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.
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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 »
A view from beyond the boundary…
Around Christmas 2016 some memories of Hallam Moseley were posted on grockles.com after some footage of the John Player League appeared on one of the discussion threads. It brought back my own memories of Moseley and his time with Somerset. I posted the following, now expanded, article as a tribute to a player who gave his all to Somerset and touched the hearts of a generation of Somerset supporters.
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Gillette Cup Semi-Final. Kent v Somerset. 14th August 1974. Canterbury.
As the ECB confirm arrangements for the ‘100’ competiton in 2020 a return to a different world in my ‘Memories’ series. Return to 1974 for images imprinted on my memory of a gripping match which was played in a 60 overs a side competition at less than three runs an over.
Toss. Kent. Elected to field.
The 1974 Gillette Cup semi-final at Canterbury is burned into my memory and vivid images abound there. I re-run them often. The impact it made perhaps reflects the importance of Semi-Finals, and for that matter Quarter-Finals, in the two one day cups of the time. They were major set piece events which bestrode the domestic cricketing landscape like Glastonbury Tor, Dunkery Beacon or the Wellington Monument bestride the landscape of Somerset.
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Maurice Tremlett was one of Somerset’s greatest captains. In the late 1950s he wrought a renaissance in Somerset cricket comparable with that wrought in the 1970s by Brian Close and in the 2000s by Justin Langer. In each of the three cases the renaissance continued into the following decade under different captains.
Here the author recalls some imaginings of his young self about a player he had at that time never seen.
Somerset v Derbyshire. County Championship. Bath 1958
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The first ‘poem’ on this site and the first of an occasional series I posted on grockles.com. Appropriately the first poem to appear here is about the great man himself, JC White, or at least about the original gates bearing his name at the St James Street entrance to the Taunton ground and plans to remove them…Read More »
I returned to live in Somerset in 2016 after 30 years living in the “Eastern Marches” of England. A time I refer to as my exile. I started to post pieces on grockles.com at the end of that season. It led to other posters on the site asking from whence I had suddenly emerged. This article, posted about three weeks after I first started to post was my reply. In it I tried to capture my love for Somerset and its cricket.
Return from exile. The author’s describes his love of Somerset and Somerset cricket.
All these years, or at least for most of the last three decades until this year, I lived in exile in the Eastern Marches of Southern England. There my white Somerset hat and maroon and white umbrella walked the streets in splendid isolation to the bemused curiosity of the local inhabitants.
With the exception of one woman, that is, who stopped me to ask the meaning of the design on the front of my hat.Read More »
County Championship Division 1. Nottinghamshire v Somerset. 24th, 25th and 26th September 2018. Trent Bridge. Third Day.
Somerset entered what would almost certainly be the final day of this match and of their season with second place in the Championship guaranteed and needing seven wickets to conclude with a victory. With the now customary overrun completing my post for the previous day I was a little tardy in arriving at the ground…
Overnight: Somerset 463. Nottinghamshire 133 and 115 for 3 (f/o). Nottinghamshire trail by 215 runs with 7 second innings wickets standing.
The thought that has most often occurred to me over the years when I know I am going to be late for the cricket is, “I hope I don’t miss a hat trick…”Read More »
County Championship Division 1. Nottinghamshire v Somerset. 24th, 25th and 26th September 2018. Trent Bridge. Second Day.
Somerset started the second day 47 short of a fifth batting point with three wickets standing and needing two more points to secure second place in the County Championship if Essex took maximum points against Surrey. Nottinghamshire were still not safe from relegation as Lancashire, on 123 for 4 after a shortened first day, needed to reach 300 to overtake them and take sixth place. Essex had bowled Surrey out for 67 at the Oval and ended their first day on 197 for 2.
Overnight: Somerset 353 for 7.Read More »
County Championship Division 1. Nottinghamshire v Somerset. 24th, 25th and 26th September 2018. Trent Bridge. First Day.
Somerset travelled to Trent Bridge for what had looked, in the early weeks of the season, like it could have been a County Championship decider. When Nottinghamshire came to Taunton in June they were top of the table. Somerset won that match and replaced Nottinghamshire as leaders.
Later that month Somerset travelled to Guildford where they lost to Surrey who replaced them at the top of the table. Now Somerset, with the Championship already won by Surrey, needed six points to ensure second place and Nottinghamshire needed six points to ensure safety from relegation.Read More »
County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Surrey. 18th, 19th and 20th September 2018. Taunton. Final Day.
Somerset entered the third day of this match in a virtually hopeless situation. I was unable to attend until after Lunch but was able to follow most of the proceedings of the morning online. The question at the end of the second day had been whether Somerset would survive the third. Few I had spoken to expected the match to reach a fourth. Read More »
County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Surrey. 18th, 19th and 20th September 2018. Taunton. Second Day.
I often fail to make the start of play if I have to complete one day’s post on the following morning. This was such a day. Surrey had threatened a gargantuan score at the end of the first day. Somerset pegged them back on the morning of the second. The question was how would Somerset bat against the Surrey attack that had swept all before it in 2018. Included in this report are some outline statistics about the strength of the Surrey attack.
Tom Banton made his First-Class debut in this match.
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County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Surrey. 18th, 19th and 20th September 2018. Taunton. First Day.
Surrey came to Taunton as County Champions on the back of nine successive Championship victories. In the away match at Guildford in June they had beaten Somerset by an innings. With that win they had overtaken Somerset at the top of the table and had remained there ever since. Surrey were undeniably the Championship team of the season.
The decision of the Cricket Discipline Commission and its implications for future pitch preparation was a repeated point of discussion among supporters and that is reflected in this post.
Lewis Gregory, injured in the previous match, was not available for this match.
Toss. Surrey. Elected to bat.
As someone said to me as I left my seat after the first day of this match it was like being transported back ten years to the days of the Taunton ‘roads’.Read More »
T20 Finals Day. Second Semi-Final: Somerset v Sussex. 15th September 2018. Edgbaston.
I was one of those lucky enough to obtain a ticket for T20 Finals day at Edgbaston. A nailbiting wait and a lot of redialling in a hotel room in Leeds on the first morning of Somerset’s match against Yorkshire at Headingley. Then a coach journey as long as a T20 match and enough razzmatazz to relaunch Billy Smart’s circus. Not everyone’s idea of a good day at the cricket but I enjoyed it and not just for the razzmatazz. There was some startlingly good cricket too.
For anyone who can bear it here is my report on Finals Day as it happened. Or at least as I saw it which is not necessarily the same thing…Read More »