Those of you who listen to The Somerset Podcast you may recall my lack of fondness for Edgbaston, home of variously Warwickshire, The Birmingham Bears and THe West Midlands Monster Munchers (or whatever). You’ll be very surprised therefore to hear that I see the fixtures for Division One of the County Championship 2021 mean that if Somerset are to lift the trophy at long last it will be at that soulless bowl.
There are two reasons for my volte-face. First if such a scenario comes to pass the ground will be anything but a soulless bowl, in fact it could be packed with Somerset supporters many of who wouldn’t be able to get into the County Ground.
Second we have had chances to win it all at Taunton in the last five years and left deflated. Perhaps the idyll of seeing Tom Abell lift the Championship Trophy on home soil has been a wish to far. To be honest I’ll take anywhere, even horrid Edgbaston, if it sees what I’ve spent a lifetime longing for.
The two home games are Nottinghamshire and Lancashire. We have a very good record home and away against Notts in recent years and they will have to, given their paltry points carry-forward, come and attack. Lancashire who start with a much healthier points total are a side who I’d rather not play at Old Trafford. Not only is is nearly as bad a venue as Birmingham (if you have been there before and after the “improvements” you’ll know exactly what I mean but it is a surface that is not suited to Somerset’s attack often producing turgid cricket.
And we have a little bit left with Lancashire after that heart-rending tie in 2017. Time and opportunity to put that record straight!
Which leaves us with, joy of joy, Scarborough We were last there in 2017 the first year of Tom Abell’s tenure as captain and the game he left himself out of so wretched was his form. For our leader it is a chance to show the North Yorkshire locals what he and his team is made of. But it is also the most wonderful ground to watch cricket. It couldn’t be more of a contrast to Edgbaston or Leeds for that matter no is all the better for it. The pitches are well known for good pace and bounce so expect Craig and Marchant to enjoy being beside the seaside.
Scarborough has a wonderful atmosphere at any time with Yorkies making the pilgrimage from all parts of the board acres giving the ground a buzz. Imagine adding the travelling Somerset support into that mix, I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about it.
So while from an entirely personal selfish point of view these aren’t the fixtures I’d wanted I genuinely believe they give Somerset a great chance come September. Now all we need is an injury free August and a dash of Devon Conway.