Unfamiliar Friends – One Day Cup Preview

Somerset began their defence of the One Day Cup with a home game against Derbyshire tomorrow. Despite the unavailability of the majority of the first team squad hopes are high that Ben Green's men will make at least the quarter-final stage

A very different looking but potentially exciting Somerset side will begin the defence of the One Day Cup against Derbyshire at Taunton on Sunday. Leaving aside the distractions of the beer and cider festival a win against unfamiliar opponents much less affected by the “draft to the daft” would set the tone for the campaign very nicely.

Ben Green, in his interview with this site earlier in the week said that his side’s aspiration is to win the trophy with the mix of experience and exciting youth. That will be no easy task in a competition where several of the sides Somerset will come up against being able to call on a far higher proportion of first team regulars. If you want a detailed analysis of each side’s squad in this competition have a look at fellow Somerset Podcast regular Dan Kingdom’s post in the County Cricket Matters Facebook Group.

There are two groups of 9 with the group games being compressed into a frantic three-week schedule which ends on the 12th August. The top four in each group then go into the quarterfinals, seeded in the same was as in The Blast which are held on Saturday 14th August. Ridiculously, unsurprisingly the semi-finals follow on the Tuesday with the final on the Thursday of the same week at Trent Bridge. Good luck with tickets and travel for those games loyal county cricket supporters!

A visit of Derbyshire to Taunton is a rare thing indeed. Since 2010 there has been one championship and one one-day game between the sides at The Cooper Associates, both Derbyshire wins so Green’s side will be doubly keen to reverse fortunes and get off toa flying start.

Derbyshire have floundered in both the Championship and T20 this year finishing bottom of Group 1 without a win and second bottom in the north group of the blast. The latter campaign was curtailed 2 games early as a result of a COVID outbreak. They began their 50 over campaign on Thursday with defeat at Leicester which would have been far worse but for captain Billy Godleman’s 116 formed the backbone of 275-7. They are without promising leg-spinning all-rounder Matt Critchley, run machine Leus du Plooy and Tauntonian Luis Reece.

Somerset’s side seems likely to be the mix of experience and youth that Green was referring to when I spoke to him. Injuries permitting I expect to see the following: Byrom, Davies, Bartlett, Hildreth, Goldsworthy, Young or Thomas, Green, Aldridge, Davey, Brooks and Leach  but with de Lange to return in a couple of games time, Leach heading back to the England bubble,  James Rew pushing hard and the other young seamers Leonard and Baker possible to rotate there is also depth.

Another home game with Glamorgan follows on Wednesday before a trip to Welbck to play Peter Trego led Notts. Yorkshire, Surrey, Northants, Leicestershire and finally Warwickshire in that order make up the group.

Predicting the quarter final line up is a thing of crystal balls but I’m going to pick Somerset, Surrey, Yorkshire and Warwickshire from this. In the other group I’ll plump for Essex, Gloucestershire (Both through gritted teeth), Worcestershire and Durham.

Realistically a semi-final place would be a wonderful achievement for this side and as they say, once you get to that stage anything is possible..  

If you would like to relive the emotions of 25th May 2019 my piece written in the warm glow of that wonderful day is here.