Someone Always Stands Up – Somerset v Middlesex – County Championship 2021 – Taunton – 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 Somerset 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. Somerset v Middlesex. 29th and 30th April, and 1st and 2nd May 2021. Taunton.

Somerset. T.A. Lammonby, T. Banton, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, S.M. Davies (w), L.P Goldsworthy, C. Overton, L. Gregory/J.A.Brooks*, J.H. Davey, M.J. Leach.

*J.A. Brooks was substituted for L. Gregory under the ECB COVID-19 Protocol from the third day.

Middlesex. M.D.E. Holden, S.D. Robson, N.R.T. Gubbins, P.S.P. Handscomb (c), R.G. White, J.A. Simpson (w), M.K. Andersson, L.B.K. Hollman, T.J. Murtagh. S.T. Finn, T.G. Helm.

Overnight. Middlesex 357 and 117. Somerset 268 and 104 for 4. Somerset need another 103 runs to win with six wickets standing.

Final day. 2nd May – Someone always stands up

Someone always stands up, or so they say about successful sports teams under pressure. In this match, for Somerset, virtually everyone stood up at different times, the more so the more critical to the outcome the situation became. Almost as many stood up for Middlesex across the match. The difference was that those standing up for Somerset did not wilt when the pressure on them was at it greatest. In an evenly balanced match, it is the team that best applies and absorbs pressure that wins. On a final morning of the most intense pressure and tension it was Somerset, in the form of the old master Steven Davies and the young debutant apprentice, Lewis Goldsworthy, who stood firm. Although it has to be said, the apprentice seemed to have as much to teach as to learn about dealing with pressure, and a head for it as old as any.

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Puck Changes the Mood – Somerset v Middlesex – County Championship 2021 – Taunton – 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 Somerset 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. Somerset v Middlesex. 29th and 30th April, and 1st and 2nd May 2021. Taunton.

Somerset. T.A. Lammonby, T. Banton, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, S.M. Davies (w), L.P Goldsworthy, C. Overton, L. Gregory/J.A.Brooks*, J.H. Davey, M.J. Leach.

*J.A. Brooks was substituted for L. Gregory under the ECB COVID-19 Protocol from the third day.

Middlesex. M.D.E. Holden, S.D. Robson, N.R.T. Gubbins, P.S.P. Handscomb (c), R.G. White, J.A. Simpson (w), M.K. Andersson, L.B.K. Hollman, T.J. Murtagh. S.T. Finn, T.G. Helm.

Overnight. Middlesex 357. Somerset 178 for 4. Somerset trail by 179 runs.

Third day 1st May – Puck changes the mood

This match is quite a tussle. Middlesex established a first innings lead of 89 having worked their way through Somerset’s last six wickets on the third morning for 90 runs. It might have been a decisive moment in the match had it not been for Somerset’s Overton and Davey who on the third afternoon led the way in reducing Middlesex’s second innings to 117 all out. It left Somerset with 207 to win, a greater task than it sounds on a pitch still offering pace and bounce and some movement. When Somerset fell to 17 for 2, with both openers gone, 207 seemed a universe away.

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A Mountain to Climb – Somerset v Middlesex – County Championship 2021 – Taunton – 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 Somerset 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. Somerset v Middlesex. 29th and 30th April, and 1st and 2nd May 2021. Taunton.

Middlesex. M.D.E. Holden, S.D. Robson, N.R.T. Gubbins, P.S.P. Handscomb (c), R.G. White, M.K. Andersson, J.A. Simpson (w), L.B.K. Hollman, T.G. Helm, E.R. Bamber, T.J. Murtagh.

Somerset. T.A. Lammonby, T. Banton, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, S.M. Davies (w), L.P Goldsworthy, C. Overton, L. Gregory, J.H. Davey, M.J. Leach.

Overnight. Middlesex 308 for 6.

Second day 30th April – A mountain to climb

Somerset began with Gregory from the River End and Overton from the Trescothick Pavilion End. For Middlesex Luke Hollman began by steering Overton past third slip and by cutting Gregory through backward point to the Somerset Stand, both for four. Another no ball from Gregory and a bouncer from Overton which cleared Davies’ upstretched arms added to the Middlesex score. Then, as the bowlers settled, they began to assert some control and seven overs passed for 11 runs.

Eventually Overton’s persistence found a way through. Hollman came forward in defence to a ball angled in from around the wicket. Delivered by Overton’s perfectly perpendicular arm the ball beat Hollman for pace. In what is perhaps the most spectacular sight in cricket the off stump cartwheeled, only coming to rest several yards beyond its mooring point. It was the sort of delivery and result which brings gasps of wonder and cheers of delight from supporters around a ground, and would have done so on this occasion from supporters in front of screens across Somerset and beyond. Feelings of relief too, for the Middlesex score, if slowly, was beginning to reach heights which would have given even the most worrisome Middlesex supporter cause for comfort.

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Oh, W.G. – Somerset v Middlesex – County Championship 2021 – Taunton – 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 Somerset 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. Somerset v Middlesex. 29th and 30th April, and 1st and 2nd May 2021. Taunton.

Somerset. T.A. Lammonby, T. Banton, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, S.M. Davies (w), L.P. Goldsworthy, C. Overton, L. Gregory, J.H. Davey, M.J. Leach.

Middlesex. M.D.E. Holden, S.D. Robson, N.R.T. Gubbins, P.S.P. Handscomb (c), R.G. White, J.A. Simpson (w), M.K. Andersson, L.B.K. Hollman, T.J. Murtagh. S.T. Finn, T.G. Helm.

Toss. Somerset. Elected to bowl.

First day 29th April – Oh, W.G.

Oh, W.G., does’t thee turn, head slowly shaking, in thy grave? It was a day when the sun shone bright, Somerset played two spinners and the wicket had a tinge of green as far as the eagle-eyed camera could discern. Before a ball was bowled my heart sank as the wonders of modern technology brought news from the ground that Somerset had won the toss and asked Middlesex to bat. Where the toss is concerned, I am a W.G. man, even when there is a tinge of green, and nothing happened on the first day to dissuade me of that view. More than six decades of watching Somerset play cricket has left me, based on my anecdotal memory it is true, convinced that the percentages weigh heavily in favour of batting on winning the toss, almost whatever the conditions. Forty minutes after lunch, Middlesex were 121 for 2, the ball was losing its early vim, Jack Leach had just replaced Tom Abell at the River End, Peter Handscomb had steered him neatly past James Hildreth at slip for four and another insertion anecdote was being lowered into the well of disappointed hopes.

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The match of a lifetime – Middlesex v Somerset – County Championship 2021 – Lord’s – 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 Middlesex 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. Middlesex v Somerset. 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th April 2021. Lord’s.

Middlesex. M.D.E. Holden, S.D. Robson, N.R.T. Gubbins, S.S. Eskinazi (c), R.G. White, M.K. Andersson, J.A. Simpson (w), T.S. Roland-Jones, T.G. Helm, E.R. Bamber, T.J. Murtagh

Somerset. T.A. Lammonby, T. Banton, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, S.M. Davies (w), C. Overton, L. Gregory, M. de Lange, J.H. Davey, M.J. Leach.

Overnight. Middlesex 313 and 143. Somerset 172 and 112 for 3. Somerset need another 173 runs to win with seven wickets standing

Final day. 11th April – The match of a lifetime

I saw my first Somerset match in 1958. I was seven years old. I am now 70 years old. It is difficult to recall in the intervening years seeing an outcome quite so remarkable as this one. For an ardent Somerset watcher that is quite a claim. At the end of the second day Middlesex led by 228 runs with eight second innings wickets standing. Middlesex’s first innings 313 was generally held to be some way above par for the conditions. Midway through that second day it had been put into its true perspective when Somerset’s reply subsided to 89 for 9 with numbers ten and eleven at the wicket. Somerset were not so much staring into the abyss as laying in pieces at the bottom of it.

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Somerset shape the day – Middesex v Somerset – County Championship 2021 – Lord’s – 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 Middlesex 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. Middlesex v Somerset. 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th April 2021. Lord’s.

Middlesex. M.D.E. Holden, S.D. Robson, N.R.T. Gubbins, S.S. Eskinazi (c), R.G. White, M.K. Andersson, J.A. Simpson (w), T.S. Roland-Jones, T.G. Helm, E.R. Bamber, T.J. Murtagh

Somerset. T.A. Lammonby, T. Banton, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, S.M. Davies (w), C. Overton, L. Gregory, M. de Lange, J.H. Davey, M.J. Leach.

Overnight. Middlesex 313 and 87 for 2. Somerset 172. Middlesex lead by 228 with eight second innings wickets standing.

Third day. 10th April – Somerset shape the day

At the start of the final day of this match Somerset will need one hundred and seventy-three runs to win with seven wickets standing. In one sense that is a simple statement of fact. But in the minds, and in the hearts, of the supporters of Somerset and Middlesex it is so much more than that. For them it is a statement replete with meaning, charged with hope and dripping with anxiety. It is laden with the ifs and buts, with the twists and turns, and with the incessant tension of a third day which breathed vibrant life back into a match which had seemed, to all intents and purposes, over at the end of the second day, such a dominant position had Middlesex fashioned.

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Outplayed – Middlesex v Somerset – County Championship 2021 – Lord’s – 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 Middlesex 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. Middlesex v Somerset. 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th April 2021. Lord’s.

Middlesex. M.D.E. Holden, S.D. Robson, N.R.T. Gubbins, S.S. Eskinazi (c), R.G. White, M.K. Andersson, J.A. Simpson (w), T.S. Roland-Jones, T.G. Helm, E.R. Bamber, T.J. Murtagh

Somerset. T.A. Lammonby, T. Banton, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, S.M. Davies (w), C. Overton, L. Gregory, M. de Lange, J.H. Davey, M.J. Leach.

Overnight. Middlesex 293 for 8.

Second day. 9th April – Outplayed

For Somerset supporters this was not the day perched on the edge of the seats of their armchairs hoped for at the end of the first day. It was instead, a day spent slumped into the depths of the cushions of those chairs. Somerset have thus far been comprehensively outplayed in this match. Largely, on the batting front, by Sam Robson’s outstanding innings on the first day. As to the bowling the Middlesex pace attack, more accustomed it is true to using the conditions and the slope at Lord’s, were more consistent than the Somerset bowlers in causing trouble for the batsmen, perhaps Lewis Gregory’s first innings contribution excepted. Too often in Middlesex’s second innings, the Somerset bowlers gave leeway in line or dropped short and the Middlesex batsmen took full advantage. In their first innings, had it not been for a typically swashbuckling innings from Marchant de Lange, assiduously supported by Jack Leach, Somerset would have found themselves bowled out for two figures and conceded a lead of over 200 against a Middlesex first innings only just in excess of 300. The gap between the sides, on the first two days of this match at least, was that great.

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A day of cricket of the old sort – Middlesex v Somerset – County Championship 2021 – Lord’s – 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 Middlesex 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. Middlesex v Somerset. 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th April 2021. Lord’s.

Middlesex. M.D.E. Holden, S.D. Robson, N.R.T. Gubbins, S.S. Eskinazi (c), R.G. White, M.K. Andersson, J.A. Simpson (w), T.S. Roland-Jones, T.G. Helm, E.R. Bamber, T.J. Murtagh

Somerset. T.A. Lammonby, T. Banton, T.B. Abell (c), J.C. Hildreth, G.A. Bartlett, S.M. Davies (w), C. Overton, L. Gregory, M. de Lange, J.H. Davey, M.J. Leach.

Toss. Somerset. Elected to field.

First day. 8th April – A day of cricket of the old sort

This was a day of championship cricket of the old sort. A day on which the bowlers had to work hard for their wickets and batsmen for their runs. A day on which the pitch seemed to favour neither batsman nor bowler and on which less than 300 runs were scored. There was some lift for Craig Overton in the morning but no great movement for any of the bowlers most of the time. Of the Middlesex batsmen, Stephen Eskanazi batted two hours to grind out 22, Robbie White an hour and a quarter for 17. Only one batsman, Sam Robson, exceeded Eskanazi’s 22.

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The A.B. de Villiers show

T20. Middlesex v Somerset. 4th August 2019. Richmond.

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, J. Overton, J.E. Taylor, M.T.C. Waller. 

Middlesex. P.R. Stirling, D.W. Malan (c), A.B. de Villiers, E.J.G. Morgan, J.A. Simpson (w), S.S. Eskinazi, T.S. Roland-Jones, T.G. Helm, N.A. Sowter, S.T. Finn, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.  

Toss. Somerset. Elected to field.

The A.B. de Villiers show 

When you see a cricket ball repeatedly describing an arc across the sky with the precision a Galileo or a Newton would have employed you know you are in the presence of greatness. Of cricketing greatness at least. For when A.B. de Villiers hits a six there is no doubt about the destination of the ball, at least there wasn’t on this small ground. No split second of calculation to work out whether the ball will carry the rope or slow and begin the terminal drop into a boundary fielder’s hands. No need for anyone to say, “That’s gone!” The statement would be embarrassingly superfluous for it would be the ultimate example of stating the obvious.Read More »

Nightmare on Watling Street

Royal London One-Day Cup. Middlesex v Somerset. 1st May 2019. Radlett.

Toss. Somerset. Elected to field.

Nightmare on Watling Street

It was like the reverse of being in one of those nightmares in which, however fast you run, the plodding steps of the chasing ogre always closes the gap until you wake up in a cold sweat. At Radlett it was Somerset who did the plodding in pursuit of the Middlesex ogre which raced increasingly far into the distance and never really looked like being caught. There was no cold sweat. Just a sinking feeling, which started when the Middlesex openers snatched control of the game, and which sank deeper and deeper as the day wore on. There was never any respite for Somerset.Read More »

Memories. When the heavens wept.

Gillette Cup Semi-Final. Middlesex v Somerset. 17th, 18th, 19th, 24th, 25th and 26th August 1977. Lord’s.

Forty or so years ago a one-day match at Lord’s was rained off. Nothing exceptional about that you might think. Except in this case there was. Not least that the match was effectively rescheduled five times before it could be played, involved the movement of a Championship fixture to another date and to another ground in another county, and may even have affected the outcome of that year’s County Championship. Even Elvis put in an appearance, of sorts at least. Read More »

County Championship 2017 ~ Middlesex ~ Final day ~ Floating on air

September 2017 Specsavers County Championship. First Division. Taunton. 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th. Somerset v Middlesex.

In short, Somerset needed to defeat Middlesex to retain their First Division status. Victory for Somerset would also mean the relegation of Middlesex. Any other result would reverse those roles.

Overnight. Somerset 236 and 250-9 dec. Middlesex 142 and 40-3. Middlesex need a further 305 runs to win with 7 wickets standing. 

28th September. Final Day – Floating on air    

Farmer White (IP Logged) 28 September 2017 11.11 p.m.

“I normally set off for a Somerset match filled with trepidation and deep foreboding about the outcome. It was like an out of body experience this morning as I set off, for I had no such forebodings, just a quiet confidence that Somerset would do an efficient professional job of retaining their place in the First Division. Difficult to explain why my psyche should let me have such an easy ride. With so much hanging on the day I should have been paralysed with anxiety. As it was I floated on air. Read More »

County Championship 2017 ~ Middlesex ~ Third day ~ The value of Hildreth

September 2017 Specsavers County Championship. First Division. Taunton. 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th. Somerset v Middlesex.

Overnight. Somerset 236 and 159-3. Middlesex 142. Somerset lead by 259 runs with seven second innings wickets standing.  

27th September. Third Day – The value of Hildreth

Farmer White (IP Logged) 28 September 2017 8.28 a.m.

“Well what a day that was. From the first ball there was no doubting Somerset’s intent with the bat, or the weather’s. Middlesex’s in the field soon became clear too. By the end of the day we saw the mettle of Somerset’s new Chief Executive for we knew that by the end of the next day the Director of Cricket will have departed. Steven Davies had been awarded his county cap. By next week a new Director of Cricket will have been announced, and a new post of Head Coach created and filled. And Craig Overton is off to the Ashes too.*
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County Championship 2017 ~ Middlesex ~ Second day ~ Two old hands excel

September 2017 Specsavers County Championship. First Division. Taunton. 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th. Somerset v Middlesex.

Overnight. Somerset 236. Middlesex 18-3. Middlesex trail Somerset by 218 runs with seven first innings wickets standing.    

26th September. Second Day – Two old hands excel

Farmer White (IP Logged) 27 September 2017 1.30 a.m.
“We started ten minutes late on the second day amid mist, mizzle and misgivings about the pitch hanging in the air like the sword of Damocles over Somerset’s First Division status*. By the end of the day the sun had despatched the mist and the mizzle, and the bats of Hildreth, Abell, Trescothick, Stirling and Malan should have seen off Damocles and his sword.
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County Championship 2017 ~ Middlesex ~ Relegation showdown

September 2017 Specsavers County Championship. First Division. Taunton. 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th. Somerset v Middlesex.

Somerset faced Middlesex at Taunton for the last Championship match of the 2017 season. In all probability, one of the two counties would be relegated from the First Division at the end of the match. If Somerset were to beat Middlesex, and at least match them for bonus points, they would end the season on the same number of points as Middlesex but would finish above them because the victory would give them four wins to Middlesex’s three. For Middlesex the situation was more simple. Anything but a victory for Somerset would see Middlesex safe. For both sides there were other more nebulous permutations involving other teams, particularly Middlesex, but the outcome of the match between the two sides was by far the most likely determinent of their respective futures.Read More »

A classic T20 encounter ~ Somerset v Middlesex ~ 2017

NatWest T20 Blast. Taunton. 23rd July 2017. Somerset v Middlesex.

Somerset won the toss for the fifth time in succession in their 2017 T20 campaign after a long delay for a wet outfield before the match got underway. There had been a colossal downpour an hour or so before the match was due to start. There was concern about the area in front of the Somerset Pavilion which remained wetter than the rest of the outfield. The match was reduced to 16 overs a side. 

Well what a game and what a collection of smiling faces of all ages around the ground afterwards. And what a performance by the Somerset team with Middlesex almost matching it. What a game you get when two teams go hammer and tongs at each other like that. And what an atmosphere. And a cricket atmosphere at that. Not even a hint of a Mexican wave. Just a couple of ripples of ironic pantomime cheers from the Somerset Stand at a mystified Middlesex miss field. Read More »

Tempest at Uxbridge

NatWest T20 Blast. Uxbridge. 16th July 2017. Middlesex v Somerset.

After two defeats and the worst of an abandoned match at Cardiff Somerset travelled to Uxbridge, and so did I …

“We had long since booked seats on the coach to London to see ‘Bat out of Hell’ at the Colosseum on Friday night, and ‘The Tempest’ at The Barbican on Saturday afternoon. Mayhem and Magic. We were in the back row of the ‘gods’ for both. We are like that. It gets you in to see two or even three ‘shows’ for the price of one. It proved an inspired choice. The staging of both was spectacularly, brilliantly, magically in the case of ‘The Tempest’, inspired and the ‘gods’ may have been the best place in the house for both stages are vast. Had I had to judge between the two I would have been hard put to make a choice. Which is the better stroke Trescothick’s cover drive or Hildreth’s on drive? It was that good and that close.
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County Championship 2017 ~ Signs of revival

Somerset’s fifth County Championship match of the 2017 season after three defeats and a desperate draw. For the first time in 2017, Somerset got the better of a Championship match, although the first victory of the season remained elusive. Lewis Gregory made a stunning maiden first-class century and was inolved in a huge partnership with Dean Elgar who made 158. The debate about the fragility of the Somerset batting continues. The reports starts with a match preview which looks back at a fighting Somerset draw at Lord’s in 2013.

The match report itself includes a description of what it was like to be in London during the first London Bridge terrorist attack which took place during the course of this match.

As always the original reports are in a darker font and begin and end with quotation marks.

SIGNS OF REVIVAL 

~   MIDDLESEX   ~ 

“As to my weekend in London the Saturday night and London’s response to it will leave a mark long after the match…has merged in with memories of many other matches.” 

Specsavers County Championship. First Division. Lord’s. 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th June 2017. Middlesex 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 »