Second XI Championship Somerset Second XI v Northamptonshire Second XI, September 6th-9th 2021, Desborough Town CC, Kettering,
Day 3 – Northamptonshire 244 all out (Miller 69, Mehmi 60, Goldsworthy 3/27, Pearson-Taylor 3/42) and 209/2 (Thurston 117 not out, Berg 62 not out); trail Somerset 2nd XI 685/8 declared (Chris Gibson 129, Lewis Goldsworthy 110, Sam Young 203 not out, Ned Leonard 97) by 232 runs with 8 wickets remaining.
Resuming on their overnight score of 448/6, the Somerset Second XI only lost 2 further wickets whilst adding a 237 runs on the third day. For the statistically minded the innings lasted 999 balls, I wonder how many times any Somerset side has batted that long?
There are a number of good news stories to cheer Somerset fans. Partnerships of 199 for the eighth wicket and 166 for the second were supplemented by 87 (1st), 84 (6th), 68 (4th) and 51 (7th). What is it coaches say about building partnerships! Among these it was the outstanding eighth wicket partnership that caught the eye. While it was hardly a case, as it so often is, of lower order runs being needed to boost the Somerset total. Sam Young and Ned Leonard’s 199 requiring just 36.3 overs.
When Ned was eventually was caught off Thurston’s bowling by Heidreich just 3 short of his century (132 balls 12x4s and 1×6), Kasey Aldridge called them in, declaring on 685/8 leaving Sam Young not out on a magnificent 203 from 252 balls including 23x4s and 1×6.
The scorecard should be retained for posterity by all Somerset supporters.
Realistically the Somerset bowlers would have anticipated a tough four sessions but two quick wickets for Ned Leonard who must have been on cloud nine (Ben Curran caught by Lewis Goldsworthy for 9 and Jeffries bowled for 13) saw both openers gone within the first 10 overs. Northamptonshire captain Charlie Thurston and the vastly experienced Gareth Berg led counter attack adding 153 in 35 overs. Thurston ended the day 117 not out, Berg 62.
With the weather forecast dubious for the last day it remains to be seen if any of the potential first team squad for Sunday will be replaced? Lewis Goldsworthy and Will Smeed would probably prefer to rest rather than spend a day chasing leather. If Ned Leonard is also be replaced Somerset social media will be an interesting place!
Notwithstanding whatever the reasons for Lewis Goldsworthy omission from the Yorkshire he has surely done enough to earn a recall. Despite his lack of runs in this game the clamour for Will Smeed to be given a red ball debut will continue.
The case on whether Sam Young’s contract should have been renewed has been elegantly argued by Dan Kingdom but it will be interesting to see if there is a reconsideration and whether Young would be prepared to stay in the circumstances.
There is no doubt that even with climatic assistance Somerset will have to work hard on day four to seal a win against a Northamptonshire Second XI who have played 8 games, winning 3 and gaining 93 points. By comparison Somerset have played 7 and won 2 gaining 64 points. Unlike the last game against Essex who were full of senior players looking for middle practice before the Championship resumed (hasn’t done them any harm has it?) this is a contest between two evenly matched sides.