.O. Leonard, M. de Lange.

Overnight. Somerset 180. Hampshire 109 for 0. Hampshire trail by 71 runs with ten first innings wickets standing.

Second day 8th April – And the heads stayed up

For all the travails of this match, and Somerset have really been under the cosh, I did not see a single head go down on the second day, young or old, and Somerset were never silent in the field. They have been outfought by a stronger team, but they stood toe-to-toe with Hampshire all day and got some reward for it in the end. It was bitterly cold sitting in the stands for seven hours, but I would not have missed a ball of it.

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A chill start – Hampshire v Somerset – County Championship 2022 – 7th – 9th April. AGEAS Bowl. First day.

County Championship 2022. Division 1. Hampshire v Somerset. 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th April 2022. Southampton.

The following were unavailable for selection by Somerset. Matthew Renshaw (with Australia), Lewis Gregory and Jack Brooks (ill), Craig Overton and Jack Leach (required to rest by England), Tom Banton, George Bartlett, Josh Davey and Sonny Baker (injured).  

Hampshire. J.J. Weatherley, I.G. Holland, J.M. Vince (c), N.R.T. Gubbins, L.A. Dawson, B.C. Brown (w), J.K. Fuller, F.S. Organ, K.H.D. Barker, K.J. Abbott, Mohammad Abbas.

Somerset. B.G.F. Green, T.A. Lammonby, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, L.P. Goldsworthy, S.M. Davies (w), R.E. van der Merwe, K.L Aldridge, P.M. Siddle, E.O. Leonard, M. de Lange.

Toss. Somerset. Elected to bat.

First day 7th April – A chill start

Whoever designed the transport system did not envisage Somerset supporters travelling from Somerset to the AGEAS bowl. When I came here for the experimental round of pink ball Championship matches in 2017, I came by car. The journey was 100 miles. It took five hours. The A303, alternately dual carriageway and single carriageway, was trying to do the job of a motorway in West Country summer traffic. This year, for the first Championship match of the season, my railway journey seemed to have been designed around randomly laid stretches of track which, by chance, happened to meet each other here and there. I can report that Romsey and Eastleigh are not stations where you would want to spend an extended layover, although Westbury has friendly staff, a small buffet and toilets that are open. Fortunately, the trains ran rather better than the plan to which the track had been laid. Sixteen, 16 and eight minutes were the extent of my connection times, and all four trains ran perfectly to time.

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