Unity of purpose

Royal London One-Day Cup. Worcestershire v Somerset. Quarter-final play-off. 10th May 2019. Worcester.

Toss. Worcestershire. Elected to field.

Unity of purpose

In the old days this match would have been a major event on the cricketing landscape. Quarter and semi-finals were anticipated for weeks in advance. The great set-piece battles of the domestic cricketing landscape. Victory or defeat remained enshrined in the memory of the county supporter for weeks and months afterwards. Sometimes years, even decades afterwards. Read More »

Memories. Two cricketing colossi

County Championship. Somerset v Worcestershire. 23rd, 25th and 26th July 1977. Taunton. 

The prospect of Marcus Trescothick opening the Championship batting for Somerset at the age of 43 in 2019 brought back memories of two other emeritus England batsmen playing in a Championship match at Taunton. It was in a different age and the nature of Championship cricket was as different as the age.Read More »

Sigh of relief

County Championship Division 1. Worcestershire v Somerset. 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th July 2018. Worcester. Final Day.

Somerset entered the final day with the match their’s to win. Worcestershire’s ambitions must have been limited to achieving an unlikely draw.  

Overnight: Somerset 337 and 362 for 9 dec. Worcestershire 257 and 50 for 2. Worcestershire need another 393 runs to win with 8 second innings wickets standing.

Craig Overton finally sank to his knees and drew breath. Breath of relief and of nervous exhaustion as much as physical exhaustion it looked. Magoffin had just edged a drive to Davey at point off Overton’s bowling and Somerset had won an outstanding game of cricket.Read More »

An air of certainty

County Championship Division 1. Worcestershire v Somerset. 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th July 2018. Worcester. Third Day.

On the second day Somerset had extended the advantage they had established on the first day. The third day presented a real opportunity to take complete control of the match. 

Overnight: Somerset 337 and 47 for 0. Worcestershire 257. Somerset lead by 127 runs with 10 second innings wickets standing.

Azhar Ali’s century looked inevitable long before he took the single which brought it up. It is not often you watch a batsman moving through the 70s, 80s and 90s without feeling some anxiety that an error or a brute of a ball will bring the innings to a premature end. I had no such doubts about Azhar’s innings. It is just the sort of certainty you want your overseas batsman to generate.Read More »

2018 tinged with 1976

County Championship Division 1. Worcestershire v Somerset. 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th July 2018. Worcester. Second Day.

Somerset’s overnight score had seemed a good return given the impression of most on the first day was that the pitch had provided some help to the bowlers. It remained to be seen if Somerset could take advantage on the second day. 

Overnight: Somerset 324 for 9. 

Well, the cluster of street lights against which I finished yesterday’s report, six in an inner ring, three spread around the outer edge and no slips was not, mercifully, a harbinger of today’s play. In fact, for most of the Worcestershire innings Somerset had three slips, or two and a fine gully, and, as often as not, four.Read More »

The embers tell the tale

County Championship Division 1. Worcestershire v Somerset. 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th July 2018. Worcester. First Day.

Somerset came to Worcester following defeat at The Oval and a hard fought draw at Chelmsford. Matthew Renshaw had expected to end his term with Somerset in this match. A broken finger at The Oval had prevented that. He had been replaced by Azhur Ali, Pakistani Test batsman, who made his debut in this match.

For the first time in 2018 both Jamie and Craig Overton played in the same Championship match. It was also Jamie’s first red ball match of the season

Toss. Somerset. Elected to bat.

As I start writing at my hotel room window the low angle of the sun is lighting up a cluster of red brick houses set among woods on the hills opposite. An abstract artist might paint them in the shape and in the orange and charcoal colours of the dying embers in the grate of a log fire. Read More »

At last

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Worcestershire. 20th, 21st and 22nd April 2018. Taunton. Final Day.

James Hildreth’s second day century had given Somerset a real opportunity to push for their first victory in the opening match of the season for five years.

Overnight: Somerset 202 and 255 for 9. Worcestershire 179. Somerset lead by 278 with 1 second innings wicket standing.

Apart from a late flurry from the last two Worcestershire wickets this was a clinical performance by the Somerset bowlers. They may, as some have said, have looked a little rusty in the first innings; they most certainly did not in the second. It was joyous, as a Somerset supporter, to sit in the Somerset Pavilion next to Gimblett’s Hill and watch such a performance.Read More »

Hildreth takes it away

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Worcestershire. 20th, 21st and 22nd April 2018. Taunton. Second Day.

Somerset came into the second day with a slim advantage over Worcestershire. The question of whether the customary poor start to the season could be avoided still hanging in the air.

Overnight: Somerset 202. Worcestershire 153 for 8. Worcestershire trail by 49 runs with 2 first innings wickets standing.

James Hildreth produced an innings of determination and class on the second day of this match. Every century stands out in some ways but in the last three seasons Hildreth has produced three innings that have made a particular mark.Read More »

Renshaw drives hard

County Championship Division 1. Somerset v Worcestershire. 20th, 21st and 22nd April 2018. Taunton. First Day.

The new season started with memories of the closest possible brush with relegation in 2017 still raw in Somerset supporters’ minds. At the end of the previous season the Director of Cricket had left the Club. During the winter the Chief Executive had followed after less than a year in post and the Club Chairman had left after a decade in post. The Director of Cricket had been replaced by a Director of Cricket and a Head Coach. In the winter Somerset’s new first choice of overseas player had been involved in a ball tampering incident in a Test match and had been replaced by Matthew Renshaw.

With the exception of Tom Abell, continuing as Club captain, continuity had not been the order of the day. The issue now was would Somerset start the new season with an unwanted form of continuity, their usual clutch of poor results?

Jamie Overton was unavailable for the early matches of the season due to injury.

Toss Uncontested. Somerset required to bat.

The first day of Somerset’s 2018 season. It started disastrously. The patisserie on Paddington Station where I used to start my journeys to Taunton during the years of my eastern exile had gone. Replaced by empty floor space. No Black Forest gateau to fortify me for the rigours of the train journey let alone the first day of a season watching Somerset. The chocolate brownie with which they furnished me on the train was hardly a worthy substitute.Read More »