Short Shrift

This was, despite the result, a wholly unsatisfactory game of first-class cricket. No blame should attach to Somerset but Kent need to take a long, hard look at themselves

Kent v Somerset, County Championship Division One, Canterbury, June 10 – 13 2019 Somerset 169 and 30-0 beat Kent 139 and 59 by 10 wickets

It took Somerset just 20.5 overs to wrap up a comprehensive ten-wicket win on the last day. A remarkable game where two complete days were lost but the visitors needed only four sessions to complete the victory.

After a third day washout and a delayed start, Somerset barely had time to draw breath before victory was theirs.

Lewis Gregory, who had taken one of the two Kent wickets to fall late on the second (first) day, bagged four more, all to close catches. Two assists for Gregory were thanks to the safe hands of Craig Overton who picked up 3-7 himself to complete the job at the other end.

The only meagre consolation for the hosts was that they managed, by just four runs, to pass their worst ever first-class total against Somerset (55 in 1924). Had it not been for Sean Dickinson’s 22 the historic mark would have been substantially lowered.

For the rest, they seemed lacking in either technique or mental strength to make a fight of it. Kent are clearly out of their depth in this company. Especially against this multi-faceted Somerset attack which in this game possessed four of the country’s best seam bowlers. Hunting as a pack if one has a slightly off day there are always three others to do the job. Tom Abell must love captaining this side. 

The captain and Azhar Ali appeared to be in as much of a hurry as their bowlers taking just 41 balls to chalk off the 30 required. 

Despite the victory this was an unsatisfactory game of cricket. The weather and surroundings didn’t help. There is a gap developing between the top two or three and the rest of the division, as evidenced by this game, that you have to worry.

If you don’t agree, I suggest you try picking a combined team from the two sides here and see what you come up with. I am clearly biased but there is not one Kent player I’d want in Somerset’s red-ball team.

Somerset have a week off and, if the weather predictions are right, that may be very fortunate. After that a real test awaits with the visit to Chelmsford. But for now, enjoy the view from the top.