RLODC Semi-Final, Trent Bridge, Nottingham, May 12th 2019 Somerset 337 beat Nottinghamshire 222 by 115 runs

I confess I was apprehensive heading into this game. While Somerset utterly dominate Nottinghamshire in red-ball cricket at the moment they have a more even record in the white-ball stuff. Add in Notts home advantage as a result of them topping the north group and their being more rested and it looked a tough ask.

I had no reason to worry. This was as comfortable a win from the first ball to the last as a semi-final could be. It is not a game to dwell on the detail, pretty much every Somerset player made a significant contribution, but to celebrate the achievement and anticipate a final.

I do however want to apologise to George Bartlett. No sooner had I eulogised over his development than he gets a second-ball duck. Sorry George, that one’s on me!

But in the scheme of things it didn’t matter. Messrs Banton, Azhar Ali and Trego had already propelled Somerset to 183-2 in the 29th over. Bartlett’s dismissal alongside Hildy (1) and the skipper (18) could have precipitated a game-defining collapse. But from 228-5 Lewis Gregory and the twins added a further 99 in the last 15 overs. 

Notts much-vaunted batting line-up, assembled from across the Midlands unlike Somerset’s largely home-grown side, was more than capable of chasing at a shade under seven an over. But after a strong start the true nature of the pitch revealed itself as the white ball softened. 110-1 in the 18th became 135-5 at the end of the 25th. Half the overs gone, half the side gone, all home hopes gone.

There was the usual late order token resistance but that merely reduced the margin of victory it never threatened to change the outcome.

Roelfof van der Merwe (3-29) had ripped the heart of the Notts batting out in that seven-over spell before half-way. The rest of the bowling attack shared the wickets and the end came with a striking 70 balls left.

From real doubts that they would qualify to finalists in the space of six days is some turnaround.

Lords, on May 25th beckons. Hampshire stand between Tom Abell’s side and a trophy. If Somerset can sustain their performance levels over the last six exceptional days as opposed to the huge disappointment of exactly one week ago they have a very good chance. A repeat of the manner with which they subsided to their final opponents in the penultimate group game doesn’t bear thinking about.