Same Old (Good) Story

Somerset's lower order's great escape puts them in a very strong position after the opening day of the season

Bob Willis Trophy Central Group, Somerset v Glamorgan, Taunton, August 1 – 4 2020, Day 1 Somerset 296 (Davies 81*, Brooks 72, Lammonby 41) lead Glamorgan 8-0 by 288 runs

As many of you will know I’ve been filling the cricket-less void of the last four months by re-visiting my last two seasons’ match reports written originally for another place. For two sessions of this game, I thought that I could just pick one of many of those reports and re-post it with the headings changed. That familiar batting frailty was apparent as Somerset subside to 149-8 in the 51st over with only debutant Tom Lammonby, with 41, offering anything substantial.

On a day when a huge Jamie Overton shaped shadow was cast over the Cooper Associates County Ground (more on that on another day) the younger twin’s departure for three left his soon to be former county in deep, deep trouble. 

The tale of the last two years has been reprised many times with the bowlers pulling things around. But this is 2020. Cricket is a very different thing this year. And this bowler salvage operation, appropriately, was different. It was two bowlers with the bat rather than the ball that were Somerset’s salvation.

Josh Davey and Jack Brooks in their own very different, characteristic ways, helped the wonderfully phlegmatic Steven Davies almost double their score. Davey was watchful and sensible, Brooks bold and charismatic but both deserve great credit. The spectacular way in which Brooks and Davies took Somerset from eleven short of the first batting bowling bonus point to within four of the third in just fifteen overs will live long in the memory.

A last wicket 107, a record for Somerset against the Welsh county turned the game on its head and reasserted the form book and expectations. Brooks contributed almost three-quarters of the partnership, but the role of Davies must not be undervalued. 

Steven Davies – Superb

He had come to the crease almost immediately after lunch with the total on 95 and continued the outstanding form he has shown in pre-season (a century and an unbeaten) fifty). This innings, however, was a demonstration of skill, experience, and in-game smarts. He batted with fluency, grit, discipline, aggression but most of all intelligence while until Davey and Brooks, his partners provided little support.

Tom Lammonby showed great promise in his new role at the top of the order but, having been given a life dropped at slip on 14 perished when his personal digits were reversed soon after the first interval. Davies and George Bartlett, who had batted so well on Monday against Gloucestershire looked to be repeating the does until Bartlett was hit a sickening blow on the side on the helmet. He bravely batted on but was clearly affected and not at his best and departed for 23. Bartlett’s dismissal made it 139-5. The three all-rounders batting 7,8 and 9 in the order, were rapidly removed either side of tea in a spell of 10-4. 

Having seemed at that time to be unlikely to accrue any batting bonus points, it might be churlish to complain at a failure by four runs to pick up a third. Such was the control the last wicket pair were demonstrating however, a total of well in excess of 300 did not seem beyond them.

Brooks dismissal left the Glamorgan openers with seven overs to survive, which they were able to do but Craig Overton and Josh Davey showed that batting on this surface is not easy against high-class bowling. It should be a fascinating second day.