County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Kent. 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 »
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 »
It was the dark flowing locks that first caught my attention. It was almost as far back as the start of the current millennium. I specify the current millennium because it does seem that Peter Trego has been around an awfully long time. I was sitting in the old River Stand at Taunton and Trego was running in hard from the River End. I don’t remember the match, just the locks, and the bowler putting everything into his bowling. He looked like he had a future in the game.Read More »
RLODC. Taunton. 10th May 2017. Somerset v Hampshire.
This match was played a few days after Somerset’s stunning performance against Glamorgan at Cardiff. Tolstoy is joined by Oscar Wilde and the occasional artist. At the time Taunton’s scoreboards were famously erratic.
On Friday after Somerset’s all but perfect performance at Cardiff I reported that Leo Tolstoy, denier of perfection, turned in his grave. Today at Taunton Oscar Wilde must have smiled in his for we had the cricketing version of The Picture of Dorian Gray.Read More »
RLODC. Glamorgan v Somerset. 5th May 2017. Cardiff.
This match took place in the 2017 Royal London One-Day Cup. The references to matches against Surrey and Kent are to matches which took place earlier in the 2017 competition. The references to the Taunton scoreboards are to their propensity to break down at the time. A shortcoming now rectified by the installation of new scoreboards.
And for those who were not there …
“If you look for perfection you will never be content,” wrote Leo Tolstoy in Anna Karenina. It is a dictum many cricket followers would do well to remember. No bowler can bowl as well as the critic at the back of the stand. No batsman bat as well as the one in the bar. Then on the field there is always the long hop or the full toss to irritate. The one left on to the stumps or the charged down the wicket to be stumped to exasperate. We watch a game perfect in every respect in our minds yet riddled with imperfections in the playing. Not though if you were a Somerset supporter at Glamorgan’s Sophia Gardens of old on Friday. Somerset’s performance was all perfection or as near to it as any cricket is ever likely to be.Read More »
This poem was originally posted on grockles.com ahead of the first round of County Championship matches played with a pink ball in June 2017. I am not sure why I did not think of the simple solution to finding rhyming words for poems earlier. Use the same word 43 times in 12 lines, well, if you include the plurals…
The Pink Ball Blues or The Batsman’s Lament
Swinging ball, seaming ball, spinning ball, skidding ball.
Old ball, new ball, soft ball, hard ball.
No ball, wide ball, dead ball, lost ball.
Quicker ball, bouncing ball, slower ball, flighted ball.Read More »
The weather forecast for Somerset’s RLODC 50-over match against Middlesex at Lord’s in 2017 was cataclysmic to biblical proportions. A series of low top order partnerships had led to much discussion among Somerset supporters about where in the top order Dean Elgar, Somerset’s then overseas player, should bat. His sharing of a name with England’s greatest composer (discuss) led to him being referred to by some as ‘Nimrod’.
I penned a ditty to mark the prediction. The prediction of the forecasters and my poem came to pass and the question of Elgar’s batting position was never resolved.Read More »
T20 International. England v South Africa. 23rd June 2017. Taunton.
As Somerset CCC prepare to host three one-day internationals and install floodlights at the Cooper Associates County Ground here is a reminder of the last mens’ international to be played at Taunton. Or at least of the impression its staging made when viewed on television.
I bought a day of pay tv to watch the T20 International. £6.99. It was worth every penny.Read More »
County Championship. Somerset v Kent. 20th, 22nd and 23rd June 1959. Taunton. First Day.
My father was a musician and a good one by the account of those who knew about such things. The consequence was that his entire sense of timing was applied to his music. He had none left for anything else. As a result we were late everywhere we went and for everything we did. Cricket was not spared.
20th June 1959 dawned full of expectation and my heart beat fast. It was the day of my second visit to the County Ground. My grandfather and father had come armed with Somerset membership cards. The only flaw in the plan was that getting to the ground depended on my father driving us. His sense of time absent, as always, we arrived 35 minutes late. Details like that stick in the mind when it is only your second Somerset match.Read More »
Somerset v Kent in one-day cricket – from the 1967 Gillette Cup Final to the 1983 NatWest Trophy Final
From 1967 to 1983 Kent were one of Somerset’s main one-day rivals. It was a decade and a half marked by periodic set-piece matches between two great one-day sides. The Somerset teams of the time contained such great Somerset names as Viv Richards, Ian Botham, Tom Cartwright, Peter Denning, Vic Marks, Joel Garner, Hallam Moseley, Derek Taylor, Roy Virgin, Mervyn Kitchen, Peter Roebuck, Graham Burgess, Colin Dredge, Brian Close, Brian Rose and in the very first match Bill Alley and Ken Palmer. For Kent there were Colin Cowdrey, Mike Denness, Asif Iqbal, Alan Knott, Derek Underwood, Alan Ealham, Bob Woolmer and John Shepherd; and for both sides, as they say, many others.Read More »
RLODC (50 overs) South Group. Somerset v Surrey. 18th May 2018. The Oval.
In 2018 Somerset made their best start to a County Championship season for a quarter of a century. This was the first match of the Royal London One-Day Cup campaign.
Toss. Somerset. Elected to field.
My coach from Somerset carefully times its journey to ensure I miss the first 15 minutes of any match starting at eleven o’ clock at The Oval. I arrived at the ground in a slightly disoriented state after changing tube trains at Kennington. I had hopped on the next clearly indicated ‘southbound’ train only for an equally clear announcement to inform me the train was going northbound to Ealing Broadway and the next stop was Elephant and Castle. As the overs slipped by I jumped off at ‘Elephant and Castle’ with the intention of running to the southbound platform only to discover I was already on it and at Oval station. The next announcement said a normal service was running on all lines.
I took off for the sanctuary of The Oval only to find the authorities there had pitched in with a bit more disorientation. No bag search. A white ball match without a bag search. What is the world coming to? I really began to wonder when I reached the top of the steps into the Peter May Stand. The scoreboard said 13 for 3.Read More »
As England continue to struggle in the West Indies I have decided to follow up my acrostic poem, ‘Hildreth for England’, hint to the selectors of a week ago with a more direct nudge in the form of a six verse song penned two years ago. For those old enough to remember try this to the tune of ‘The British Grenadiers’.
Some talk of Vivian Richards and some speak of Gimblett,
Of Botham and Bill Alley and many others yet.
But of Somerset’s great heroes, there’s none finessed and played
With the glorious art and poetry that Hildy’s bat arrays. Read More »
After England’s first innings 77 in Barbados I couldn’t resist this 18 line ditty with a (barely) hidden message…
How can this have come to pass so emphatically?
In days of calculated selection, and analysis done scientifically.
Laptops with propensity to algorithmic complexity
Describing biochemistry, giving weight to muscularity.Read More »
County Championship. Somerset v Worcestershire. 23rd, 25th and 26th July 1977. Taunton.
The prospect of Marcus Trescothick opening the Championship batting for Somerset at the age of 43 in 2019 brought back memories of two other emeritus England batsmen playing in a Championship match at Taunton. It was in a different age and the nature of Championship cricket was as different as the age.Read More »
Another poem with a message. This one involves two great Somerset slow left arm spinners, J.C. ‘Farmer’ White and Jack Leach. Both the poem and the message were requested by a reader. Four verses, each with a word of the message. The message is decipherable without reference to Bletchley Park. Just in case there is any doubt start at the beginning and keep left.
TWO SOMERSET JACKS
Just suppose our spinning Jacks could meet awhile
And swap their tales of batsmen put to flight.
Confer about the dip and drift and the secrets of their style.
Keeping the faith of the art of spin, keeping it shining bright.Read More »
A poem for the New Year. A poem with a riddle contained within it. The answer to the riddle is contained within the poem. The answer should be easy for any Somerset supporter to arrive at. But where is it in the poem? In the interests of New Year goodwill that is not too difficult either. At least it isn’t if you know where to start looking…Read More »
Gillette Cup Semi-Final. Middlesex v Somerset. 17th, 18th, 19th, 24th, 25th and 26th August 1977. Lord’s.
Somerset’s last match in the group stages of the 2017 Royal London One Day Cup against Middlesex was due to be played at Lord’s on 17th May. The forecast was poor and I decided against attending. The heavens emptied and the match was rained off without a ball being bowled. There was nothing to report and so I reported my memories of another rained off one-day match at Lord’s 40 years previously which I had travelled to watch.
The reason for the string of dates above will become apparent. So too will one of the more bizarre succession of circumstances in English domestic cricket.
Read More »
As we move from one year into the next here is a short five stanza poem to take us from one to the other … again
Six months moping,
Six months hoping,
Six months dreaming,
Six months awaiting
October’s heart is exhausted.
November’s heart tormented.Read More »
As Somerset have floodlights installed at the heart of this festive season a vision of the future comes to visit…
FLOODLIGHTS AT THE COUNTY GROUND
THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS FUTURE
It’s Christmas Day at the County Ground and the lights are shining bright
But some elves were in and hatched a plan in the middle of the night.
They smirked their knowing smiles around as they scaled the pylons’ heights.
Then removed the leds and replaced them all with sparkling fairy lights.Read More »
John Player’s County League. Somerset v Yorkshire. 10th August 1969. Taunton.
Some memories of the format of the iconic John Player League in its first season and of the first match attended by the author. An Australian teenager by the name of Greg Chappell had been signed as Somerset’s overseas player.
Toss. Somerset. Elected to field.
2019 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the John Player League, or as it was formally called in 1969, the John Player’s County League. Like T20 three and a half decades later the new competition was designed to attract a new audience.Read More »