Drama at Radlett on Somerset Day

The very strong Middlesex seam attack led by Steve Finn (4-31) and Tom Helm (3-16) gave the home side a lead of 116, bowling Somerset out just before lunch. Improving on their first day performance Somerset then bowled Middlesex out for 188 in 62.4 overs to leave them two days to get the 305 needed for the win.

Middlesex 223 all out (Steve Eskinazi 79, Ari Karvales 5-41) and 188 (Jack Davies 71); lead Somerset 107 (Steve Finn 4-31, Tom Helm 3-16), by 304 runs

Sea legs were not required on day 2 as HMS Radlett had steadied itself after the camera wobbles of the first day. The viewing pleasure was enhanced by being joined on the live stream chat deck by a number of other Somerset folk. The technical issues weren’t over with a considerable amount of buffering on the feed. Extending the transport analogy day 2 felt more like a ride on a goods train.

Somerset’s first innings failed to find calm water though. The overnight pair of Ben Wells and Jamie Rew’s who had worked so hard to see out day the last 12 overs last evening did not last long. Tom Helm combined with wicket keeper Jack Davies to have both batsmen caught behind off lifting balls. Ben had added just 11 to his overnight score while Jamie couldn’t increase his day 1 not out tall leaving Somerset 69-6.

The tail faired little better, the last four wickets adding just 38 runs, George Drissell (14) was caught behind again off a lifting ball this time off Steve Finn and Sam Elstone (14), who showed a lot of promise, was caught off Ishaan Kaushal. Steve Finn then took the last two wickets, trapping Ned Leonard (LBW) and removing Jack Brook’s leg stump in spectacular fashion – neither batsmen scoring. Somerset 107 all out, a deficit on first innings of 116.

At the Tea interval, Middlesex had reached 83/4 extending their lead to 199. The impressive Ari Karvales took the key wicket of Steve Eskinazi caught by Ben Wells for only 4 before tea having already removed Mike Atherton’s son Josh de Caires (15) caught by Will Smeed. Cracknell (0) and McCaskie (9) were both trapped LBW off the bowling of Ben Green and Alfie Osborne respectively (Alfie’s first wicket for the Seconds). 

Without an effects microphone one can only speculate on what happened at the fall of Zac McCaskie, who was the fourth to go. Something was said or intimated between the departing batsman and Somerset’s players which resulted in the followling announcement, “A Penalty was awarded to Somerset 2nd XI at Over 31.6: 5 runs, Law 42.2 – Level 1 offence by the batting side”. 

Handbags at dawn perhaps or a recognition of Alfie’s first wicket being on Somerset Day?

The not out batsmen at tea were opener and wicket keeper Jack Davies (43) and Luke Hollman (0).

The remaining six wickets fell in a hurry after tea with the Middlesex innings closing before 5:30 in what was a not uneventful last session which saw them add 116 runs. Jack Davies was the mainstay of Middlesex’s second innings making 71 before also falling LBW. Ben Green the successful bowler. Ari Karvales 3/46 and Ben Green 3/44 were again impressive while Alfie Ogborne wrapped the innings up to finish with a highly creditable 3/23 in 10.4 overs.

A testing nine overs for the Somerset openers did lost materialise when the umpires waved the light meter and play was halted for the day. Let’s hope Ben Green and Chris Gibson enjoy their evening and get a good nights rest and can give Somerset a good start to what looks like a very tough target.