Somerset V Gloucestershire, County Championship Group 2, April 15th to 19th 2021 Day 3, Part 2 Somerset 312 and 149, lead Gloucestershire 309 & 28-1 by 124 runs.
There is a part of me that thinks that it is entirely possible that Craig Overton bowls Somerset to victory tomorrow. Then the rational side of me kicks in and says that Somerset can’t keep turning probable defeat into victory. Defeat here will damage Somerset’s title challenge quite seriously, not irreparably but seriously. Defeat to Gloucestershire will for most of us be a grievous blow. I’m not sure how I’m going to cope.
I’ve got used to defeats in white ball cricket especially in Bristol but this is something potentially far worse.
You see I don’t like Gloucestershire Cricket. Really don’t. Sorry. Nothing more than blind prejudice on my part but it’s a fact. The reason for this dislike (I want to use another word but won’t) is that my formative years of supporting Somerset were when Proctershire was at its height. It would have been bad enough it was just him but there was Zaheer and Sadiq at the top of the order, David Shephard, yes the one from Overton territory occupied the middle order and Tony Brown, later so influential in the development of Somerset Cricket and The County Ground was their skipper.
Procter tortured my childhood, runs wickets, catches and sheer aggression. A force of nature that even Brian Close found hard to resist. And Somerset nearly always lost. I’d have to go back to the archives to find some of the games that damaged my childhood so fundamentally and just haven’t got the heart at the moment.
While Somerset can look at their performance in this game and see numerous areas where they have been out-played they really shouldn’t have been. Tom Abell’s side are far better man for man, are a better unit and have been virtually ever-present at the top end of division 1 for most of the last decade. Gloucestershire have languished in division 2.
When the players left the field shortly before 3pm the game was almost up. An hour and 20 minutes spent trying to understand why this Somerset batting order continues not to fulfil its potential. On the resumption James Hildreth and Josh Davey stoically built a partnership but, just when it was taking on the proportions of being of real significance Hildreth was out “lbw” dismissed by a perambulating umpire Bainton to what appeared to be a ball that struck his pad outside off stump while he was playing a shot.
At that point Gloucestershire’s bowlers were looking as impotent as they had at any time in the game (the Davies / Overton partnership on Thursday included) and the possibility of setting a target of something nearer to 200 was entering into my consciousness. Marchant couldn’t reproduce his heroics of Lords and the first innings and it all ended rather suddenly.
The target was 153.
The last ten overs were as compelling as any passage of play this year. Craig and Lewis tried their hearts out but the only reward was the removal of Dent. By the close the target was down to 125.Nothing short of Hercul