County Ground Double-Header Debut Ends in Double Defeat

New ground was broken on Sunday when Somerset Women played T20 cricket at the Cooper Associates County Ground for the first time. According to CricketArchive, they have played 50 over cricket at Taunton six times, the last of those coming in 2015, but this occasion was undoubtedly of a higher profile thanks to advertisement from the club and the presence of a live stream. It was unfortunate that the matches clashed with the final day of Somerset Men’s match against Surrey at the Oval, meaning that the attention of Somerset fans was divided.

Dan Kingdom

Dan attended his first Somerset match in 2009 and has been a member since 2010. He was born in Taunton and now lives in Birmingham but tries to attend as many Somerset matches as possible, home and away. He has a bachelor's degree in Geography and a master's degree in Planning, both from the University of Reading. He now works in GIS. Away from work and cricket, he enjoys travelling and reading.

Those who did tune in or attend were immediately treated to a special innings from Warwickshire’s Eve Jones, who made her T20 high score with an unbeaten 93 off 60 balls, including 12 fours and a six as Warwickshire racked up 171 for 5 after being inserted by Somerset. Marie Kelly (25) and Thea Brookes (20) played useful supporting roles. For Somerset, Lauren Filer took two wickets and bowled a maiden while Lorraine Szczepanski and Joleigh Roberts took a wicket apiece. 

Sophie Luff, captaining Somerset at the County Ground for the first time, did her best to hold Somerset’s chase together with 45 off 40 balls but they were bowled out for 122 in 19.4 overs to lose by 49 runs. Roberts also hit a quick 22 including two fours and a six. Warwickshire used nine bowlers but it was their star pacer, Issy Wong, who impressed the most, taking three wickets.

For game 2, Brooke Whittaker was brought into the Somerset side for her debut in place of the injured Szczepanski. Warwickshire won the toss and batted but this time things were different – Emily Edgcombe got rid of Jones first ball of the innings and had former Somerset player Gwen Davies caught and bowled later in the over. Lauren Filer had Kelly caught in the second over and then dismissed Issy Wong in the fourth to leave Warwickshire 21 for 4.

But Somerset weren’t done – in the sixth over, Niamh Holland had Bethan Ellis lbw and then bowled Ria Fackrell – 27 for 6!

Still not done – Brookes was lbw to Holland off the final ball of the eighth over, Warwickshire had 33 runs for the loss of their top seven and Somerset were jubilant.

It is worth noting that this is a vastly experienced batting line-up, with hundreds of county, KSL, regional and Hundred matches between them – and they were taken apart by three much less experienced youngsters in Edgcombe, Lauren Filer and Holland.

Perhaps the Somerset line-up’s inexperience, exacerbated by the absence of Szczepanski and also Nicole Harvey, who did not appear in either match, was a factor in Warwickshire recovering to 101 for 8 from their 20 overs. That is not to take away from the maturity and skill with which Georgia Davis (44 not out) and Liz Russell (23) played – their partnership of 55 was exceptional and dragged Warwickshire up to a defendable score.

Sadly, Somerset’s chase never really got going. Two key blows were struck in the powerplay when Luff and Nat Wraith were dismissed cheaply. Wickets continued to fall in the middle overs and the scoring rate never threatened as Warwickshire’s experienced bowling attack kept things well in check. Hannah Baker took three key middle-order wickets while Anisha Patel polished off the tail to finish with 4 for 14 as Somerset were bowled out for 75. Edgcombe top-scored for Somerset, making 20. Warwickshire won by 26 runs.

Elsewhere in Group 3, Wales completed two wins against Gloucestershire at Ynystawe CC to go second in the table, level on 12 points with Warwickshire. Somerset are third with 8 points and Gloucestershire are fourth with no points (note that four points are awarded for a win, two for a tie and, oddly, only one for a no result).

Somerset’s next double-header is against Wales at Taunton Vale Sports Club on Monday 2nd May (Bank Holiday Monday). This time there is no clash with a Somerset men’s match, the weather is set fair and entry will be free – so if you can, do go along!

The group finals day will be on Sunday 8th May at Edgbaston Foundation Sports Ground in Birmingham (remember, every team will qualify for this – see my piece last week for full details of the competition’s format).

The scorecard for game 1 can be found here and for game 2 here 

The Play-Cricket home page for the 2022 Vitality Women’s County T20 can be found here