Relentless

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

Toss. Kent. Elected to field.

Relentless

“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 didn’t ‘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 »