Soggy Pilgrimage

11th June 2020

Kent v Somerset, County Championship Division One, Canterbury, June 10 – 13 2019 Kent 139 and 24-2 trail Somerset 169 by 2 runs

Sir Thomas Becket is the patron saint of Canterbury Catherdral but the players and supporters of Somerset County Cricket Club may be wondering why it isn’t St Swithin who the locals chose to bestow patronage on at the seat of the Archbishop.

I can’t recall a Somerset visit to the heart of “the garden of England” that hasn’t been accompanied by rain, lots of rain.

I have read much about the beauty of the St Lawrence Ground of yore, but there is little about this modern version that is attractive. A ground that was once graced by Ames, Evans, Cowdrey (Snr) and Woolley is now sadly at the Northampton end of the unloveliness scale. While many of the changes have been of financial necessity, you can’t help wonder who thought the ghastly buildings that now overlook the playing area were a good idea. Or for that matter how the planners allowed them.

Perhaps the inclement weather is the Somerset cricketing Gods showing their displeasure at a ground so unpleasing to the eye? 

The first day was washed out completely, but the two teams made up for the lost time by getting more than half-way through the game on the second day.

Somerset’s bowlers found conditions almost ideal and had their feet up before 3 pm with the hosts dismissed for 139. Lewis Gregory was virtually unplayable and Jack Brooks managed the absurdly good figures of 5-2-3-2 in support. 

Kent were hugely indebted to their sixth-wicket pair of Alex Blake and Ollie Robinson who added 56 but when they were parted Kent were still in some predicament at 101-6

With Marcus not travelling Tom Abell stepped back to the top of the order alongside Azhar Ali. But the Somerset start rapidly descended to 35-4 and the possibility of a first-innings deficit loomed. 

Tom Banton, who had shown encouraging signs at Guildford last week, came to the fore with a controlled 69 and looked to be capable of going beyond three figures on his own until he miscued an attempted pull.

Steve Davies (yet again) provided crucial middle-order support.

Lewis Gregory’s good day continued with the bat, but like Banton and Davies, it could have been a more substantial and match-defining contribution.

Gregory had the last word of the day though picking up two crucial wickets. The in-form Zak Crawley and the returning Joe Denly (no World Cup place for the Kent skipper) were both dismissed a second time with Kent still in arrears.

A mid-afternoon finish tomorrow anyone?

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