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 »

What a day! The RLODC Final 2019

Royal London One-Day Cup. Somerset v Hampshire. Final. 25th May 2019. Lord’s.

The author was unable to attend the Lord’s final for reasons that transcend even cricket, and which will become apparent in the report which follows. Neither was he able to watch the live television transmission. He has however been a Somerset supporter since the days of Maurice Tremlett, and Somerset cricket runs deep through his veins. There is, therefore, no law or force of nature, from this end of the Universe to the other, which could keep his mind entirely away from cricket on such a day.

What follows is a report on a day of great spectacle, at Lord’s and in Somerset. Somerset supporters, wherever they are in the world, whatever they are doing, will always find a way of keeping up with the score, and of getting what reports of the action they can from wherever they can; and if they can, of catching some highlights or passages of play. From the author doing all those things emerges this report of a day of hope, anticipation and joy unbounded at Lord’s and in Somerset.

Somerset. T. Banton (w), Azhar Ali, P.D. Trego, J.C. Hildreth, T.B. Abell (c), G.A. Bartlett, L. Gregory, R.E. van der Merwe, C. Overton, J. Overton, J.H. Davey.

Hampshire. T.P. Alsop (w), A.H.T. Donald, J.J. Weatherley, S.A. Northeast (c), R.R. Rossouw, G.K. Berg, J.K. Fuller, C.P. Wood, K.J. Abbott, M.S. Crane, F.H. Edwards.

Toss. Hampshire. Elected to field.

Well what a day that was! Always a worry in the lead up to such major outdoor events, the weather was perfect. Key players played their parts to perfection, and everyone involved made key contributions at key times. It was a truly astonishing day. One to be endlessly remembered, and doubtless endlessly recounted by all who made the trip. By those that is who made the trip from the South West, and all parts, to Lord’s to watch Somerset in the Royal London One-Day Cup Final; and by those who made the trip from all parts to the South West for the wedding. For that is what happens when the wedding fixture list comes out before the cricket fixture list. It turns out to be the year in which you find yourself at your son’s Somerset wedding on the same day as Somerset are at Lord’s determined not to be bridesmaids again after ten successive second-place finishes in the various domestic competitions. Fixture congestion is a common occurrence in sport, but it surely is not too much to hope that the ECB might have avoided a fixture clash with my son’s wedding.

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Outplayed

Royal London One-Day Cup. Somerset v Hampshire. 5th May 2019. Taunton.

Toss. Somerset. Elected to bat.

Outplayed

Bewilderment and dismay would best sum up the feelings of every Somerset supporter I spoke to after the Somerset innings and again after the Hampshire innings. It had been as if the two innings had been played on different pitches. The Somerset innings was a disjointed, directionless, stop-start affair which fizzled out with barely a single coherent passage of play. The Hampshire innings knew exactly where it was going and went there virtually untroubled and at speed, doubtless helped by the fact that it did not have far to go. A target of 217 in a 50-over match, in this day and age, is unlikely to trouble any team on any but the most troublesome of pitches. By the end it was clear that the pitch for this match did not provide a reason for this defeat.Read More »

Somerset’s ‘Dorian Gray’ portrait

 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 »

A test of class

County Championship Division 1. Hampshire v Somerset. 10th and 11th September 2018. Southampton. Final Day.

As with the first day of this match I was unable to attend the second and final day. I followed virtually the whole of it online. Classic, although uncomfortable, armchair cricket following from a distance. Hampshire’s Abbot and Steyn continued to dominate in seam friendly conditions. The only real Somerset resistance came from Trescothick who demonstrated real determination, concentration and skill at the crease and the Overton brothers who briefly threatened Hampshire with the ball. Read More »

Seam from a distance

County Championship Division 1. Hampshire v Somerset. 10th and 11th September 2018. Southampton. First Day.

This was the only Championship match in 2018 I was unable to attend. I was also busy doing things which, for the most part, had been neglected during my cricket watching and writing through the summer. The amount of the first day of the match I could follow on line was therefore restricted.

I do not possess a smartphone and so was unable to keep up with the score when away from my laptop. Even when I had access to my laptop there was no live picture stream of this match so my access was limited to online scoreboards and some commentary. My report therefore concentrates on the trials and tribulations of trying to keep up with a fast-moving match as well as on the cricket itself. Read More »

A Rye look at the cricket

T20 South Group. Hampshire v Somerset. 8th August 2018. Southampton.

I did not travel to this match and so watched the live broadcast. It brought back unnerving memories of a very tight match at the same ground nearly a decade before.

Somerset won the toss and elected to field.

I am in trouble at home. Ruining the edges of seats at cricket grounds all around the country whilst watching Somerset is one thing. Ruining one at home is viewed less kindly I have discovered. Watching Somerset at home is far more gruelling than actually being at the match.Read More »

Relay race to victory ~ Hampshire v Somerset ~ RLODC 2018

That’ll teach you Farmer White! You do an analysis of Somerset’s RLODC campaign after the Gloucestershire match and point out that the opening partnership has failed to reach 50 once, that Peter Trego has made four 50s but failed to convert any of them to a three-figure score, that Somerset’s batsmen have only made one century in the entire competition and that a century tends to go with a competitive score on a flat pitch.  So off I go to Southampton, the openers put on 87 before Somerset get to the end of the 12th over, someone scores a century, it turns out to be Trego and Somerset score over 350. And what a match it was especially for the person who came with me for his first match of the season. He thought it was well worth the 350-mile round trip which he took to see it. We arrived an hour before the start and found ourselves parking towards the back of the last available car park. It was the best part of an hour before we could get away afterwards but the closeness of the car park to the ground probably made up for that and after a match like the one we had just watched we didn’t want to rush away from our seats. Read More »

Flashback. 2009.

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Hampshire. 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th May 2018. Taunton. Final Day.

On the third day the Somerset tail had extended Somerset’s total from a good one to an imposing one. By the end of the day the Hampshire top order had made a significant dent in Somerset’s lead as the feared flattening of the pitch came to pass.

Overnight: Hampshire 231 and 178 for 2. Somerset 506. Hampshire trail by 93 runs with 8 second innings wickets standing.

“Well, what are you going to find to write about that,” I was asked two or three overs from the end. What indeed.Read More »

The pitch has its say

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Hampshire. 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th May 2018. Taunton. Third Day.

At the start of the third day the match was set for Somerset’s tail, not devoid by any means of batting talent, to stretch an already very healthy first innings lead.

Overnight: Hampshire 231. Somerset 324 for 7. Somerset lead by 193 runs with 3 first innings wickets standing.

Late arriving at the Cooper Associates County Ground I made my way to the boundary near the covers store. As I arrived the ball screamed across the grass and crashed into the boards in front of the Ondaatje Stand. Hildreth I assumed had been on the other end of it. But no, Dom Bess was making his case to move up from number tenRead More »

Hildreth and Overton take the lead

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Hampshire. 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th May 2018. Taunton. Second Day.

Overnight: Hampshire 198 for 8.

What a difference a season makes. In the second half of 2017, with Somerset 30 points adrift in the relegation zone, it was a succession of performances like those of Hildreth and Craig Overton on the second day here that led Somerset to safety. A powerful team spirit underpins such performances. In 2018 such performances are driving Somerset towards the top of the table.Read More »

A team emerging



County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Hampshire. 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th May 2018. Taunton. First Day.

Somerset came into this match unbeaten after a classic rear guard action by Jack Leach and the tail had saved the previous match at Old Trafford. They had also won their first two matches and were second in the Championship table. Marcus Trescothick was unavailable for this match and would be for some matches to come after breaking a metatarsal whilst batting at Old Trafford. 

Toss. Somerset. Elected to field. 

Somerset started the match against Hampshire in second place in the Championship table, 17 points behind Nottinghamshire but with a game in hand. As far as such a thing can be said so early in the season they have their Championship future in their own hands. And such young hands. Only three of the side that took the field were over 30. The rest all under 27, six under 25, three aged 20. It would be a phenomenal feat if such a side could challenge for the Championship, let alone win it.

CC 2018 Som v Hants Day 1 Jimmy Adams Copyright Mike Williams
Craig Overton, one of seven players under the age of 27 in the Somerset side, makes a sharp stop off Jimmy Adams.
Photo courtesy Michael Williams

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Pink ball blues

The introduction to this report was written during the winter of 2017/18. It remains as it was written then. Things have moved on in relation to pink ball cricket, but the issue of Championship crowds, except in a few counties like Somerset, has not. This post includes an attempt at a light-hearted poem on cricket, at least from the batsman’s viewpoint, played with a pink ball. 

PINK BALL BLUES 

~   HAMPSHIRE   ~ 

“It was a perfect afternoon’s cricket in the middle of a lovely summer evening.” 

Specsavers County Championship. First Division. Southampton. 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th June 2017. Hampshire v Somerset.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 »