County Championship 2017 ~ Surrey ~ Final day ~ A fighting defeat

Specsavers County Championship. First Division. The Oval. 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd September 2017. Surrey v Somerset.

Overnight. Somerset 269 and 113-4. Surrey 433. Somerset trail by 51 runs with 6 second inningswickets standing.

22nd September 2017. Final Day.

Farmer White (IP Logged) 24 September 2017 12.58 p.m.

“It was a fitting end to Kumar Sangakkara’s last innings at The Oval as Surrey closed in on victory. It would have been a fitting end to his first-class career had it taken place during his final match, at Old Trafford next week. Here, he drove a ball from Dom Bess so perfectly straight and with such tremendous ferocity that Umpire Ian Gould took evasive action by tumbling flat onto his back like an upended stump. It was not Gould’s speed of reaction which saved him, but the lightning fast reaction and sureness of hand of Dom Bess who, it seemed impossibly, caught the ball. Read More »

County Championship 2017 ~ Surrey ~ Third day ~ Match in tatters

Close. Somerset 269. Surrey 328-6. Surrey lead by 59 runs with 4 first innings wickets standing.

21st September. Third Day -Match in tatters

Farmer White (IP Logged) 22 September 2017 8.26 a.m.
“The relegation tide rose around Somerset on the third day of this match. Middlesex won at Lord’s and Yorkshire are closing in on Warwickshire at Headingley, although making some heavy weather of it. Somerset are losing against Surrey, and will need an extended effort from their remaining six wickets on the last day against a rampant Surrey to salvage the five points which come with a draw. It will require their best batting of the match, the first morning apart. Read More »

County Championship 2017 ~ Surrey ~ Second day ~ Sangakkara

Specsavers County Championship. First Division. The Oval. 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd September 2017. Surrey v Somerset. 

Overnight. Somerset 269. Surrey 42-0. Surrey trail by 227 runs with all first innings wickets standing.     

20th September. Second Day – Sangakkara

Farmer White (IP Logged) 21 September 2017 8.40 a.m.
“The real world sometimes impinges on a day at the cricket. It did, briefly, today as I neared The Oval on the tube for the second day’s play. “Is this anyone’s bag?” someone shouted from next to one of the doors in my carriage. It wasn’t. At least it didn’t belong to anyone still on the train. People started to gravitate towards the two ends of the carriage. There was nothing remotely approximating to panic, just a calm though visibly anxious quiet on people’s faces. The bag looked so innocuous as it rested there, now quite alone. At the same time it looked numbingly fearsome as the implications of what it could be began to sink in.
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County Championship 2017 ~ Surrey ~ First day ~ Swimming against the tide

Specsavers County Championship. First Division. The Oval. 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd September 2017. Surrey v Somerset. 

With one point covering three teams the second relegation slot was most likely to fall to Middlesex, Somerset or Yorkshire. although it was still possible that Hampshire or Surrey, a further 11 and 13 points ahead of Yorkshire, might just come into the frame, especially if Surrey lost to Somerset, Middlesex beat Lancashire at Lord’s and Warwickshire beat Yorkshire at Headingley. 

19th September. First Day – Swimming against the tide

Farmer White (IP Logged) 20 September 2017 8.50 a.m.

“Somerset may just be running out of road in their late season charge to stay in the First Division. After two stunning victories against teams at the bottom and near the top of the table they may find themselves swimming against a powerful tide on the second day at The Oval. At least that is how it was starting to feel at the close of the first day from my perch in the Peter May Stand. I sat for most of the day on a line exactly square of the Pavilion End stumps. Hardly a position from which to judge if the ball was moving but during the eighty or so minutes after lunch Rikki Clarke looked as if he had the ball on a string. Five wickets fell in the space of 35 runs, all to moving ball type dismissals; and there were many more balls which were played at and missed. It was a devastating piece of bowling which left Somerset’s First Division survival hopes hanging by a thread. Read More »

County Championship 2017 ~ Hard pounding ~ Surrey


~   SURREY   ~ 

“The Quantocks had given up the unequal struggle and the cloud had enveloped the ground as much as the applause. But what memories remain of that golden miraculous afternoon.” 

Specsavers County Championship. First Division. Taunton. 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th August 2017. Somerset v Surrey.

The Championship resumed for one round of matches the day after the T20 match against Surrey who remained at Taunton for the four-day game. The question was could Somerset build any momentum after the stunning and unexpected win at Scarborough a month previously. Tom Abell returned to the captaincy after a few unsuccessful appearances in the T20 competition. Lewis Gregory, after his spectacular foray into captaincy at Scarborough, was now finally unable to play for the remainder of the season following surgery on a longstanding back injury.

 7th August. First Day.

Farmer White (IP Logged) 8 August 2017 at 8.42 a.m.

“Perhaps the most important thing I saw yesterday were four primary school age children playing cricket in the car park and another still carrying a pair of inflatable batons from the previous day’s T20 so he at least had been brought to both games. I saw five others, or perhaps the same five, waiting for autographs by the Caddyshack only to all set off like a flock of Cooper Associates County Ground seagulls, in hot pursuit of Steven Davies’ six, presumably for the honour of throwing it back. They were foiled because it fell at the foot of the out of bounds, for this match, temporary stand. There were four or five children of a similar age in the top deck of the Somerset Pavilion from where I viewed today. Hopefully from small beginnings children at Championship matches in numbers will return perhaps gradually drawn in by T20 where they proliferate. Read More »

Another Somerset miracle against Surrey

NatWest T20 Blast. Taunton. 6th August 2017. Somerset v Surrey

“Another full house, although as always with full houses there were groups of empty seats visible in the Trescothick and Somerset Stands. The lower deck of the Somerset Pavilion was tight packed, mainly with County Championship age members including, for a change in this form of cricket, me. The family stand bristled with furry headbands and inflatable batons and the temporary stand was pretty well full. I had time to count another 42 watching from the flats including a good impersonation of a row of parrots on a perch at the front of the roof terrace. It was a crowd that buzzed in anticipation of another classic game. I am not sure it was a classic but it certainly held the attention and as far as I could see no-one left.
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Corey Anderson’s Somerset spectacular – The Oval 2017

I wrote match reports on a number of Somerset’s T20 matches in 2017. The first was at The Oval with references to Beau Nash, Henry Fielding, cricket at Hambledon. The occasion was spectacular, so was the match and Corey Anderson, in his first match for Somerset, played as spectacular a T20 innings as anyone is ever likely to see.

NatWest T20 Blast. The Oval. 9th July 2017. Surrey v Somerset.

I watched this match from square of the wicket in the Peter May Stand at The Kia Oval.

Farmer White (IP Logged) 10 July 2017 11.27 p.m.

“As my London bound coach turned on to the M4, the modern usurper of the old Great West Road from London to Bath, I read Henry Fielding’s ‘Tom Jones’, forerunner of the modern novel. It was written in the age of ‘Beau’ Nash when Bath was being turned into one of the premier summer retreats of London ‘society’ and just before Hambledon flourished as England’s premier cricket club and started the process of regularising cricket’s rules. 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 »

Of Finch and spin

T20. Surrey v Somerset. 27th August 2019. The Oval.

Surrey. A.J. Finch, M.D. Stoneman, S.M. Curran, O.J. Pope, W.G. Jacks, J. Clark, B.T. Foakes (w), R.S. Patel, J.W. Dernbach, G.J. Batty, Imran Tahir. 

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. 

Toss. Somerset. Elected to bat.

Of Finch and spin

I always approach the Oval with foreboding for a T20 match although not for the Championship or 50 over cricket. In fact, after Taunton, the Peter May Stand is, alongside the Hollies Stand at Edgbaston, one of my two favourite places to watch Championship cricket. It’s just T20 at the Oval. For Somerset always seem to lose there. I am sure Somerset must have won a T20 match at the Oval but I don’t recall it happening when I have been there. Aaron Finch was playing in this match too and he has T20 ‘form’ against Somerset. That I have seen. Two years ago at the Oval, Somerset lost by four runs. Finch made 61. Somerset sank to 106 for 8 chasing 181 with five and a half overs to go. Then Corey Anderson launched one of the most astonishing T20 batting assaults I have ever seen. Anderson, batting at seven because he had been off the field with an injury, reached 80 from 44 balls to leave Somerset needing eight to win from four. The left-handed Anderson drove to long on in front of the OCS Stand and raced back towards the Pavilion End aiming for a second run in an attempt to keep the strike. Finch fielded and in a brilliant combination of a cool head and an outstanding piece of cricket threw unerringly to the keeper. Anderson was run out and Surrey won by four runs. More of Finch later. Read More »

The three ‘B’s and the men from Truro

T20. Somerset v Surrey. 2nd August 2019. Taunton.

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

Surrey. W.G. Jacks, A.J. Finch (c), S.M. Curran, O.J. Pope, T.K. Curran, J. Clark, B.T. Foakes (w), J.L. Smith, R. Clarke, G.J. Batty, Imran Tahir. 

Toss. Somerset. Elected to field.

Cricket on fire – The three ‘B’s and the men from Truro

As Eddie Byrom walked out to bat I was looking down at my scorecard to see from where, in the absence of Gregory, Somerset’s final explosive charge might come. I was looking in the wrong place. There is a feeling that Somerset have missed Corey Anderson’s soaring sixes this year. They may be missed no more. Byrom, on T20 debut, was a revelation of Damascene proportions. The barnacle-like opening batsman of 2018 had been transformed into an incandescent purveyor of batting pyrotechnics. In future when he comes to the wicket T20 bowlers might do well to heed the age-old warning: ‘light blue touch paper and retire’.Read More »

Somerset’s tectonic shift

County Championship Division 1. Surrey v Somerset. 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th June. Guildford.

Final day. 6th June – Somerset’s tectonic shift

Overnight. Somerset 344 and 153. Surrey 231 and 99 for 2. Surrey need a further 156 runs to win with eight wickets standing.

What a difference a year makes! In one sense the fourth morning of this match was very similar to the third morning at Guildford in 2018. A bowling performance of such intensity that the batting just melted away before it. Except in 2019 it was Somerset who were doing the bowling and Surrey the melting away. After the 2018 match several travelling Somerset supporters found ourselves in a group behind the Pavilion and concluded we had seen the 2018 County Champions and they were not Somerset. Another group, some from last year and some others found ourselves together after this match on the Woodbridge Road boundary. None dared predict anything but all agreed something very special had happened during the morning and that this Somerset team has something very special. Read More »

Morkel and Dunn grab the momentum

County Championship Division 1. Surrey v Somerset. 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th June. Guildford.

Third day. 5th June – Morkel and Dunn grab the momentum

Overnight. Somerset 344. Surrey 188 for 5. Surrey trail by 156 with five second innings wickets standing.

I wondered if the most important thing I saw all day was an aeroplane. I was meandering around the ground during the tea interval and heard the sound of jet engines rather as you do over the Oval. I had heard the occasional sound of jet engines low over the ground throughout this match but it was the first time I had seen the aircraft. What struck me was how just how high the cloud had risen above it, and how low the cloud must have been, a few hot sunny intervals on the first day apart, during this match thus far when the engines roared but the aircraft which they powered were beyond sight.

It is surprising how often ‘poor’ batting is accompanied by low cloud and good pace bowling. There may, or may not, be a causal connection. That is something that scientists and cricketers may differ on but there is certainly a connection of some sort in my experience. Whether because of the laws of physics or the psychological response of players to varying overhead conditions or something else is beyond my knowing but it is there. It has certainly been the case in this match and more times than enough in my cricket-watching career. As the spectator I spoke to during the last session said to me as Burns and Borthwick were bringing Surrey up on Somerset’s heels, “The cloud has gone up.” And by the end of the day a watery sun was brightening the ground even further.Read More »

Overton returns

County Championship Division 1. Surrey v Somerset. 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th June. Guildford.

Second day. 4th June – Overton returns

Overnight. Somerset 344. Surrey 0-0. Surrey trail by 344 runs with ten first innings wickets standing.

There are homecomings and there are homecomings. This was one to be treasured in the video archives of the memory bank. A fast bowler running in from the Pavilion End at Guildford under skies that would have done service to the opening scenes of a biblical epic. He looked for all the world a fast bowler. The long, easy, flowing run to the wicket. The flash of the arm as it came over the head. The torso twisting to the horizontal as it imparted energy to the ball. The ball spearing in towards the batsman’s pads. The flash of the bat as it tried to intercept the missile. The thud of ball on pads. The swivel of the body, arms aloft in expectation rather than hope. The roar and certainty of the appeal. The inevitability of the raising of the finger. The bowler running off from his follow-through pursued by a gaggle of fielders in celebration. The return of Jamie Overton.Read More »

Bartlett’s day

County Championship Division 1. Surrey v Somerset. 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th June. Guildford.

Toss. Somerset. Elected to bat.

First day. 3rd June – Bartlett’s day

In 2018 Somerset came to Guildford on top of the Championship. In three traumatic days they were unceremoniously despatched by an innings. Abell had won the toss and, inexplicably to most Somerset supporters, asked Surrey to bat. Surrey had made 459 and bowled Somerset out for 180 and 210. Surrey moved to the top of the table, never looked back and Somerset never looked like catching them. In 2019 Abell won the toss again and this time opted to bat in circumstances for batting that were less propitious than they had been in 2018.Read More »

The weather rules the day

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Surrey. 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th May 2019. Taunton. 

Final day. 18th May – The weather rules the day

Overnight. Surrey 380 and 152 for 5. Somerset 398. Surrey lead by 134 runs with five second innings wickets standing.

A final day which had much in prospect, not least that all four possible results were still very much in play, subsided into one of those frustrating weather-interrupted days where the cricket becomes meaningless in the context of the match and where the weather and conditions, as seen from beyond the boundary at least, seem marginal enough for virtually every decision of the umpires to be the subject of dispute and exasperation among spectators. Even the intervention of Somerset’s brand-new floodlights could not save the day, brightly though they shone. It was too one of those days in which the weather does not help the mood. Mizzle and drizzle rather than straightforward honest rain for the most part and at times Dickensian light to dampen the spirit.Read More »

Gregory shapes the day

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Surrey. 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th May 2019. Taunton. 

Third day. 16th April – Gregory shapes the day

Overnight. Surrey 380. Somerset 243 for 5. Surrey lead by 137 runs with five second innings wickets standing.

After two days spent fighting to stay in this match Somerset made this their day and are now, at worst, at parity. On the last day much will depend, as it did on the third day, on the first session. Surrey’s have five wickets remaining, four if Elgar, absent through illness on the third day, cannot bat. If they can stretch their innings much beyond lunch Somerset may be faced with a difficult equation and will need to get through Morkel’s new ball spell, and Morkel has a record for Surrey of performing at the crunch, whatever the equation. It would be a good time for Trescothick to find some form after his four successive low scores in this season’s Championship.

At the heart of Somerset’s performance was an outstanding century from Gregory, his second in first-class cricket following his 137 at Lord’s in 2017. He came to the wicket on the second evening with Somerset five wickets down and still 169 runs adrift. He was still undefeated on 129 mid way through the third afternoon when Somerset ended their innings 18 runs ahead. It was a tremendous performance which had the crowd cheering and, as he ran through for the single to bring up his hundred, on their feet applauding.Read More »

The artists keep Somerset in the game – just

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Surrey. 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th May 2019. Taunton. 

Second day. 15th April – The artists keep Somerset in the game – just

Overnight. Surrey 330 for 6.

Somerset ended the second day more or less where they ended the first. Just behind Surrey. Anxiety still remains for Somerset supporters for Surrey have their runs on the board. However, Somerset are still in the game. Buy the end of the second day in last year’s two Championship encounters with Surrey, by the end of the second day, they were well and truly out of it.

Unable to be at the start I followed the first half an hour or so from home by when Surrey had taken their overnight score forward by ten runs without losing any more wickets. I spent a rather anxious journey to the ground wondering just how high Clarke and the Surrey lower order might take the Surrey total. Anxiety used to be ended, or increased, when the old scoreboard hove into view as you approached the Brian Rose Gates. The new scoreboard by the Colin Atkinson Pavilion is hidden from view by the Somerset Stand as you approach the gates and the anxiety is prolonged until you get into the ground. Today the kindly steward who scanned my membership card compensated for the loss of the view by saying, “Not too bad. Nine down.”Read More »

White clothing and red ball

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Surrey. 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th May 2019. Taunton. 

Toss. Surrey. Elected to bat.

First day. 14th April – White clothing and red ball

It was a curious sight that greeted me as I stood chatting on Legends Square. 13 men in white and two in white coats. Rather like a hospital ward walking onto the field. At least that was the thought that jumped into my head after a whirlwind three weeks criss-crossing the southern half of the country and the Midlands as I tried to keep up with Somerset’s 50 over campaign. I had become inured to technicolour cricket. Coloured clothing and a white ball. Now we had white clothing and a coloured ball. As if that was not enough my brain had struggled to keep up with the high-speed, almost daily, cricket watching, ping-pong travel, overnight stays and late-night writing of match reports. I can, without a hint of exaggeration, say that at one match I had to ask someone which day of the week it was. And now my brain was struggling to accommodate cricket being played in whites. Oh, what a mad cricketing world we live in. At least for those of us who remember when Championship matches started every Wednesday and Saturday and one-day matches were played every Sunday and, for cup matches, on a Wednesday in place of the Championship. There could be as long as 28 days between a quarter-final and a semi-final. This year there were not many more than 28 hours. All the old reference points have gone and the sudden reappearance of two of the few that are left, white clothing and a red ball, suddenly jarred on the mind.Read More »

A Somerset performance to match the splendour of the Quantocks

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

Toss. Somerset. Elected to bat.

A Somerset performance to match the splendour of the Quantocks

And so it was all or nothing on this match. From a Somerset perspective it was an old-style knock-out match. Realistically, a win would mean a place in the play-offs, a defeat would mean elimination. That focuses the mind. No second chances. No next game in which to rectify matters. Just win or have a week watching others trying to reach the final. For Surrey there was nothing to play for but, as they say, pride. I have often wondered about that. How focused teams really are when there is nothing on the game for them. As far as I could see there was no lack of effort or focus from Surrey. They came at this game hard. Read More »

Somerset rampant

RLODC (50 overs) South Group. Somerset v Surrey. 18th May 2018. The Oval.

In 2018 Somerset made their best start to a County Championship season for a quarter of a century. This was the first match of the Royal London One-Day Cup campaign.

Toss. Somerset. Elected to field.

My coach from Somerset carefully times its journey to ensure I miss the first 15 minutes of any match starting at eleven o’ clock at The Oval. I arrived at the ground in a slightly disoriented state after changing tube trains at Kennington. I had hopped on the next clearly indicated ‘southbound’ train only for an equally clear announcement to inform me the train was going northbound to Ealing Broadway and the next stop was Elephant and Castle. As the overs slipped by I jumped off at ‘Elephant and Castle’ with the intention of running to the southbound platform only to discover I was already on it and at Oval station. The next announcement said a normal service was running on all lines.

I took off for the sanctuary of The Oval only to find the authorities there had pitched in with a bit more disorientation. No bag search. A white ball match without a bag search. What is the world coming to? I really began to wonder when I reached the top of the steps into the Peter May Stand. The scoreboard said 13 for 3.Read More »