“We are loving this”

County Championship Group 2. Somerset v Leicestershire. 4th, 5th,  6th and 7th July 2021. Taunton.

Somerset. D.P. Conway, S.M. Davies (w), L.P. Goldsworthy, J.C. Hildreth*, G.A. Bartlett, T.A. Lammonby, C. Overton (c)/K.L. Aldridge*, R.E. van der Merwe, J.H. Davey, M de Lange, J.A. Brooks.  *C. Overton was called into the England ODI squad before the start of day 3. J.C. Hildreth replaced him as captain and K.L. Aldridge replaced him as a player.

Leicestershire. R.K.Patel, L.J. Hill, M.S. Harris, C. Ackermann (c), J.P. Inglis, H.J. Swindells (w), B.W.M. Mike, C.F. Parkinson, G.T. Griffiths, E. Barnes, W.S. Davis.

Overnight. Somerset 461 for 9 dec. Leicestershire 390 for 7. Leicestershire trail by 71 runs with three first innings wickets standing.

Final day 7th July – “We are loving this?”

The scene for the final day was set by the weather forecast which, with some certainty, predicted perhaps half a day’s play at best. With Leicestershire’s first innings still to be completed and the follow-on having been saved early on the previous evening all that seemed to remain for decision was the nature of the draw that would result. Leicestershire had the best of the remains of the match, and the two supporters sitting behind me who had travelled from Leicester to watch their team away from home for the first time this year lapped up every moment of it. “We are loving this,” one of them said as the Leicestershire score passed 450, “We are not used to it. It is usually us on the receiving end.”

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Somerset lose ground – Leicestershire v Somerset – County Championship 2021 – 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th July – Third day

County Championship Group 2. Somerset v Leicestershire. 4th, 5th,  6th and 7th July 2021. Taunton.

Somerset. D.P. Conway, S.M. Davies (w), L.P. Goldsworthy, J.C. Hildreth*, G.A. Bartlett, T.A. Lammonby, C. Overton (c)/K.L. Aldridge*, R.E. van der Merwe, J.H. Davey, M de Lange, J.A. Brooks.  *C. Overton was called into the England ODI squad before the start of day 3. J.C. Hildreth replaced him as captain and K.L. Aldridge replaced him as a player.

Leicestershire. R.K.Patel, L.J. Hill, M.S. Harris, C. Ackermann (c), J.P. Inglis, H.J. Swindells (w), B.W.M. Mike, C.F. Parkinson, G.T. Griffiths, E. Barnes, W.S. Davis.

Overnight. Somerset 461 for 9 dec. Leicestershire 95 for 3. Leicestershire trail by 366 runs.

Third day 6th July – Somerset lose ground

Somerset began the third day in the ascendant, although some would have wanted an early wicket to be certain of that assessment. The players took the field in the face of a chill, almost autumnal breeze and enough grey cloud to give the bowlers some encouragement. Leicestershire began the long haul that would be needed to get them within range of the Somerset score with intense defence. The Somerset bowlers were quickly on the mark, the bat was beaten several times and a running mix-up brought hands to foreheads and the comment, “If the throw had hit, he was gone.” It was tight, give-nothing cricket and 12 runs in the first nine overs told the story.

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“That was going into the next field”

County Championship Group 2. Somerset v Leicestershire. 4th, 5th,  6th and 7th July 2021. Taunton.

Somerset. D.P. Conway, S.M. Davies (w), L.P. Goldsworthy, J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, T.A. Lammonby, C. Overton (c), R.E. van der Merwe, J.H. Davey, M de Lange, J.A.Brooks.

Leicestershire. R.K.Patel, L.J. Hill, M.S. Harris, C. Ackermann (c), J.P. Inglis, H.J. Swindells (w), B.W.M. Mike, C.F. Parkinson, G.T. Griffiths, E. Barnes, W.S. Davis.

Overnight. Somerset 242 for 7.

Second day 5th July – “That was going into the next field.”

The anticipation of a game in the balance from the previous evening still hung in the air as I took my seat in the lower deck of the Trescothick Pavilion. Somerset 242 for 7 overnight was a difficult score to read. The conditions were more conducive to batting, of which Leicestershire were expected to do the main part, with the atmosphere still warm, but less humid. There was cloud, though high and white, with enough gaps for the sun to shine through. Leicestershire held the advantage thought the head, but the heart reminded that this Somerset team had won from far less propitious positions.

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A Day of Two Halves – Somerset v Leicestershire – County Championship 2021 – 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th July – Taunton – First Day

County Championship Group 2. Somerset v Leicestershire. 4th, 5th,  6th and 7th July 2021. Taunton.

Somerset. D.P. Conway, S.M. Davies (w), L.P. Goldsworthy, J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, T.A. Lammonby, C. Overton (c), R.E. van der Merwe, J.H. Davey, M de Lange, J.A.Brooks.

Leicestershire. R.K.Patel, L.J. Hill, M.S. Harris, C. Ackermann (c), J.P. Inglis, H.J. Swindells (w), B.W.M. Mike, C.F. Parkinson, G.T. Griffiths, E. Barnes, W.S. Davis.

Toss. Leicestershire. Elected to field.

First day 4th July – A day of two halves

It was a day of two halves. 134 for 0 before the afternoon rain. 108 for 7 after. It left Somerset on 242 for 7 at the close. Exceptional batting in conditions more challenging than the score suggested before the rain. Persistent line and length bowling with some movement and lift eventually producing results after it. In the afternoon sun it felt ten degrees warmer, and the humidity brought sweat to the brow. Whether that had a say in the proceedings or not, the volte face in the nature of the cricket left a tantalizing prospect for the second day for which the ever-changing forecast hinted at a drier, if not entirely dry day.

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Back Within Range – Leicestershire v Somerset – County Championship 2021 – Grace Road – 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 Leicestershire 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. Leicestershire v Somerset. 22nd, 23rd  and 24th April 2021. Grace Road.

Leicestershire. M.S. Harris, M.H. Azad, H.E. Dearden, C. Ackermann (c)/R.K. Patel*, L.J. Hill, H.J. Swindells (w), B.W.M. Mike, C.F. Parkinson, C.J.C. Wright, D. Klein, G.T. Griffiths.

*R.K. Patel replaced C. Ackermann under the ECB concussion regulations from the second day.

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.

Overnight. Leicestershire 233 and 48 for 3. Somerset 318. Leicestershire trail by 37 runs with seven second innings wickets standing.

Final day 24th April – Back within range

In the end, Leicestershire, having just edged the first day, were beaten by a Somerset side which for over a decade had played its cricket in the first division of the pre-coronavirus County Championship. The first division was and will be again if it is revived after this season, a tough, unforgiving school. The core players of this Somerset team had their skills honed in that school. Players like Craig Overton, Tom Abell, Lewis Gregory and Jack Leach have known nothing else in four-day domestic cricket.

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The Balance Shifts Somerset’s Way – Leicestershire v Somerset – County Championship 2021 – 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 Leicestershire 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. Leicestershire v Somerset. 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th April 2021. Grace Road.

Leicestershire. M.S. Harris, M.H. Azad, H.E. Dearden, C. Ackermann (c)/R.K. Patel*, L.J. Hill, H.J. Swindells (w), B.W.M. Mike, C.F. Parkinson, C.J.C. Wright, D. Klein, G.T. Griffiths.

*R.K. Patel replaced C. Ackermann under the ECB concussion regulations from the second day.

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.

Overnight. Leicestershire 233. Somerset 53 for 3. Somerset trail by 180 runs.

Second day 23rd April – The balance shifts Somerset’s way

This has been a good game of cricket played on a good cricket wicket. There is help in the pitch for the bowlers and the batsman who applies himself can find runs in it. At the end of the first day the game was in the balance, perhaps with Leicestershire slightly ahead. At the end of the second, Somerset have moved ahead thanks to a succession of individual innings, three key partnerships which between them added 245 of Somerset’s 38 runs, and an exceptional spell from Craig Overton at the beginning of Leicestershire’s second innings. For Leicestershire Callum Parkinson bowled well enough, and was unlucky with dropped catches, to suggest he could make life difficult for Somerset in their second innings if Leicestershire could just set a target with some challenge in it. There was some good fortune too, particularly for Tom Abell who was dropped once and survived the closest of run out decisions.

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A Seesaw of a Day – Leicestershire v Somerset – County Championship 2021 – Grace Road – 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 Leicestershire 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. Leicestershire v Somerset. 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th April 2021. Grace Road.

Leicestershire. M.S. Harris, M.H. Azad, H.E. Dearden, C. Ackermann (c), L.J. Hill, H.J. Swindells (w), B.W.M. Mike, C.F. Parkinson, C.J.C. Wright, D. Klein, G.T. Griffiths.

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.

Toss. Leicestershire. Elected to bat.

First day. 22nd April – A seesaw of a day

As far as could be told through the lens of the live stream camera at the start of play it had looked a good toss to win. There was not a cloud in the sky, at least in that part of the sky which the camera revealed above the houses stretching along the edge of the ground. Neither, from the distant view offered by the camera, could I see any sign of grass on the pitch. It looked white when compared to the deep green of the two strips on either side of it but had more of a brown hue when the camera produced a closer view.

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