My reluctant introduction to Somerset in T20 (Beckenham and Chelmsford)

Somerset played Essex in a T20 match at Chelmsford in 2017. I didn’t travel to the match. Instead, by way of a preview, I posted a description of my reluctant introduction to T20 cricket, and Kieron Pollard, at Beckenham in 2010; and my recollections of Somerset T20 matches I had subsequently seen at Chelmsford during my eastern exile. During those matches I witnessed an overpowering innings from Marcus Trescothick, an astonishing one from Chris Gayle and, at Beckenham, perhaps the moment which led to Peter Trego batting in the top three in T20 for Somerset. There is a brief note on the 2017 match at Chelmsford. Read More »

Turning the hop tide

T20. Somerset v Kent. 10th August 2019. Taunton.

Somerset. Babar Azam, T. Banton (w), J.C. Hildreth, E.J. Byrom, T.B. Abell (c), T.A. Lammonby, R.E. van der Merwe, C. Overton, T. Groenewald, J.E. Taylor, M.T.C. Waller. 

Kent. D.J. Bell-Drummond, Z. Crawley, H.G. Kuhn, S.W. Billings (c), Mohammad Nabi, A.J. Blake, O.G. Robinson (w), A.F. Milne, G.C. Viljoen, F.J. Klaassen, M.E. Claydon. 

Toss. Somerset. Elected to bat. 

Turning the hop tide

The hop tide had swept Somerset aside for far too long for either comfort or logic. For 11 successive T20 games to be precise. The chances of a tossed coin landing on the same side 11 times in succession are 2047 to 1 against. It doesn’t work like that in terms of match outcomes of course but even so that number gives an indication of the relentlessness of the Kent tide which has overwhelmed Somerset in T20 in recent times. Somerset came into this match on the back of two impressive wins but the Kent ‘bogey’, powered by the return of Billings, still hung heavy in the air even if the evening itself was bright and breezy. The pitch on the other hand, as seen from the top of the Somerset Pavilion, looked a dark greasy green as if it were the arm of a sofa which had not been cleaned for years.Read More »

A clash of centuries

T20. Kent v Somerset. 20th July 2019. Canterbury.

Kent. D.J. Bell-Drummond (c), Z. Crawley, O.G. Robinson (w), Mohhamad Nabi, A.J. Blake, S.R. Dickson, J.M. Cox, A.F. Milne, G.C. Viljoen, Imran Qayyum, F.J. Klaassen. 

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

Toss. Kent. Elected to bat.

A clash of centuries

The dog rose which so bedevilled my attempts to follow the Glamorgan match, I can report, refrained from re-joining the fray during the Kent match. Not that at the moment it is in a state to join any fray. That was as well for it meant I could watch the match on my laptop without fear of being irretrievably entangled if I let my concentration wander.

I was unable to travel to Canterbury so decided to watch the cricket on my laptop. Of course, watching cricket on a laptop wasn’t quite as simple as I had so innocently assumed it would be. Anyone remotely familiar with my reports will be well-versed in the disasters I occasionally suffer as a consequence of my inability to engage with the 21st century, not least with the incomprehensible labyrinthine complexities of its technology. Like trying to log in for pay-as-you-go access to cricket hidden behind a paywall. And it isn’t as if I haven’t bought access to a day’s cricket before. I have, but therein it seems lay the problem.Read More »

“Incredible. Just incredible.”

County Championship Division 1. Kent v Somerset. 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th June. Canterbury.

Overnight. Kent 139 and 24 for 2. Somerset 169. Kent trail by six runs with eight second innings wickets standing.

Fourth day. 13th June – “Incredible. Just incredible.”

“Incredible. Just incredible.” said the text. And incredible it was. Eight Kent wickets in less than an hour and the sight of Somerset’s Overton brothers gathering slip catches at second and third slip as if they were catching tennis balls thrown to them on a beach. That is the overriding picture that sticks in the mind after a final afternoon sitting in the top of the Frank Woolley Stand at the Pavilion End of the St. Lawrence Ground. Sitting among the images of those Overton catches is one of Davies flying effortlessly down the leg side at full stretch to snare a ball which had found the inside edge of the bat. Seen from behind on a small ground the view of slip and wicketkeeping catches is to my mind one of the great sights of cricket. The action is close, nothing impedes the view and you can watch the arc of the ball all the way to the hands of the fielder unless it flies straight to him. Whereas the ball which flew off the edge of Dickson’s bat and straight into the hands of Hildreth at the far end disappeared into a flurry of distant movement from bat, batsman, bowler and keeper. Only the instantaneous celebration of the cordon and Overton running to the far end, arm held aloft, set the heart racing yet again.Read More »

Astonishing things on an astonishing day

County Championship Division 1. Kent v Somerset. 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th June. Canterbury.

Toss. Uncontested. Kent required to bat.

Overnight. No play. Rain.

Second day. 12th June – Astonishing things on an astonishing day

Riding the top deck of the bus from Whitstable to Canterbury and back was rather like watching a team bat on the first day of play in this match. Never restful and full of unpredictable and frequent jolts to the system. Indeed, it soon became apparent that the only thing that was predictable was the unpredictability. There seemed to be more potholes on that road than craters on the face of the moon as every piece of repair work seemed to have settled into the soft subsoil. No-one was likely to fall asleep on that bus. Or at the cricket. 22 wickets fell in the day and the day ended with the match in the balance although with Somerset holding the faintest of edges. Only the faintest of edges because partnerships of any size were at a premium. As someone said to me, “Somerset are ahead by two decent partnerships to one.” And a 2-1 lead is always fragile especially when unpredictability is the order of the day.Read More »


Royal London One-Day Cup. Somerset v Kent. 19th April 2019. Taunton.

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

Kent. Z. Crawley, S.R. Dickson, M.T. Renshaw, O.G. Robinson, A.J. Blake, A.P. Rouse (c) (w), D.I Stevens, H.W. Podmore, H.E. Milnes, Imran Qayyum, F.J. Klaassen.

Toss. Kent. Elected to field.


“Kent didn’t really turn up did they?” said the person with me as Davey caught Milnes to give Craig Overton his fifth wicket, Somerset their tenth and the match by 264 runs. It was true in both senses of the phrase. Firstly, in the literal sense, five key Kent players were unavailable for various reasons. Secondly, in the sporting sense, the Kent team that did enter the field of play, at least when it came out to bat, did not appear to perform. The truth of it though was not that Kent did not ‘turn up’, but that Somerset did not permit them to play. It was an utterly uncompromising Somerset performance cast in the mould of the Championship victory over Nottinghamshire the previous weekend. Somerset simply overpowered Kent.Read More »

Somerset and the will to win

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Kent. 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th April 2019. Taunton.

Final day. 8th April – The will to win

Overnight. Somerset 171 and 171 for 7. Kent 209. Somerset lead by 133 runs with three second innings wickets standing.

There are times when cricket can truly lift the spirits to the heights. If you were a Somerset supporter this was one of those times. Somerset had spent the latter part of the third day desperately trying to pull this match back from the brink of defeat. For that is what the nadir of 32 for 4 in their second innings, still six behind Kent, had represented. The faces of most in the crowd had spoken of resignation to defeat. Tinged perhaps with hope but hope limited to that which could only be provided by a miracle.

It is clear now, looking back, that the Somerset team had other thoughts. Thoughts of turning a lost cause into a winning one through their own efforts. There would be no reliance on miracles on that side of the boundary. The fightback had started at the fall of that fourth wicket. By the close of the third day Somerset had reached 171 for 7, 133 runs into the lead in bowler friendly conditions. Much would depend on what those last three wickets could add on the final morning.Read More »

A repair job for Somerset

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 »

Somerset rush their fences

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 »

The ‘League of Nations’ and the Battle of the Shilling Ticket

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 »

Cider and hops ~ 1967-83

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 »

Memories. A Close run thing.

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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A testimonial to good cricket

T20 South Group. Kent v Somerset. 16th August 2018. Canterbury.

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley.” Robbie Burns knew a thing or two. Ask any Somerset supporter. Or consider my attempts to keep up with proceedings at Canterbury where Somerset were trying to hold on to top spot in the T20 Competition South Group in the last round of group matches …

Somerset won the toss and elected to field.

West Somerset to East Kent is too far to travel for a group stage T20 match. So someone bought me a ticket to Marcus Trescothick’s Testimonial Dinner in the 1875 Club which was being held at the same time as the match. I don’t have a smart phone but the person who bought me the ticket was thoughtful enough to send me with someone who does. And then it was announced the match would be televised …Read More »

Somerset in the Royal London One Day Cup 2017 – Part 1

This post contains the ‘Farmer White’ match reports on three of the first four 2017 Royal London One Day Cup group-stage matches. There is also a preview of one of the matches and some additional information to set the context of matches. All reports were written at the time. The time and date of the original posting on is contained at the head of each report.



“Fifty over cricket is not for the fainthearted.” 

In 2017 the Royal London One-Day Cup (RLODC) group stages were played in a three-week block beginning at the end of April. During the course of the competition there was much discussion among supporters about the length which Somerset’s bowlers bowled, particularly about short-pitched bowling, and some reflection of that can be seen in my posts.Read More »