Sunday 1 August, One Day Cup Group B, Taunton Somerset 159-5, 19.1 overs (Hildreth 61*) beat Yorkshire 158-5 (20 overs) by 5 wickets with 5 balls remaining
They say a week is a long time in many things, well in the case of this year’s One Day Cup and in particular Somerset’s campaign this is definitely the case. It is a week since Ben Green’s side opened their campaign with a very good win at Taunton against Derbyshire. A week bookended by two superb innings by James Hildreth who now averages 170 in this year’s competition at Taunton, following on from his sublime 110 last weekend
In between times, from the little I’ve been able to see (yes I had no mobile signal throughout Wednesday and only found out about the dram when a burst of data reached me in the Irish Sea at about 10pm) Ben Green’s side are maturing nicely. A one run win does little for the nerves of us supporters but for the team its a wonderful way of building confidence and momentum. Something that is priceless for a young team in such a condensed competition.
With a point against one of the two teams I anticipate being the strongest in the group on Friday when the game at Welbeck against Peter Trego’s Notts was rained off this young Somerset side have moved to the top of the Group B table. With the strong possibility that the game at The Oval on Thursday could go the same way as the one at Welbeck Somerset could potentially head into their next two, winnable, games against Northants and Leicestershire with a great opportunity to top the group and go straight to the semi-finals.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This young side while developing quickly will need performances from the experienced trio Davies, Hildreth, Davey and Brooks to sustain this challenge.
The first four and a half hours of the day were the epitome of frustrating. A storm timed its arrival at St James Street from the Quantocks just as Somerset’s bowlers were about to begin the game after Ben Green won a very good toss given the weather forecast.
In a reprise of Essex in the Championship at the end of September 2019 the superb crowd (put that in your pipe Welsh Fire) had to wait patiently in two hours plus of bright sunshine while the umpires waited for an unspecified part of parts of the outfield to dry sufficiently to allow play to begin. A process that took until 3.30 to satisfy the men in white coats. The game was reduced to 20 overs per side.
Today it was James Hildreth who played the crucial role. He steered his side home in some comfort despite a slight stutter with the finishing line in sight. This though was not an innings from the classic Hildreth playbook, lacking the composure and classy shots we have become so accustomed to. Hildy’s game plan was clearly to attack the young Yorkshire bowling attack from the outset.
“I just went out with the intention of whacking it”
It could all have been very different however had Garry Balance taken the chance Hildreth offered when he was on 18 with the total 81-2. Ballance, captaining the White Rose for the rest of the competition now that our very own Dom Bess has joined the England test squad must hate playing Somerset. Given a fearful going over by Jamie Overton at Headingley in 2018 he rarely prospers against us and must have known at that moment that his error might be fatal for his side’s chances.
Hildreth saw Somerset home with 61 off 34 balls with four maximums and five boundaries but credit also to Sam Young and James Rew (on debut) who inserted the acceleration in a breezy 31 run second wicket stand and the ever-dependable Lewis Goldsworthy who accompanied Hildreth in the match-defining six over 66 run fourth wicket partnership.
Goldsworthy’s departure with just 11 needed off 22 balls prompted a little tremor before Ben Green’s six off the last ball of the nineteenth over reduced the requirement to one off the last over. A task Hildreth completed at the first time of asking.
The tale of the first part of this game was very much one of Somerset’s young inexperienced bowling attack delivering the sort of performance you will get from …. a young inexperienced bowling attack. Yorkshire were reduced to 54-4 in the 8th over but were allowed to add 104 off the last 12 for the loss of just one more wicket.
While concerns about both George Bartlett and Eddie Byrom, both of who, for different reasons, need good one-day cup campaigns remain, the clutch of potential that is Aldridge, Baker, Rew, Young, have come on leaps and bounds in seven days. And let’s not forget that Lewis Goldsworthy, who at the start of this season would have probably expected to be playing with that quartet. Little Lewis – in stature only – has become a cornerstone of this Somerset side in all formats. Just imagine if the others can develop in a similar way over the next couple of weeks!