Rain-blown and Wonderful Cricket – Gloucestershire v Somerset – Nevil Road, Bristol – County Championship 2021 – Day 4

This match was played with restricted crowd numbers due to the coronavirus restrictions in place. Tickets were initially offered in a ballot but were ultimately generally available. 

County Championship Group 2. Gloucestershire v Somerset. 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd May 2021. Bristol.

Gloucestershire. K.C. Brathwaite, C.D.J. Dent (c), J.R. Bracey (w), T.C. Lace, I.A. Cockbain, R.F. Higgins, M.A.H. Higgins, T.M.J. Smith, M.D. Taylor, D.A. Payne, D.J. Worrall. 

Somerset. E.J. Byrom, T.A. Lammonby, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, L.P. Goldsworthy, S.M. Davies (w), C. Overton, L. Gregory, J.H. Davey, M.J. Leach.

Overnight. Somerset 300 for 8 dec. Gloucestershire 16 for 2.

Final day. 23rd May – Rain-blown and wonderful cricket

Hardened cricket followers know a terminal weather forecast when they see one, especially when it has remained unchanged for three days and is linked to a smooth grey sky that stretches from horizon to horizon. Billowing grey clouds bring hope of better weather to come, or at least of gaps in the rain. Smooth grey cloud from which rain falls steadily offers no hope once it has set in. The final day of this match began with just such a forecast and just such a sky. Pessimists would have expected little or no play, optimists that the match might last until lunchtime. On this day, the pessimists had their way.

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Abell Leads the Way – Gloucestershire v Somerset – County Championship 2021- Nevil Road, Bristol – Day 3

This match was played with restricted crowd numbers due to the coronavirus restrictions in place. Tickets were initially offered in a ballot but were ultimately generally available.

County Championship Group 2. Gloucestershire v Somerset. 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd May 2021. Bristol.

Gloucestershire. K.C. Brathwaite, C.D.J. Dent (c), J.R. Bracey (w), T.C. Lace, I.A. Cockbain, R.F. Higgins, M.A.H. Higgins, T.M.J. Smith, M.D. Taylor, D.A. Payne, D.J. Worrall. 

Somerset. E.J. Byrom, T.A. Lammonby, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, L.P. Goldsworthy, S.M. Davies (w), C. Overton, L. Gregory, J.H. Davey, M.J. Leach.

Overnight. Somerset 45 for 1.

Third day. 22nd May – Abell leads the way

“Shot!” The crowd had truly come alive. It is a shout which has been synonymous with watching County Championship cricket since at least 1958 when I attended my first match. It punctuates the buzz, chatter and applause that ripple around a ground as a match unfolds. It was not in evidence at all in 2020. It was not much, if at all, in evidence on the first day of this match when the cricket had to battle with a gale, poor light, flying mizzle and enveloping rain. On the first day, after a season and a half of being on the outside of the closed doors, just being at the match was enough. On this, the second day of play, although the third scheduled day, the sun shone. Not all the time, but for much of it. Enough for the skin on my face to tighten through the evening as I drew together my thoughts and notes for this report.

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It’s Good To Be Back – Gloucestershire v Somerset – County Championship 2021 – Nevil Road, Bristol – Day 1

This match was played with restricted crowd numbers due to the coronavirus restrictions in place. Tickets were initially offered in a ballot but were ultimately generally available and still for sale online on the morning of the match.

County Championship Group 2. Gloucestershire v Somerset. 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd May 2021. Bristol.

Gloucestershire. K.C. Brathwaite, C.D.J. Dent (c), J.R. Bracey (w), T.C. Lace, I.A. Cockbain, R.F. Higgins, M.A.H. Higgins, T.M.J. Smith, M.D. Taylor, D.A. Payne, D.J. Worrall.  

Somerset. E.J. Byrom, T.A. Lammonby, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, L.P. Goldsworthy, S.M. Davies (w), C. Overton, L. Gregory, J.H. Davey, M.J. Leach.

Toss. Gloucestershire. Elected to field.

First day 20th May – It’s good to be back

In some ways nothing had changed. In others everything had. I arrived at the ground, as was always my wont, in a tight race with the umpires, players, clouds and rain for the eleven o’clock start. Nothing new there. I was not the only one. I arrived outside Nevil Road’s Ashley Down Road entrance with a last-minute surge of similarly anorak-attired, backpack-carrying men, most of them just beyond a certain age. Nothing new there either. What was totally new was the small element of variety that had been introduced. It consisted of an array of different colours and designs of face masks and coverings with which the faces were adorned. The new world meeting the returning old. A quick scan of my ticket and an exchanged smile with the steward who scanned it and I was in. The old world again.

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Car crash – Somerset v Gloucestershire – County Championship 2021 – Taunton – Final day

This match was played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus restrictions in place. This report was therefore written following a day watching Somerset CCC’s live stream of the match, without which this report would not have been possible. The stream was watched with the commentary muted and with notes being taken to enable the author to replicate as far as possible his experience of watching matches live.

County Championship Group 2. Somerset v Gloucestershire. 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th April 2021. Taunton.

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

Gloucestershire. K.C. Brathwaite, C.D.J. Dent (c), J.R. Bracey (w), T.C. Lace, G.L. van Buuren, R.F. Higgins, G.T. Hankins, G.F.B. Scott, D.A. Payne, M.D. Taylor, D.C. Goodman.

Overnight. Somerset 312 and 149. Gloucestershire 309 and 28 for 1. Gloucestershire need 125 more runs to win with nine wickets standing.

Final day. 18th April – Car crash

The final day, if you were a Somerset supporter, was like being involved in a car crash. It all happened in slow motion. The sort of car crash where the outcome is inevitable, it just seems to take an awfully long time to get to the crunch. When I finally got to bed after finishing my third day report I could see no realistic prospect of a Somerset victory. It looked no different when my alarm began sounding as part of the dream I was in when I woke up to find I was actually still in the midst of a Somerset cricketing nightmare.

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Gloucestershire ask some tough questions – Somerset v Gloucestershire – County Chmpionship 2021 – Taunton – Day 3

This match was played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus restrictions in place. This report was therefore written following a day watching Somerset CCC’s live stream of the match, without which this report would not have been possible. The stream was watched with the commentary muted and with notes being taken to enable the author to replicate as far as possible his experience of watching matches live.

County Championship Group 2. Somerset v Gloucestershire. 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th April 2021. Taunton.

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

Gloucestershire. K.C. Brathwaite, C.D.J. Dent (c), J.R. Bracey (w), T.C. Lace, G.L. van Buuren, R.F. Higgins, G.T. Hankins, G.F.B. Scott, D.A. Payne, M.D. Taylor, D.C. Goodman.

Overnight. Somerset 312. Gloucestershire 302 for 8. Gloucestershire trail by ten runs with two first innings wickets standing.

Third day. 17th April – Gloucestershire ask some tough questions

For the first two days of this match Somerset fought to maintain parity with Gloucestershire. On the second afternoon they edged marginally ahead. On the second evening Bracey and Taylor, principally in the form of an eighth wicket stand of 71, gave Gloucestershire a slight advantage. At the start of the third morning Marchant de Lange, with two wickets in the space of five runs, Payne returning a low catch from a leading edge and Taylor having no answer to a full ball which struck his pads, gave Somerset the narrowest of margins over Gloucestershire on first innings. It was so close that had this been an election rather than a cricket match Gloucestershire would have been within their constitutional rights to request a full recount. Of all the innovations cricket is to be subject to in this second season of the coronavirus, that, mercifully, is not one of them. By the end of the third day recounts were no longer in the thoughts, for Gloucestershire were threatening to win by a landslide such was the scale of the destruction of Somerset’s top and middle order either side of lunch.

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Working the Clay – Somerset v Gloucestershire – County Championship 2021 – Day 2 – Taunton

lThis match was played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus restrictions in place. This report was therefore written following a day watching Somerset CCC’s live stream of the match, without which this report would not have been possible. The stream was watched with the commentary muted and with notes being taken to enable the author to replicate as far as possible his experience of watching matches live.

County Championship Group 2. Somerset v Gloucestershire. 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th April 2021. Taunton.

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

Gloucestershire. K.C. Brathwaite, C.D.J. Dent (c), J.R. Bracey (w), T.C. Lace, G.L. van Buuren, R.F. Higgins, G.T. Hankins, G.F.B. Scott, D.A. Payne, M.D. Taylor, D.C. Goodman.

Overnight. Somerset 312. Gloucestershire 13 for 0. Gloucestershire trail by 299 runs with ten first innings wickets standing.

Second day. 16th April – Working the clay

I know not whether I suffer from ill-luck or bad judgement, but wherever I have lived in this country I have found myself tending a garden consisting of heavy clay soil. There is no quick way of working clay. You just have to put your back into the job, digging systematically along one unforgiving row after another, ploughing doggedly on until the job is done. It was like that for the Somerset bowlers on the second day of this match and perhaps for the Gloucestershire batsmen too, although they might have felt they ended the day just ahead with only 11 runs needed to overhaul the Somerset total and two wickets still standing. The movement in the air and off the pitch which had been plainly evident for much of the first day had, apart from the occasional sharp remnant, faded like the melting of the morning frost. There was nothing for it but for the Somerset bowlers to work their way through one unforgiving over after another on what had become a mainly unforgiving pitch. And then do the same with one spell after another.

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Testing Newton’s Law – Somerset v Gloucestershire – County Championship 2021 – Taunton – Day 1

This match was played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus restrictions in place. This report was therefore written following a day watching Somerset CCC’s live stream of the match, without which this report would not have been possible. The stream was watched with the commentary muted and with notes being taken to enable the author to replicate as far as possible his experience of watching matches live.

County Championship Group 2. Somerset v Gloucestershire. 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th April 2021. Taunton.

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

Gloucestershire. K.C. Brathwaite, C.D.J. Dent (c), J.R. Bracey (w), T.C. Lace, G.L. van Buuren, R.F. Higgins, G.T. Hankins, G.F.B. Scott, D.A. Payne, M.D. Taylor, D.C. Goodman.

Toss. Gloucestershire. Elected to field.

First day. 15th April – Testing Newton’s Law

It was a glorious April day. Warm sun, with just enough chill on the breeze to remind that we are still nearer the equinox than the solstice. Perfect for watching cricket this early in the season. So it felt in my Somerset garden ten minutes or so before the start of play. The expanse of the Quantocks beyond the Lord Ian Botham and River Stands visible on my laptop and the bright blue sky dappled with a legion of sheer-white tufts of cotton wool cloud suggested it must be so at the Cooper Associates County Ground too. The Blackdowns, also bathed in sun, and looking on through the window from beyond my laptop added to the lifting of the spirits which always accompanies the start of a County Championship match on such a day.

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Bob Willis Trophy ~ Somerset v Gloucestershire ~ Final Day ~ The final reckoning

All Bob Willis Trophy matches are being played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus restrictions in place. This report was therefore written following a day watching Somerset CCC’s excellent multi-camera live stream of the match without which the report would not have been possible. The stream was watched throughout with the commentary muted and with notes being taken to enable the author to replicate as far as possible his experience of watching matches live; and to enable him to form his own view of the play.

Bob Willis Trophy. Central Group. Somerset v Gloucestershire. 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th August 2020. Taunton.

Somerset. E.J. Byrom, T.A. Lammonby, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, S.M. Davies (w), C. Overton, R.E. van der Merwe, J. Overton, J.H. Davey. J.A. Brooks.

Gloucestershire. C.D.J Dent, B.G. Charlesworth, G.L. van Buuren, T.C. Lace, G.T. Hankins, R.F. Higgins, G.H. Roderick, G.F.B. Scott, D.A. Payne, J. Shaw, M.D. Taylor.

Overnight. Somerset 237 and 223 for 1 dec. Gloucestershire 76 and 63 for 8. Gloucestershire need another 322 runs to win with two second innings wickets standing.

Final day. 25th August – The final reckoning

Even the rain could not stop Somerset this time. It blew through with such force that the damp it left behind was blown away by the wind that brought it, with a little help from some sun. The rain had gone by breakfast time, the ground dried out quickly enough for the cricketers to take an early lunch, and the match was over in time for your correspondent to enjoy an afternoon ice cream on a bench overlooking the Blackdowns. It is not quite the same as enjoying one whilst watching the cricket from in front of the Garner Gates, but the victory over Gloucestershire was more than enough compensation for that.

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Bob Willis Trophy 2020 ~ Somerset v Gloucestershire ~ Third day ~ Deja vu

All Bob Willis Trophy matches are being played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus restrictions in place. This report was therefore written following a day watching Somerset CCC’s excellent multi-camera live stream of the match without which the report would not have been possible. The stream was watched throughout with the commentary muted and with notes being taken to enable the author to replicate as far as possible his experience of watching matches live; and to enable him to form his own view of the play.

Bob Willis Trophy. Central Group. Somerset v Gloucestershire. 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th August 2020. Taunton.

Somerset. E.J. Byrom, T.A. Lammonby, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, S.M. Davies (w), C. Overton, R.E. van der Merwe, J. Overton, J.H. Davey. J.A. Brooks.

Gloucestershire. C.D.J Dent, B.G. Charlesworth, G.L. van Buuren, T.C. Lace, G.T. Hankins, R.F. Higgins, G.H. Roderick, G.F.B. Scott, D.A. Payne, J. Shaw, M.D. Taylor.

Overnight. Somerset 237 and 223 for 1 dec. Gloucestershire 76 and 14 for 3. Gloucestershire need another 371 runs to win with seven second innings wickets standing.

Third day. 24th August – In the hands of Damocles

“Only Somerset could declare their second innings on 223 for 1 on the second day and then draw the match with the opposition on 97 for 9,” said the incoming text an hour into what would have been the afternoon session of the third day. It is to be hoped that the person who sent the text is not a prophet, for of the still possible results that is one of them. It was a curious sight, watching the covers on the live stream. Curious because the stands beyond them were devoid of people. Not that stands devoid of people are in any way out of the ordinary in these strange times. It was more that, in the past, if you were at a match when it rained heavily, most people headed for the nearest cover, or bar. But not everyone. There were always one or two people who sat it out in the stands, waterproofs on and umbrella up, if only to keep their seats dry. It was the absence of those people, who always seemed to be there, that struck home. Strange times indeed.

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Bob Willis Trophy 2020 ~ Somerset v Gloucestershire ~ Second Day ~ “Most Satisfactory”

All Bob Willis Trophy matches are being played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus restrictions in place. This report was therefore written following a day watching Somerset CCC’s excellent multi-camera live stream of the match without which the report would not have been possible. The stream was watched throughout with the commentary muted and with notes being taken to enable the author to replicate as far as possible his experience of watching matches live; and to enable him to form his own view of the play.

Bob Willis Trophy. Central Group. Somerset v Gloucestershire. 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th August 2020. Taunton.

Somerset. E.J. Byrom, T.A. Lammonby, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, S.M. Davies (w), C. Overton, R.E. van der Merwe, J. Overton, J.H. Davey. J.A. Brooks.

Gloucestershire. C.D.J Dent, B.G. Charlesworth, G.L. van Buuren, T.C. Lace, G.T. Hankins, R.F. Higgins, G.H. Roderick, G.F.B. Scott, D.A. Payne, J. Shaw, M.D. Taylor.

Overnight. Somerset 237. Gloucestershire 13 for 4. Gloucestershire trail by 224 runs with six first innings wickets standing.

Second day. 23rd August – “Most satisfactory”

This was another day of stunning Somerset success. In the first three matches of this competition the opposition has been overwhelmed. It might have stood against Somerset early in a match but by the end it had been, in cricketing terms, devastated. There is still cricket to be played in this match, Gloucestershire still have seven wickets standing, but they are 371 runs short of victory in a competition in which no team has thus far scored more than 166 in an innings against Somerset. Only two opposition batsmen have passed 50, whereas six centuries have been scored by Somerset batsmen. On the basis of those statistics there will be many bruised arms in Somerset and beyond as supporters repeatedly pinch themselves to seek reassurance that they are actually awake.

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Bob Willis Trophy 2020 ~ Somerset v Gloucestershire ~ First day ~ “That’ll do”

All Bob Willis Trophy matches are being played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus restrictions in place. This report was therefore written following a day watching Somerset CCC’s excellent multi-camera live stream of the match without which the report would not have been possible. The stream was watched throughout with the commentary muted and with notes being taken to enable the author to replicate as far as possible his experience of watching matches live; and to enable him to form his own view of the play.

Bob Willis Trophy. Central Group. Somerset v Gloucestershire. 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th August 2020. Taunton.

Somerset. E.J. Byrom, T.A. Lammonby, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, S.M. Davies (w), C. Overton, R.E. van der Merwe, J. Overton, J.H. Davey. J.A. Brooks.

Gloucestershire. C.D.J Dent, B.G. Charlesworth, G.L. van Buuren, T.C. Lace, G.T. Hankins, R.F. Higgins, G.H. Roderick, G.F.B. Scott, D.A. Payne, J. Shaw, M.D. Taylor.

Toss. Gloucestershire. Elected to field.

First day. 22nd August – “That’ll do”

In the first match of the Bob Willis Trophy George Bartlett received a sickening blow on the helmet from Marchant de Lange. It stopped play for a considerable amount of time whilst he was ministered to and the required concussion tests were carried out. He carried on, but to my eye showed less fluency after the blow. He did not have quite the same composure he had shown before it. He was checked twice more and doggedly continued for some time before he was out. He has missed the two intervening matches under the ECB concussion regulations. You would not have known it on the first day of this match. He played an innings of sheer joy, at least for the watching Somerset supporter. It was an innings too of crucial importance for his team. He came to the wicket at 44 for 3, was still there at 176 for 9 and left undefeated on 100 after he and Jack Brooks had extended Somerset’s total to 237. Applause would have resounded around the ground in other times. All that could stand would have been on their feet, hands clapping above their heads as he jumped a celebratory jig in the middle of his 100th run. And again, a ball later, as the players walked off. It was a transformation to warm the cockles of a Somerset heart.

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Slow pitch blues

Royal London One-Day Cup. Gloucestershire v Somerset. 28th April 2019. Bristol.

Toss. Somerset. Elected to bat.

Slow pitch blues

“Does this bus stop at Nevil Road for the cricket?” I asked the bus driver. “I hope so, because I don’t know what I am going to do with this lot if it doesn’t,” was the reply as he pointed to about a dozen assorted men all dressed more or less as I was. Observation is not necessarily my strong point it seems. “We can expect some fireworks today then, can we?” was the question put to me by a Gloucestershire supporter when I told him, in answer to his previous question, that Somerset had topped 350 from 39 overs in their last match.Read More »

Somerset in the Royal London One Day Cup 2017 – Part 2

This post contains the ‘Farmer White’ match reports on the final three of Somerset’s 2017 Royal London One Day Cup group-stage matches.

The fourth, against Middlesex, was washed out by biblical quantities of rain. In place of the report which might have been written, had it taken place, is a look back to the Gillette Cup semi-final of 1977 between Middlesex and Somerset, also at Lord’s. It too was rained off on five seperate days, before being settled in a 15 over “farce”, at least that was the view of Brian Close in his final season as captain of Somerset.

On the night before the first day on which the match was scheduled to take place, Elvis Presley died, an event which impinged on the day and which found its place in my report.

The matches include contest with Gloucestershire at Bristol, a consummate Somerset victory, in which Adam Hose made his mark with a stunning century which took the breath away.

The post ends with a couple of light-hearted ‘poems’ triggered by the prospect and the consequences of the rain.Read More »