No Change Required

A bounce back performance and result is needed after the disappointment of the weekend, and some runs for Tom Lammonby as part of that would do very nicely

Leicestershire v Somerset, County Championship Group 2, April 22nd to 26th 2021, Grace Road, Leicester

Somerset have an immediate chance to bounce back from their chastening defeat last weekend with a trip to Leicester to take on the side most predicted to be the also-rans in Group 2. Tom Abell’s side need a win to avoid the gap with the top two widening. They also need a performance after being out batted and out bowled at taunton.

The pressure on the top order has occupied a lot of our time over the last few days so an opportunity to recuperate against a bowling attack that has leaked 600+ in both their games so far seems the perfect opportunity. Conversely the increased expectations and obvious adverse comparisons with Hampshire and Surrey if they don’t will only increase the focus on the three Tom’s, Hildy and George.

There is no escaping the fact however that the bowling was also below its usual stellar levels at Taunton, a fact that has been overlooked because of the inquests into the batting but, especially in the last session on Friday which, as things turned out was the defining session of the match. 

Barring injury I’d keep the same side in the same order. I know this flies against the majority view but I said before the Middlesex game that we had to show faith and stick with the team chosen for the first part of this competition and nothing should change that. Tom Lammonby’s dismissal for 0 in the seconds game won’t help what is a difficult decision but it is the right one for me. Lammonby will come good and he needs our support and faith.

Encouragingly James Hildreth spent time in the middle on Saturday before being “sawn off” again and while he wasn’t at this fluent best I’m backing him to score big runs at Grace Road. Above and beyond scoreboard value though Hildreth will be a huge asset to the young openers in and around the dressing room. 

This is a side that is good enough to finish in the top two in the group. There is a long way to go in the competition and a convincing win will put us right back in the mix. I’m feeling really optimistic that the players will channel the hurt they will be feeling in the right way come Thursday.

Leicestershire have become one of those “second class counties” rooted in division two and seeing their best players leave for other counties further hindering any chance of improvement. The current side is a far cry from the tough, star studded opponents of the 70s who Somerset always seemed to come up against in the knock-out phases of the B&H and Gillette Cups. Led by Ray Illingworth the team of Balderstone and Tolchard, Davidson and McKenzie were a real force. 

Leicestershire also produced the jewel of English batting in the late seventies and eighties, David Gower. I recall seeing them many many times at Taunton so it is even more bizarre that it is 14 years since we last faced them in the Championship. 

Back in 2007 the result was a win for Somerset by the little margin of an innings and 259 runs with first innings hundreds for the top 4 – Tres, Edwards, Hildreth, White in a total of 675-5. That gave Justin Langer’s side a lead of 507 and with Caddick and Willoughby sharing eight second innings wickets the maximum point win was secured on the way to the second division title and promotion back to where we have stayed.

A repeat of that scoreline would do very nicely thank you.