Those Crumbling Crumbs of Comfort

At lunch on day 2 Somerset's 2nds with George Bartlett to the fore were cruising at 101-1 and in a position to dictate the course of this game. By the close, after two sessions all to familiar to the first eleven this month, they face a battle to avoid defeat already trailing by 187

Mike Unwin

Mike moved to Montacute (4.5 miles from Yeovil) in 1952, he started watching Somerset in 1956 and has been a supporter ever since. In retirement, when not at the County Ground or Taunton Vale watching the Somerset Second XI, he can be found, volunteering at the Ilminster Arts supporting the Stock and Sales system or in the Somerset Cricket Museum cataloguing the collection items and putting them online, on the museum’s website

Second XI Championship Somerset Second XI v Hampshire Second XI, September 14th-17th 2021, The Ageas Bowl (Nursery Ground), Southampton 

Day 2 – Hampshire 186 All Out (A. Eckland 49, George Barlow 3/51) and 170/2 (Malik 99 not out, A Eckland 42 not out, lead Somerset 171 (Greg Willows 52, George Bartlett 59, Khanna 3/22, Turner 3/40, Huntley 3/43) by 185 runs with 8 wickets in hand.

Having dismissed Hampshire on day 1 for what looked like a below par score the onus was on the young Somerset batsmen to build a substantial and hopefully match-winning on Day 2.

At lunch all seemed to be going to plan with the total on 101/1 off 32 overs after the opening pair, Greg Willows and Chris Gibson began with a 50 partnership in 16 overs. Gibson departed for 23 but George Bartlett quickly picked up the reins of the Somerset response as they cruised to lunch.

Just 26 overs into the afternoon the plan lay in tatters as Somerset subsided spectacularly adding just 70 runs for the loss of the remaining 9 wickets in 25.2 overs. 

Whatever was said or eaten over lunch should be noted and never repeated especially for Sam Young after his “double” last week and Max Tryfonos both departed for 0 and Kasey Aldridge followed for 5, but when George Bartlett was dismissed for 59 (87 balls, 9x4s and 1×6) with the score at 141/6 hopes of a first innings lead of any size went with him. The final four wickets fell quickly thereafter only adding 30 to the meagre total.

Hampshire seized the initiative taking advantage of the best part of the day to bat to close on 170/2, a lead of 187 going into Day 3. The only successes for the Somerset bowlers were Du Plooy caught behind off George Barlow for 22, and the hosts captain Middleton for 0 caught by Sam Young off the bowling of newcomer Jack Pierce. Malik was 99 at the close and A Eckland 42.

At lunch there were reasonable grounds to think Somerset would close the day with a significant advantage, as it is, after two of the poorest sessions for the seconds this season roles are reversed  and with the forecast of another fine day three the Somerset bowling and fielding will have to be at their very best to turn what looks to be a match-losing situation around.