Vitality Blast, Taunton, Sunday July 18th, Somerset 183-7 (Lammonby 90*) beat Gloucestershire (160-6 Cockbain 72, Overton 2-18, Brooks 1-19) by 23 runs
Just remind me again why anyone would spend the next four weeks doing anything other than supporting Somerset. We may be deprived of a bunch of our very best but we still have an awesome array of talent, both experienced and new and they will be representing the county we all love and support.
If the marketing department at Somerset CCC wanted to promote the Cooper Associates County Ground at any time let alone ahead of the forthcoming One-Day Cup campaign they couldn’t have wished for better than putting last night’s pulsating T20 game live on Sky.
If you want to explain to someone why history and tradition matters rather than a “contest” between spuriously created franchises promoting a selection of snacks you put on a final game of the group stage where local rivals since the late nineteenth century go head-to-head and add in the prospect of one knocking the other out of the competition.
The fact that Somerset triumphed in this game is a matter of huge pride and satisfaction to me. The fact that I’ve been supporting Somerset for over 50 years does not diminish that enjoyment. The way the side overcame adversity in this content and the T20 group phase as a whole is a very positive affirmation of what is being done at the club.
The low point of this game was when Somerset, batting first, slipped to 39-3 at the end of the seventh over. With Conway, Davies and Hildreth all gone and Abell and Gregory unavailable the responsibility for the innings rested with the still inexperienced middle-order of Smeed, Goldsworthy and Lammonby. At 73-4 when Goldsworthy departed toward the end of the 13th over the prospects looked bleak.
But this was one of the most impressive things. There was no sense of panic. The fourth wicket took 34 balls to add 38 but slowly began to wrestle control form the visitors. But even a total near to 150 looked impossible.
Enter Tom Lammonby. Yes that’s right Lammonby, not Abell or Banton but the third of our wonderful trio of talented Toms. Many non-Somerset supporters will have seen the score and assumed it was a typo, it definitely was not. He arrived at the crease with 44 balls left in the innings and proceeded to reach his fifty off just 22 balls and score 90 out of the 110 added while he was batting in just 36 balls.
When Anthony Gibson says that this was, “as good a T20 innings as I’ve seen” speaks volumes. For my part it is up there with the epic Richards hundreds in Lords finals at the very top of Somerset one-day innings.
I do this not just because of the purity of the making but putting the knock into context of both personal and team position when it began. Lammonby has, as did his two Christian-namesakes previously played a career-defining innings at Taunton in front of the Sky cameras.
With Roelof making the best (run a ball) 5 of his career added 101 in the last six overs to set Gloucestershire 184 to win. Psychologically that would have been tough on anyone needing to win to progress but the added impact of what they had felt would be a regulation run-chase until the last couple of overs of the Somerset innings did for them.
Craig Overton (2-18) was magnificent leading the side as both captain and bowler, Jack Brooks (who has more that repaid the value of his contract in this year’s Blast) (1-19) almost as impressive and apart from one blemish in the field Gloucestershire were always behind in their chase. From 125-3 they subsided to 129-5 and fell 23 runs short. And credit to deserves to go to the coaching staff who read the pitch right and didn’t play Jack Leach on a surface which van der Merwe and Goldsworthy’s bowling figures suggested were not the best.
So we are left with the six teams that will form Division One of the County Championship plus Kent and Sussex as the quarter-finalists. We have over a month to wait for the visit of Lancashire to Taunton such is the ludicrous structure of the fixture list in 2021 but we’ve had to deal with greater adversity as Somerset supporters.
Hampshire who had the odds stacked against them over the weekend with a double header on Friday and a run chase completed in 13 overs on Sunday afternoon. 6 points in three days to leapfrog them over both Surrey and Gloucestershire (shame) and clinch fourth spot in the south group.
A lot can change before the end of August but finals day is a real possibility. This could be a fabulous September in the history of this great club.