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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Safety First – Somerset v Hampshire – County Championship 2021 – Taunton – Day 4

This match was played with restricted crowd numbers due to the coronavirus regulations in force. Somerset members were allocated tickets by ballot. The author was successful in the ballot for all four days of the match.

County Championship Group 2. Somerset v Hampshire. 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th June 2021. Taunton.

Somerset. E.J. Byrom, S.M. Davies (w), T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, L.P. Goldsworthy, T. Banton, L. Gregory, R.E. van der Merwe, J.H. Davey, M.de Lange.

Craig Overton and Jack Leach were with the England squad for the two-Test match series against New Zealand and so not available for selection for this match

Hampshire. I.G. Holland, C.T. Steel, T.P. Alsop, S.A. Northeast, J.M. Vince (c), L.A. Dawson, L.D. McManus (w), K.H.D. Barker, F.S. Organ, K.J. Abbott, B.T.J. Wheal.

Overnight. Somerset 360 and 323 for 6. Hampshire 311. Somerset lead by 372 runs with four second innings wickets standing.

Final day. 6th June – Safety first

The match was, to all intents and purposes, over as a contest before a heavy downpour effectively ended play for the day, the captains agreeing to conclude proceedings when a restart was scheduled for after five o’clock. The resulting draw left Somerset ten points clear at the top of their group table with two rounds of matches still to be played. That Somerset intended to make the match safe before making any attempt to win was evident from the outset. Bartlett and Banton, new to the crease after Davey’s dismissal to the last ball of the previous evening, batted with no sign of aggressive intent. They added just 19 runs in the first ten overs.

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Somerset Rampant – Somerset v Hampshire – County Championship 2021 – Taunton – Day 3

This match was played with restricted crowd numbers due to the coronavirus regulations in force. Somerset members were allocated tickets by ballot. The author was successful for all four days in the ballot.

County Championship Group 2. Somerset v Hampshire. 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th June 2021. Taunton.

Somerset. E.J. Byrom, S.M. Davies (w), T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, L.P. Goldsworthy, T. Banton, L. Gregory, R.E. van der Merwe, J.H. Davey, M.de Lange.

Hampshire. I.G. Holland, C.T. Steel, T.P. Alsop, S.A. Northeast, J.M. Vince (c), L.A. Dawson, L.D. McManus (w), K.H.D. Barker, F.S. Organ, K.J. Abbott, B.T.J. Wheal.

Overnight. Somerset 360. Hampshire 285 for 7. Hampshire trail by 75 runs with three first innings wickets standing.

Third day. 5th June – Somerset rampant

This has been another match worthy of the County Championship at its best. Good, hard cricket. Sometimes flamboyant, sometimes dour, but always with intensity as its hallmark. First Hampshire knocked Somerset back on their heels by reducing them to 113 for 7 before a coruscating counterattack from Gregory and van der Merwe left Hampshire facing a mountain 360 runs tall at the end of the first day. Then Hampshire spent a long, hot second day clawing their way back into contention as they ground out 285 runs for the loss of seven wickets against some persistently accurate bowling from the Somerset pace attack. Only van der Merwe’s slow left arm provided any respite from the constant pressure.

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Hard Grind – Somerset v Hampshire – County Championship – Taunton – Day 2

This match was played with restricted crowd numbers due to the coronavirus regulations in force. Somerset members were allocated tickets by ballot. The author was successful in the ballot for all four days of the match.

County Championship Group 2. Somerset v Hampshire. 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th June 2021. Taunton.

Somerset. E.J. Byrom, S.M. Davies (w), T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, L.P. Goldsworthy, T. Banton, L. Gregory, R.E. van der Merwe, J.H. Davey, M.de Lange.

Hampshire. I.G. Holland, C.T. Steel, T.P. Alsop, S.A. Northeast, J.M. Vince (c), L.A. Dawson, L.D. McManus (w), K.H.D. Barker, F.S. Organ, K.J. Abbott, B.T.J. Wheal.

Overnight. Somerset 360.

Second day. 4th June – Hard grind

This was a day of cricket of a different stamp to the first. A day for roundheads rather than cavaliers. The sun shone all day, the Somerset pace bowlers stuck hard to their task and the Hampshire batsmen to theirs. In one respect the day was a mirror image of the first. The bowlers worked up an advantage before the batsmen turned them back. The cricket though was of a very different brand. Whereas on the first day the later Somerset batsmen had conducted a headlong charge, the Hampshire ones, for over after over, defended their ground. 360 runs for ten wickets in 84.2 overs on the first day. 285 runs for seven wickets in 96 overs on the second. The heights of the first day were not reached on the second, but the cricket enthralled nonetheless as the two sides pressed for supremacy in a match which might have a significant impact on whether either or both proceeds to the top tier in the second phase of this year’s County Championship.

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Fortune and Ferocity – Somerset v Hampshire – County Championship 2021 – Taunton – Day 1

This match was played with restricted crowd numbers due to the coronavirus regulations in force. Somerset members were allocated tickets by ballot. The author was successful in the ballot for all four days.

County Championship Group 2. Somerset v Hampshire. 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th June 2021. Taunton.

Somerset. E.J. Byrom, S.M. Davies (w), T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, L.P. Goldsworthy, T. Banton, L. Gregory, R.E. van der Merwe, J.H. Davey, M.de Lange.

Craig Overton and Jack Leach were with the England squad for the two-Test match series against New Zealand and so not available for selection for this match

Hampshire. I.G. Holland, C.T. Steel, T.P. Alsop, S.A. Northeast, J.M. Vince (c), L.A. Dawson, L.D. McManus (w), K.H.D. Barker, F.S. Organ, K.J. Abbott, B.T.J. Wheal.

Toss. Hampshire. Elected to field

First day. 3rd June – Fortune and ferocity

“You couldn’t make it up,” said the man next to me of Somerset’s near-miraculous recovery as Marchant de Lange’s first six, off Kyle Abbott, disappeared over long off and into the churchyard. “More! More!” demanded someone from the Somerset Stand as if they were calling for an encore at a folk concert. And an encore there was. Two balls later Abbott bounced de Lange. De Lange hooked and an enormous six cleared the long square boundary, the wide area of outfield beyond it and hit the upper reaches of the Caddick Pavilion on the full. Applause and cheers filled the air and there was not an unsmiling face in the house. The crowds were back at Taunton, and they had been right royally rewarded with a day of cricket straight from the land of fantasy which might have filled many of their heads during the long coronavirus interregnum. This was Somerset through and through, for the close of play score of 360 all out had been built from the crumbling foundations of 43 for 5 and 113 for 7. The rains of May had stayed away too, although June was not yet as glorious as it likes to claim.

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An Exceptional Performance – Hampshire v Somerset – County Championship 2021 – AGEAS Bowl – Day 4

This match was played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus restrictions in place. This report was therefore written following a day watching Hampshire 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. Hampshire v Somerset. 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th May 2021. AGEAS Bowl.

Hampshire. J.J. Weatherley, I.G. Holland, T.P. Alsop, S.A. Northeast, J.M. Vince (c), L.A. Dawson, F.S. Organ, L.D. McManus (w), K.J. Abbott, K.H.D. Barker, Mohammad Abbas.

Somerset. T.A. Lammonby, E.J. Byrom, 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. Hampshire 79 and 110 for 4. Somerset 336. Hampshire trail by 147 runs with six second innings wickets standing.

Final day 9th May – An exceptional performance

When Josh Davey trapped Mohammed Abbas leg before wicket late on the final afternoon, Hampshire’s long rearguard action which stretched across 131 overs was finally at an end. It left Somerset needing two runs to win. But that final Hampshire wicket was almost followed by a sting in the tail for Somerset. As the players went off for the change of innings a huge dark cloud hung over the Atrium of Hampshire’s Pavilion. The sword of Damoclese itself could not have hung more threateningly over Somerset’s hopes.

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Waiting to see the light – Hampshire v Somerset – County Championship 2021 – AGEAS Bowl – 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 Hampshire 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. Hampshire v Somerset. 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th May 2021. AGEAS Bowl.

Hampshire. J.J. Weatherley, I.G. Holland, T.P. Alsop, S.A. Northeast, J.M. Vince (c), L.A. Dawson, F.S. Organ, L.D. McManus (w), K.J. Abbott, K.H.D. Barker, Mohammad Abbas.

Somerset. T.A. Lammonby, E.J. Byrom, 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.

Hampshire.

Overnight. Hampshire 79 and 92 for 3. Somerset 336. Hampshire trail by 165 runs with seven second innings wickets standing.

Third day 8th May – Waiting to see the light

The scene at the end of the third day here was reminiscent of that at the end of the fourth day at Edgbaston in the Bob Willis Trophy in 2020. Umpires on the outfield, players in the Pavilion, except for Tom Abell who was in conversation with the umpires. Bad light the reason for the absence of players, Somerset’s dominant position in the match the reason for Abell’s presence no doubt. It ended a frustrating day for Somerset in which only 9.3 overs were bowled. Continuous heavy overnight rain and its effect on the outfield the reasons for the umpires concluding play could not begin until half past five. That changed the dynamic of the game, for it gave Hampshire a chance, if a slim one, of saving a game that had seemed beyond their compass at the end of the previous day.

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Overton Leads the Way – Hampshire v Somerset – County Championship 2021 – AGEAS Bowl – Day 2

This match was played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus restrictions in place. This report was therefore written following a day watching Hampshire 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. Hampshire v Somerset. 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th May 2021. AGEAS Bowl.

Hampshire. J.J. Weatherley, I.G. Holland, T.P. Alsop, S.A. Northeast, J.M. Vince (c), L.A. Dawson, F.S. Organ, L.D. McManus (w), K.J. Abbott, K.H.D. Barker, Mohammad Abbas.

Somerset. T.A. Lammonby, E.J. Byrom, 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. Hampshire 79. Somerset 142 for 5. Somerset lead by 63 runs with five first innings wickets standing.

Second day 7th May – Overton leads the way

Craig Overton has produced some wonderful performances for Somerset. Too many to pick one out from the rest. But, if there were picking to be done, this day would stand proud among the front line of candidates. With bat and ball Overton first drove Somerset forward, then held the line as Hampshire attempted to rally, and then broke through the Hampshire defences again just when a fighting Hampshire second innings was at its most determined. It was an exceptional performance. In the evening session, as Hampshire put up their sternest resistance of the match with the bat, Overton, ball in hand, seemed to grow larger in cricketing stature by the over. The harder Hampshire fought, the more determined he became and the more hostile and challenging his bowling became. It was a performance of which any Somerset heart could be proud. It was a performance which stood out more and more as the day progressed. But, above all, it stood out as an exemplar of the performance of the entire Somerset team.

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Somerset Battle Through – Hampshire v Somerset – County Championship 2021 – AGEAS Bowl – 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 Hampshire 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. Hampshire v Somerset. 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th May 2021. AGEAS Bowl.

Hampshire. J.J. Weatherley, I.G. Holland, T.P. Alsop, S.A. Northeast, J.M. Vince (c), L.A. Dawson, F.S. Organ, L.D. McManus (w), K.J. Abbott, K.H.D. Barker, Mohammad Abbas.

Somerset. T.A. Lammonby, E.J. Byrom, 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. Somerset. Elected to field.

First day 6th May – Somerset battle through

For the third time in their five matches in this competition to date Somerset won the toss and elected to field. Poor W.G. Grace must be wondering what the world of cricket has come to. Somerset also fielded first when Leicestershire won the toss and elected to bat. They have won all three of the matches in which they have fielded first. The only match they have lost was the one in which Gloucestershire won the toss and elected to field. Perhaps by the end of the day even Grace was beginning to have doubts about his famous dictum. Or perhaps it is just that we live in a different cricketing world with different cricketing conditions. For by the end of a day on which they bowled Hampshire out for 79 and ground out a lead of 63 with still five wickets standing, Somerset had done more than enough to justify their decision.  

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The ‘thousand-mile stare’

County Championship Division 1. Hampshire v Somerset. 16th, 17th and 18th September 2019. Southampton.

Overnight. Hampshire 196 and 176 for 8. Somerset 142 (K.J. Abbott 9 for 40). Hampshire lead by 230 runs with two second innings wickets standing.

Final day. 18th September – The ‘thousand-mile stare’

This was a crushing defeat in a match in which victory would have taken Somerset a long way towards their first County Championship. They succumbed to outstanding bowling in both innings by a bowler who bowled throughout as if ‘on a mission’, although 68 wickets thus far this season suggests he has been rather effective against other teams too. Abbott’s 17 wicket’s in the match, apparently the first time the feat has been achieved in the County Championship since before the Second World War, is a phenomenal achievement. At lunch on the final day nothing seemed less likely. Somerset, 62 for 0 in pursuit of 281, with Abbott having bowled an apparently innocuous opening spell, seemed to be in little trouble. Within an hour of the restart the innings was almost over and by the end the only surprise was that Abbott had only taken 17 wickets.Read More »

Abbott unleashed

County Championship Division 1. Hampshire v Somerset. 16th, 17th and 18th September 2019. Southampton.

Overnight. Hampshire 196. Somerset 30 for 2. Somerset trail Hampshire by 166 runs with eight first innings wickets standing.

Overnight. Hampshire 196. Somerset 30 for 2. Somerset trail by 166 runs with eight first innings wickets standing. 

Second day. 17th September – Abbott unleashed

This is a match in which the balance has swung first one way and then the other but by the end of the second day the overall direction of travel was heavily in Hampshire’s favour. With Essex only eight points behind Somerset at the start of this round of matches and well ahead in their match against Surrey at Chelmsford, defeat in this match could end Somerset’s Championship challenge, for although Essex and Somerset meet in the final round of matches the forecast for the final week is poor.

There are no such issues with the forecast here. There will be a result in this match and if Somerset are to maintain their position in the Championship, they will have to win it. I do not recall seeing a cloud in the sky all day. The decision to end play for bad light can only have been related to shadows covering the pitch and the setting of the sun on a day that, along with the heavy defeats at Chelmsford and Headingley, may, if Somerset cannot safely negotiate the new ball in their second innings, cast a shadow over Somerset’s season. Read More »

In the balance

County Championship Division 1. Hampshire v Somerset. 16th, 17th and 18th September 2019. Southampton.

Somerset travelled to Southampton eight points clear at the top of the Championship. The match against Hampshire would be the second of their last three matches. All three involved other the teams in the top half of the table. Meanwhile Essex would play Surrey who had won only two matches in 2019 to Essex’s eight. Somerset’s final match of the season would be against Essex at Taunton. 

Somerset. M. Vijay, S.M. Davies (w), T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, T. Banton, G.A. Bartlett, L. Gregory, D.M Bess, C. Overton, R van Der Merwe. J.H. Davey 

Hampshire. F.S. Organ, I.G. Holland, T.P. Alsop, S.A. Northeast, J.M. Vince (c), L.A. Dawson, A.H.T. Donald, L.D. McManus (w), K.H.D. Barker, K.J. Abbott, F.H. Edwards.

Toss. Hampshire. Elected to bat.

First day. 16th September – In the balance

One of the greatest barriers to following Somerset around the country is the A303. In 2017 I went to the first ‘pink ball’ match in which Somerset had played. The ball went soft before its time, the weather was awful and Somerset’s run chase nearly ended in disaster. There was an accident on the A303 and it took us five and a half hours to get back to Somerset. There was no accident this time as we travelled towards Southampton on the day before the match. But there was traffic. Endless traffic. Tailbacks at every roundabout and at every one of those places where a stretch of dual carriageway or your priority on a single carriageway section ends. That is the A303 on a summer Sunday and, the onset of autumn notwithstanding, this was a glorious summer Sunday. It was while we were in one of those queues that my phone rang.Read More »

The chill of defeat

T20. Somerset v Hampshire. 26th July 2019. Taunton.

Somerset. Babar Azam, T. Banton (w), P.D. Trego, J.C. Hildreth, L. Gregory (c), T.B. Abell, T.A. Lammonby, R.E. van der Merwe, C. Overton, M.T.C. Waller, J.E. Taylor. 

A.H.T. Donald, R.R.Rossouw, J.N. Vince, S.A. Northeast, L.A. Dawson, C.H. Morris, J.K. Fuller, L.D. McManus (w), C.P. Wood, K.J. Abbott, M.S. Crane. 

Toss. Hampshire. Elected to field.

The chill of defeat

A chill blew through the Cooper Associates County Ground at the end of this match. A chill in the air, at least on the north face, the elevated section, of the Somerset Pavilion. And a chill in the spirit after a defeat for Somerset that had looked for all the world a victory in the middle section of this match. A chill too because Jerome Taylor, Somerset’s overseas ‘death’ bowler, had looked bereft of ideas in an over of astonishing hitting from Hampshire’s James Fuller which turned the match.Read More »

A dream of a match

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Hampshire 30th June, 1st, 2nd and 3rd July. Taunton.

Overnight. Somerset 408 and 358 for 8 dec. Hampshire 349 and 12 for 1. Hampshire need a further 406 runs to win with nine second innings wickets standing.

Final day. 3rd July – A dream of a match

There are times in life when a simple truth becomes, as the American constitution has it, ‘self-evident’. When the nagging questions are answered beyond dispute. When the doubts are expelled headlong from the mind. The final morning of this match was one such time. Somerset, now beyond any doubt, have a team capable of winning the County Championship. A team capable of becoming the greatest Somerset team of all time. Chickens though are best not counted. This team is ‘capable’ of those things. They are not yet written in stone. The Championship still has to be won, and this year Essex, and perhaps Yorkshire, may have their say and other counties will in subsequent years. Three of Somerset’s remaining six matches this season will be against those two sides. But after this performance those three matches may be considered opportunities at least as much as threats. Somerset now have their destiny firmly in their own hands to an extent unparalleled in their history.Read More »

Somerset race for the line

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Hampshire 30th June, 1st, 2nd and 3rd July. Taunton.

Overnight. Somerset 408. Hampshire 329 for 8. Hampshire trail by 79 runs with two first innings wickets standing.

Third day. 2nd July – Somerset race for the line

When I worked in London I used to walk along the Embankment in the evening to unwind. In the summer it was a restful experience watching the Thames flow by and the party boats slide up and down as if they were floating on air rather than water. It was less restful in the winter and early spring. In those dark evenings I would be constantly overtaken by an endless succession of runners toning themselves up for the London marathon. It mattered not how narrow the pavement nor how many obstacles had been planted there in the form of ‘street furniture’, the endless stream of runners just kept on coming past. It must have been a bit like that for Hampshire on the first and third days of this match as an endless succession of Somerset batsmen relentlessly passed by as they stacked up runs at the rate of four and a half an over. Read More »

Overton excels

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Hampshire 30th June, 1st, 2nd and 3rd July. Taunton.

Overnight. Somerset 408. Hampshire 15 for 1. Hampshire trail by 393 runs with nine first innings wickets standing.

Second day. 1st July – Overton excels

Somerset’s Championship prospects may have been encapsulated in this single match. In three of the last four seasons the team that has won the Championship has won ten or, in the case of Yorkshire in 2015 when 16 matches were played, 11 matches and not lost more than one. With Essex now playing in overdrive, driven by winning all four of their matches at Chelmsford, three inside three days, and challenging for Somerset’s top spot, there is no reason to think this season will be any different. The team that wins the Championship will probably win ten matches or very close. Essex, who have yet to win away from home, appear to be overwhelming favourites to win their current match against bottom placed Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. Having won their last two matches they are building real momentum as the business end of the season approaches. With their next two matches being at Chelmsford there is every prospect that their momentum will continue. To win the Championship Somerset will have to match it.Read More »

Tremendous cricket

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Hampshire 30th June, 1st, 2nd and 3rd July. Taunton.

Before beginning the report on the first day’s play I would like to record that a minute’s silence was held before the start of play in memory of Charles Clark, Somerset CCCs late Chairman, who died recently.

Toss. Somerset. Elected to bat.

First day. 30th June – Tremendous cricket

That was a day of what Championship cricket should be all about if it is to bring the crowds in and keep them there. And it was certainly played in front of a bumper Championship crowd. Well upwards of 2000, possibly nearer 3000, by my estimate if the numbers in the Somerset Stand and the Temporary Stand where the old scoreboard used to be were any indication. And quite a few younger people than the norm for the Championship. I even had to field a ball when I went out to look at the pitch at lunchtime. It was the sort of first day in the days of three-day cricket which you would go home waxing lyrical about, especially if it were a Saturday after a working week.

There were liberal measures of cut and thrust, ebb and flow, batting to scintillate, bowling to exhilarate; not to mention 423 runs and 11 wickets. If your team is trying to win the Championship you might prefer all those terms to apply only to your own side. On the first day of this match they were shared although Somerset deserved the major portion. Perhaps. It will take at least another day of cricket to be sure, for by tea Somerset were in a position to bat Hampshire out of this match; by the close Hampshire had bowled themselves into a position from where they could at least see a route towards parity. Who knows where this match will be by the close of the second day.Read More »

County Championship 2017 ~ Nadir

NADIR 

~   HAMPSHIRE   ~ 

“The difference in the way Somerset and Hampshire batted in their second innings was stark and telling.” 

Somerset’s dismal start to the 2017 Championship season continued with a third defeat in the first four matches. The cricket is described, but the reports also reflect the lively debate among supporters about the reasons for the slump and thoughts about the possible reasons. Different times to some of the heights of 2018 and 2019, and a different type of report.

Specsavers County Championship. First Division. Taunton. 26th, 27th and 28th May 2017. Somerset v Hampshire. Read More »