Somerset 2nd XI v Essex 2nd XI, Taunton Cricket Club, Day 1, August 23rd 2021, Essex 318 All Out (Khusi 63, Buttleman 53, Beard 53, Jack Brooks 3/34)
Some now familiar names in the 2nd XI squad: Kasey Aldridge, George Barlow, George Bartlett, Jack Brooks, George Drissell, Chris Gibson, Ned Leonard, James Rew, George Thomas, Josh Thomas, Greg Willows and Sam Young. A welcome return to Chris Gibson from Truro a right hand bat and leg break bowler who played for Somerset Seconds earlier in the season against Middlesex and most recently represented Cornwall against Wales in the National Counties competition.
Unfortunately this fixture is still being played behind closed doors.
With one or two exceptions (notably Sir Alistair Cook and Simon Harmer) Essex have named virtually their complete RLODC squad: NLJ Browne*, JS Rymel, MS Pepper, PI Walter, FIN Khushi, WEL Buttleman†, ASS Nijja, AP Beard, S Snater, BMJ Allison, JH Plom, ES Kalley.
Make no mistake, this is very strong Essex team, a pattern replicated by other Counties not featuring in the T20 quarter finals this week namely Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Derbyshire.
First day back for the red ball Second X1 team after the long relatively successful white ball break where the younger team members, although not qualifying for the final stages, performed admirably in the RLODC.
I was expecting some more first XI members to have a run out before the T20 quarter final against Lancashire on Thursday and the County Championship match next Monday against Nottinghamshire but that proved not to be the case.
Omitted from the ‘regular’ Second XI were Ben Green, Sonny Baker and Eddie Byrom clearly with the T20 quarter final in mind but included in the side were George Bartlett and Jack Brooks, unlikely inclusions in the T20 but a good probability for inclusion in the County Championship Squad.
Jack Brooks captaining the Somerset side won the toss and elected to bowl consigning his team to a long day in the field with Essex eventually being bowled out for 318 (in 93.1 overs) on what turned out to be the last ball of the day.
Restricted by some very tight bowling especially from Jack Brooks Essex slowly reached 82/2 at lunch losing Rymell for 24 (caught by Jamie Rew off Greg Barlow) and Pepper for 13 (bowled by Ned Leonard).
Acceleration came during the afternoon session, Essex scoring 199 for the loss of a further four wickets, Walter (caught behind by Jamie Rew off Kasey Aldridge for 6), Brown (LBW off George Drissell for 46), Kushi (LBW off Ned Leonard for a superb 63) and the dangerous Nijjar (caught at first slip by Kasey Aldridge off George Drissell).
Essex managed a further 119 runs in the final session of the day with 2 wickets falling in successive balls to Jack Brooks (Buttleman caught by George Drissell at first slip for 53 and Snater bowled for 0).
The final two batsmen Allison and Beard lost their wickets to Jack Brooks for 3 (caught by Kasey Aldridge this time at second slip) and Kasey Aldridge for 53 respectively.
The pick of the Somerset bowlers were Jack Brooks (3/34 off 15 overs), Ned Leonard (2/52 off 20 overs), Kasey Aldridge (2/38 off 15,1 overs) with 2 catches by Jamie Rew behind the stumps. The blemish being giving away far too many extras – 39 (3 byes, 13 leg byes and more concerningly 5 wides and 18 no balls).
Much work to be done on day 2 if Somerset are to restrict the first innings lead or finish the day ahead.