Somerset v Gloucestershire, 2020 Pre-Season Friendly, Taunton – July 26th & 27th, Bristol July 28th & 29th – Day 4 Gloucestershire 273 All Out, Roderick 106, N Gilchrist 4-32, C Overton 3-34 ) and 130 all out lost to Somerset 427-9, Bartlett 80, Byrom 70, Abell 65, Davies 50*, Hildreth 48) by an innings and 24 runs
Somerset went through the motions on the fourth day at Bristol. That is an observation not a criticism. In the circumstances when victory was assured and there are competitive games around the corner that was entirely the right thing to do.
The bowlers all had more valuable middle time, and while they could not keep as tight a stranglehold as they had on Tuesday evening with a softer ball the intensity remained. The fielding and catching were excellent with wickets being picked up at regular intervals; 43, 57. 83, 107, 126, 130.
The Somerset bowling figures pay testament to the control they exerted. If you exclude Nathan Gilchrist, who found things a little harder second time around, no bowler went for more than 19 off 11 or 12 overs. Josh Davey finished with 3-14, Craig Overton 2-18 and RvdM 2-5 at the end. The six regular bowlers conceded just 88 runs in 61 overs in this innings emphasising the credit they deserve for the way they performed across the three days even more so as they got life out of a Bristol wicket that had seemed typically banal for the first 2 sessions of day 3.
Craig and Josh started with a maiden each before Taylor was neatly pouched by Tom Lammonby off the elder twin. The other overnight batsman, Ian Cockbain, was next to go caught by Craig at off Josh Davey. The reassuringly relaxed way the ball nestled in the first slip’s hands as reassuring a sight as any.
The first innings centurion Roderick was blown away by Jamie Overton who not only broke a stump in the process but launched a part of the assaulted pole over the boundary. Umpire Jeremy Lloyds, who had to fetch a replacement may well have been recalling the tetchy exchange with the twins on the third evening as he did!
Ryan Higgins remained to bat through the entire first session to be 33 not out at lunch having gained momentum late on in the session. At lunch Gloucestershire were 103-7 still needing 52 to make Somerset bat again.
Almost immediately after lunch Gilchrist got Drissel caught behind for 17 and thereafter Roelof bowled 34 balls of his left-arm spin to pick up the last two wickets, both lbw. Van der Merwe’s contribution at the end was most welcome as it had just been announced that both Dom Bess and Jack Leach are in the England squad for the three test Pakistan series starting a week today.
This was a thoroughly encouraging and professional (in the best sense of the word) display. Tom Abell’s captaincy was faultless and all three departments functioned as if they were in prime mid-season form, not having come off the back of this strange four months. While it is wise not to get carried away, especially as the Bob Willis Trophy is such a short competition and will be very hard to win, Somerset must have as good a chance as any. What is certain is that we can’t ask for any more at this stage.
And remember what happened when we got to Lords’ last summer!