They Play Doubleheaders in Baseball Too

Thought we'd do something different for today's SecondsWatch as it was .... something different, a doubleheader. Gave me a chance to write a few words about baseball as well!

ECB Second XI T20 Championship Central Group, Somerset Second XI v Northamptonshire Second XI , May 19th 2022, Taunton CC

Cricket by Mike Unwin, Baseball by Steve Tancock

The Baseball Bit 

Many people see the changes in cricket and compare them to baseball in a derogatory way. I find that hard to deal with. Baseball is a wonderful game perfect for a warm weekday summers evening or weekend afternoon in a ballpark. I have been lucky enough to work on America and have spent many a memorable evening watching “America’s game” is Boston, Minneapolis and New York (but never the hated Yankee Stadium), to name a few.

I could go on for many thousand words about baseball but don’t worry I won’t but when Mike Unwin (who I am beginning to think is superhuman for his multi-tasking powers) sent me his notes of the second-team doubleheader for the 2s today I suggested to him we do something different. For those of you who didn’t see him at the CACG day yesterday I can assure you he was there with one half of his brain focused on the tense struggle in the middle and the other half on his iPad watching two games at Taunton CC.

So why you ask is he starting this SecondsWatch talking about baseball? I’ll keep it short. Baseball’s regular season runs from early April to the end of September and comprises 162 games. As you can imagine the schedule is packed so when a game gets rained out, it does happen, especially in Chicago (!) the teams play two games the following day, a double-header. And more often than not when teams play a doubleheader they win one apiece. And, spoiler alert, that’s what happened when somerset and Northants did that yesterday. 

The Cricket Bit

Somerset Second XI squad: Ben Green (c), Will Smeed, Kasey Aldridge, George Bartlett, Roelof van der Merwe, Marchant de Lange, Ned Leonard, Josh Thomas, Jack Brooks, Jamie Baird and Jack Harding.

The Northamptonshire squad was GG White, HOM Gouldstone†, EJ Rice, SA Zaib*, SJ Young, CO Thurston, FJ Heldreich, AK Russell, AMC Russell, GT Hankins, BD Glover.

After the overwhelming victories against Worcestershire and Glamorgan, this was a day of mixed fortunes for the Somerset Second XI, losing the first game, but getting revenge in the second game. Somerset’s highest individual scores being posted by George Bartlett (68 from 46 deliveries) and the in form Will Smeed (58 from 29 deliveries).

Also thanks to Dan Kingdom for pointing out that ex Somerset Academy player, Sam Young played for Northants scoring 10 in both games.

Match 1: Somerset Second XI 156/5, George Bartlett 40, Ben Green 46, Northamptonshire 158/7, Zaib 38, Jack Brooks 4/12. Northamptonshire Second XI win by 3 wickets.

Northants won the toss and elected to bowl first.

Somerset captain Ben Green top scored with 46 as Northamptonshire were set 157 to win game 1. Green’s opposite number Zaib also top scored for his side, his 38 helping Northants get home in the final over despite Jack Brooks taking 4 for 12.

By the fifth over, Somerset had slipped to 28 for 2, Kasey Aldridge continuing his role as pinch hitter only getting to 6 this time, but George Bartlett (40 from 28 deliveries), Ben Green (46 from 32) and Roelof van der Merwe (37 from 27) enabled Somerset to reach a total of 156 for five from the allotted overs.

Despite Jack Brooks bowling magnificently, Northamptonshire prevailed in a finish reminiscent of the Western Storm’s victory over Southern Sparks the previous day. Northamptonshire reached the required total for the loss of seven wickets with just two balls to spare.

Match 2: Somerset Second XI 185/8, George Bartlett 69, Will Smeed 58, Russell 4/30. Northamptonshire 134/7, Thurston 45. Somerset Second XI win by 51 runs.

The toss was won by Somerset, who elected to bat first.

Somerset gained revenge in the second match. Half-centuries for George Bartlett and Will Smeed took them to a total of 185 for 8. Russell took 4 for 30 for Northants. Northamptonshire were never really in the hunt as a good all-round bowling display restricted them to 134 for 7.

An opening stand of 48 in just 3.5 overs and a power play of 65 for the loss of that one wicket put Somerset in a good position to post a total of over 9 runs / over. Smeed scored 58 and Bartlett 69.

George Bartlett, runs in both innings

Second time around the Northamptonshire innings failed to respond to the challenge despite an innings of 45 by Thurston; two wickets apiece for Ned Leonard (2/17), Ben Green (2/18) and Lewis Goldsworthy (2/31) saw Somerset win by a comfortable 51 runs.

No rest for this side in this crowded part of their season as they take on Gloucestershire 2s at Taunton CC in another game in this competition.

Scorecards here – game 1 game 2