Taunton’s New Favourite Son? Take 2

Glamorgan's 173 was , as it turned out well below par but probably twently+ more than they should have got but that just provided the platform for Somerset's prodigously talented opener to showcase his immense talent at tTaunton for the second time in a week.

Somerset v Glamorgan, T20 South Group, Taunton, June 3rd Glamorgan 173-7 (Green 5-29) Somerset 174-1 (Smeed 94* [41-7-8]) off 14.1 overs. Somerset won by 9 wickets with 35 balls to spare 

Before we get started with the cricket, I’d just like to pause a moment to think of North Petherton CC’s Mondli Khumalo. I’m sure everyone knows the story by now having made the national nes and been featured on Charlie Taylor’s Cricket Show on Tuesday. Credit to Tom Banton for picking Mondli’s recovery fund as this game’s specified charity. The spectacular hitting raised £1,400 for this special charity close to Somerset hearts.

After the rollocking start to the 2022 T20 campaign, the law of averages and a very good Sussex white-ball side halted what had threatened to be a Dragon Juggernaut. Somerset’s defeat not only cost them two points but also a big adverse swing in the all-important net run rate to slip to third, behind the two London Clubs who both have 100% records and a game in hand In the nascent South Group table.

Glamorgan, so often taken as easy pickings in this picked up their second win last evening comfortably beating Essex at Cardiff. Bizarrely this was their first home game out of four having lost at Middlesex and Surrey and won at Hove, a fixture list which looks considerably tougher than Somerset’s opening four fixtures. No taking the Welsh county for granted in 2022.

The toss delayed by rain which started an hour or so before the scheduled start but thankfully relented in time for a 7pm start, the significance of which was that this allowed time for a full 20 over contest. The delay didn’t interrupt Tom Abell’s mojo with the toss as the Somerset skipper made it five from five in 10 days in this competition.

One change for Somerset with Craig Overton, disappointingly left out by England yesterday available to replace Lewis Goldsworthy and former Somerset batter Eddie Byrom coming in for Glamorgan.

The Glamorgan was a curious thing. Lloyd and Northeast got off to a flying start with 32 coming off the first three overs and had reached 49 in the final over of the power play Craig got Lloyd thanks to a spectacular Roelof catch at backward point.

Sam Northeast was steadily batting himself out of form and when Labuschagne went to his third ball Somerset were right back in the game. Kieran Carlson added much-needed momentum with a quickfire 28 but he and the becalmed Northeast both went in the same Ben Green over Glamorgan were 87-5 in the 11th over.

Eddie Byrom looked like a man with a point to prove and with bright yellow shoes he wasn’t going to be easily missed, top-scoring with 37 before his old flatmate Green cleaned him up spectacularly and then repeated the feat next ball removing Weighell, 153-7with 9 balls left.

Strangely Josh Davey, who had gone for 39 in his first three overs bowled the final one of the innings and he, like de Lange on Wednesday went the distance conceding 16 including two Douthwaite sixes off the last 2 balls. 173 while considered below par at Taunton was probably 20-30 more than it should have been.

Ben Green was the outstanding pick of the bowlers with a remarkable 5-29 off his four overs. He has been consistently good in T20 for the last two seasons and is now a key part of this Somerset bowling attack.

Tom Abell is far too astute a captain to have missed a trick here so I can only assume that Lewis Gregory, who apparently (and worryingly) had a back spasm in the warm-up and Craig Overton (did England limit him to 3 overs or forbid him from bowling the last over? Nothing would surprise me with the ECB). Whatever the reason you sensed like Wednesday a shift in momentum away from the home side. 

Will Smeed got the Somerset innings underway with a six to deep midwicket of the second ball of the innings, Tom Banton got underway with a four in the same pver and Somerset’s chase was up and running with 11 off Hogan’s first over. But Hogan and Neser showed their experience conceding only 7 off the next two overs. 

If my Dad had been with me at the ground he would have been fretting about the run rate and chuntering his mantra of “We  need a big over here” Tom and Will obliged with 12 off Weighell’s first over including a huge Smeed 6 into the family stand. Smeed was up and running now and two more boundaries off Neser’s next over took him to 28 off 17. Banton, happy to play the supporting role was a more watchful 12 off 13.

The Somerset fifty came up half-way through a sixth over as Banton went 6-4-4. Douthwaite’s over ended with Smeed hitting him for a six slashed over the point boundary into the Somerset stand. The over cost 20 and the run rate was above ten at the end of the powerplay.

If the wheels were falling off at this point for Glamorgan Weighell’s next over accelerated the process as Banton drew level with Smeed, both on 35. Exactly 100 needed off the last 13 brought the introduction of Sisodiya’s left-arm spin which only went for 8 but Douthwaite’s next over went for 17 with some huge. Smeed was surging again now reaching his 50 off 27 balls, but next ball Banton chipped a simple caught and bowled back to Sisodiya, – the opening pair had posted exactly 100.

Banton’s dismissal didn’t halt the progress of Somerset’s chase as Will Smeed picked up the pace taking 19 off the next (Hogan) over. With Surrey heading for another big win at Canterbury a big net run rate win would be nice and Rossouw joined the fund smashing Sisodia’s third over far and deep.

Enter Marnus with just 32 needed off 8 overs but Smeed, who must have been eyeing an improbable hundred, took 16 off three balls as the over cost 19. But Rilee wasn’t playing that game with another six off Douthwaite to reduce the target to 5 with Smeed on 89. Douthwaite was spared having to bowl a fourth over as Smeed hit his seventh four off the first ball of the next over to seal the win. Smeed finished with 94 off just 41 balls with 8 sixes. 

This was a fine dominant performance, especially pleasing after Wednesday’s defeat doubly so as there was clear evidence of lessons having been learned from that setback. A mini break now before the intensity of games at Bristol and home to Kent next Thursday and Friday. I can’t wait.