This is day 12 of this diary of Somerset’s run in. It is probably one of the toughest to write so far. Not because of any shortcomings on Somerset’s part although they were made to fight every inch of the way by a gutsy Yorkshire 6thwicket partnership but because Surrey continue to set a scorching pace ahead of them.
All Somerset hoped that we could keep pace with the leaders and perhaps close the gap a little ahead of their visit to Taunton in the penultimate round of this season’s championship. This hope acknowledged that to do this Somerset would need to either win or get the better of draws against Essex, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Hampshire.
We’ve all said on many many occasions this season that Division One has seem a lot of very good hard fought cricket and that wins in the top division are not achieved without a lot of hard work. But, although I might be accused of being unfair to the leaders, Surrey don’t appear to be being pushed as hard as they should, certainly Notts first innings at The Oval fell far short of that level. Bundled out for 101 in 31.4 overs at least they had restored some pride at the close at 83-2 but they still trail by 191 and it would be a huge surprise if they took this beyond the third day.
Somerset by contrast found the Yorkshire batting an altogether tougher proposition. Despite reducing them to 119-5 in mid-afternoon Tom Kohler-Cadmore and the soon to be retiring Andy Hodd added 173 In 46 overs to hold up what had seen like a Somerset victory charge.
But, one of the many qualities of this Somerset side is that they keep coming at the opposition and two late wickets left them with a clear target early on the third day. With a new ball not 10 overs old Somerset need to wrap the hosts first innings up quickly so that the equation of time left in the game and lead is in their favour from the start of their second innings.
Yorkshire remember have a severely depleted bowling attack thanks to the injury early on the first day to Matt Fisher. Not only did that remove a very talented young quick bowler but it placed a much heavier than expected workload on young Josh Shaw and, to put it as delicately as possible, the not so young Jack Brooks and David Willey.
If Somerset can get a solid start they have every chance of forging a dominant position into the last session of the day. It is by no means a foregone conclusion as Willey and Brooks may yet have something to say with the bat, but, as the number of games left and opponents seem to roll over at the first sight of a brown cap, Somerset know nothing other than a win is good enough.