The first thing to say at a time like this is that I hope everyone is keeping safe and well. It is of great concern to a lot of people that the country’s mental health is going to suffer at a time like this. Anything we can do for each other is worth a try and so, in its small way SomersetNorth is going to try to contribute.
We are the fortunate, us Somerset supporters. We have over the past few years built up a social network around the County Cricket Club. It comforts us through defeats, it gives us a shared joy of victory and it sustains us through the long winter months.
And now, more than ever we need to pull together, to keep each others’ spirits high and to nurture us through until the day when Tom Abell leads his team back onto the County Ground.
So here’s what we are going to do on SomersetNorth. I am going to revisit the last two seasons using the posts from 2018 and 2019, intertwining the two seasons, but with a twist. Each piece will use the hindsight we now have. I hope it will work, I hope it will be fun and I hope you’ll enjoy reading them as much as I’m enjoying pulling them together.
I’m also hoping for some guest contributors to help along the way
But to get things going we go back to 2019 and a rather soggy start to Somerset’s Championship game. Tom Abell’s side were due to open against Kent at Taunton. The rain came, no play was possible, which left me feeling a little lyrical, quoting John Keats Ide to Melancholy.
“But when the melancholy fit shall fall,
Sudden from Heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in a shroud”
Melancholy was definitely the mood among Somerset supporters just after lunch today. The Somerset weather did what many of us feared for the earliest start to the County Championship season with play abandoned for the day shortly before 2pm.
So rather like children at Christmas who are told the family have decided to wait until Boxing Day to open our presents we will all have to wait until (hopefully) tomorrow for Somerset to get their season underway.
As it was, the loss of the day’s play added to the drama, when play finally got underway on Saturday, the scheduled second day.
In the absence of any play at Taunton I decided to take the opportunity to look at what happened elsewhere in the Championship.
Generally speaking this was a good day for the batsman, Hampshire in between spells off for bad light (I really must re-read the playing conditions regarding the use of floodlights!) reached 303-4 in 75 overs against Essex with Sam Northeast unbeaten on 94 at the close. The Hampshire innings was built around a fourth-wicket partnership of 117 between Northeast and Rilee Roussouw. James Vince, hoping his move up the order to open would advance his England claims got a start before being lbw to Ravi Bopara for 40.
Somerset’s next opponents, the robber barons of Nottinghamshire, batting first against Yorkshire reached 324-5 with new signings the Bens (Slater and Duckett) scoring 76 and 43 respectively, but both were eclipsed by the third new arrival in the top four, Joe Clarke, who made a classy unbeaten 109.
Notts batting is going to make some big runs this season but I suspect that they are also going to fall in a heap several times too. Slater appears to be the more disciplined of the three, his 76 was made off 163 balls out of 172 while Duckett’s 43 occupied only 51 balls and Clarke’s 181.
In division 2 there was one Tauntonian who probably wished his day’s play had been washed out. Derbyshire opener Luis Reece was dismissed to the first ball of the game by Chris Rushworth. Derbyshire were dismissed for 197 which represented a bit of a recovery from 36-4 and by the close Durham had reduced the arrears by 40 for the loss of 2 wickets.
Sussex, on the fringe of most people’s promotion discussions 36-5 before David Wiese’s counter-attacking 51 off 66 balls hauled Sussex to 173. At the close Leicestershire had lost 5 wickets in amassing 131.
Middlesex’s vaunted bowling attack were made to work hard as Northants reached 304-6, West Indies skipper Jason Holder finished on 34 not out.