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Thursday T20 QF @ Trent Bridge
Posted by: Farmer White (IP Logged)
Date: 20 August, 2017 22:41

I have idled away a wet weekend doing a bit of research and dragging memories from a hazy mind. To fill in the three days between now and Thursday here is a potted history of Somerset v Nottinghamshire and Somerset’s forays into quarter finals in t20 cricket. Unless of course I have missed some…

T20 matches between Somerset and Nottinghamshire have a rarity value on a par with transits of Mercury across the face of the Sun. There have only been two of each since the T20 tournament began in 2003. The rarity of the transits being due to the orbits of the two planets being slightly out of alignment. The rarity of the cricketing event the result of the two teams failing to align through always having been in different regional groups. The two cricket matches being a quarter-final and semi-final both won by Somerset.

Somerset’s appearances in quarter-finals have been less rare but not commonplace. Six in the same period. Precisely the same number of partial eclipses of the sun visible from the UK in the same period. Or at least there will have been six by Thursday for the sixth eclipse takes place tomorrow (Monday). Only the narrowest of grazings of the sun by the moon’s shadow so hardly worth the watching. If the quarter-final is as close it will be well worth the watching.

Five of the six quarter finals have been won. For those who worry that winning runs always come to an end, worry not for the winning run came to an end in 2013 when Somerset lost to Surrey at The Oval. It was the end of five consecutive years in which Somerset’s T20 star was in the ascendant and blazed across the cricketing firmament with three consecutive finals but never quite the trophy.

T20s v Nottinghamshire

2010: The Rose Bowl Semi-final

Somerset’s latter-day star perhaps reached its zenith in 2010 with second place in all three competitions. Nottinghamshire were the T20 semi-final opponents at a very wet Rose Bowl. Somerset batted first and I was there with my umbrella.

Somerset’s innings was a glorious spectacle which outshone the reluctant sun that day. 182 for 5 off 20 overs. Marcus Trescothick opening at the top of his destructive game, hit only two sixes but placed the rest of the balls he faced well enough to finish with 60 off 28 balls. All I remember now of what must have been a blistering innings was an uppercut for 6. Breath-taking when it comes off.

The other highlight was Jos Buttler. He came in with Somerset precariously and, as it feels, traditionally struggling in a white ball match at 107 for 5 with about six overs to go. He scored 55 off 23 balls. I do not remember the specifics of his innings. What I do remember is a phase in which he decimated Sidebottom and Broad with, of all people, Kieron Pollard at the other end rotating the strike. I remember being impressed with Pollard declining the limelight to feed Buttler the strike.

64 runs came off the last four overs, 47 of them to Buttler. I can still see Ryan Sidebottom, a bowler for whom I have the very highest regard, walking to the boundary near me looking shell-shocked, head shaking rhythmically and eyes wide and staring after one pummelling over. And Broad, the man we had all feared, powerless against the 19-year-old Buttler. He had batted with the brilliance of a stellar supernova that no moon’s shadow could dim.

The details of the Nottinghamshire reply are a blur but I remember the constantly threatening skies which once or twice were such a deep black they suggested Armageddon might be the most likely thing to end the match. The rain came and went, constantly threatening and retreating. All the while the Nottinghamshire score kept perilously close to the Duckworth Lewis par score. Then it edged ahead as the atmosphere reached its most foreboding and Somerset hearts sank. They were lifted by a spectacular overhead boundary catch by Pollard in front of the Pavilion. Suddenly Somerset were ahead on Duckworth Lewis, within minutes the heavens emptied and the match was won by 3 runs D/L with Notts 117-4 off 13. A match between two teams at the top of their game that cried out to go the full 20 overs. What the outcome might have been one of those recurrent unknowables of cricket.

And let me not fail to mention Alphonso Thomas 3-0-23-2 and Peter Trego 2-0-14-1. They and Trescothick and Buttler, with a thoughtful innings from Pollard the main stars in Nottinghamshire’s slither thin eclipse.

2011 Quarter Final at Trent Bridge

Battle re-joined at Trent Bridge this time a quarter final. I peered out from the distance of my Eastern exile to watch this one on television and the memory is less clear for not having been there. In cold statistical terms Somerset topped Nottinghamshire’s 169-5 with 172-4 with 5 balls to spare. Pretty conclusive in the end in T20.

To keep Nottinghamshire to 169 Arul Suppiah had bowled 3 overs for 13 runs and Alphonso Thomas, and another Somerset 19-year-old by the name of Lewis Gregory, each took 2 for 35 from 4 overs. This time Somerset reached 106 for 4 with all but 15 overs gone. Craig Kieswetter out for 49 off 37 balls but still 64 needed from 5 overs. I have no recollection of what the D/L score was then.

13 an over for 5 overs really was an ask then even in T20 and I recall looking tensely at the TV screen with, I have to confess, something of a sinking feeling with 5 overs to go. The charge conducted, as the previous year, by Buttler (34* off 14) and Pollard (47* off 25). The 64 were scored in just over 4 overs. I do not recall any particular bowler being pummelled this time and Nottinghamshire had played without Broad and Sidebottom.

And that as far as T20 matches against Nottinghamshire go is that. Two Somerset wins with two very similar Somerset innings each being transformed from a position of jeopardy by the same two batsmen. Of the team that played in the 2011 game only Trego, Hildreth and Gregory are likely to be in Thursday’s squad. Of the 2010 game only Trego and Hildreth.

Other Quarter Finals

2005: Northamptonshire v Somerset at Northampton

This was five years before I was dragooned to my first live T20 match to discover what I had been missing was rather better than I thought it would be. I have no recollection of the quarter final at all. I do have very clear recollections of desperately trying to follow the final via hourly bulletins on BBC World on a TV screen in a hotel room in Warsaw. Hourly bulletins are not the ideal way to follow T20 cricket but I do remember having to wait an hour to find out if Somerset had actually managed to score the final dozen or so runs to win Brian Rose’s only trophy as DoC.

Back though to the quarter final. It was played at Northampton and Northamptonshire scored 154 for 8 off 20 overs, the pick of the Somerset bowlers Ian Blackwell with 3 for 16 and Keith Parsons with 3 for 24 both off 4 overs. In Somerset’s innings Matt Wood was run out for 58 and Keith Parsons (38*) steered Somerset home with a ball to spare. James Hildreth was out for a duck and Graham Smith who was the key to Somerset’s victory in the final was run out for 8. Steffan Jones who took 1 for 32 off 4 overs and the peripatetic Damien Wright played for Northamptonshire.

2009: Lancashire v Somerset at Old Trafford

I definitely was not at this ‘match’ and just as well for Manchester is a long way to travel from the South East for a bowl out. Apparently two reserve days failed to beat the Manchester weather but as a result Somerset did win a match at Old Trafford 5-1. Curiously Lancashire used two batsmen in the bowl out including VVS Laxman. Somerset stuck to all their main bowlers. Thomas hit twice and Trego, Willoughby and Phillips once each. For the record Somerset beat Kent in the semi-final (so it does happen) and seemed to freeze against Sussex in the final having opted to chase.

2010: Somerset v Northamptonshire at Taunton

I did travel down to Taunton for this one and saw what was essentially a rather austere demolition job of a team that played as if it had barely turned up. In fact I saw them turn up. They were turfed off their coach outside the Priory Bridge Road gates at exactly the same time as I arrived about an hour and a half before the match. I remember thinking they look ripe for the picking and they were.

There must have been a chance though not a certainty of rain that day for I had arrived as early as I could get to the ground to try for a seat in front of the glass of the Colin Atkinson Pavilion as a hedge against the possibility of rain. I was on my own so managed one of the odd ones left near the scoreboard.

Chaminder Vaas opened the batting for Northamptonshire presumably to pinch hit and was run out, as I recall in an almighty mix up, with the score on 2. Northamptonshire never recovered. They went to 42 for 5 and, in T20 terms crawled to 112 for 6. Three run outs in the end perhaps a testament to the quality of the Somerset bowling, the combined figures of Murali Kartik and Arul Suppiah being 8-0-29-2. Even Murray Turner took 1 for 8 off 2 overs that day.

200 miles was along way to have come to see Trescothick make 9 but the then usual suspects of Kieswetter, Trego and Hildreth saw us home at a leisurely canter. It was probably the least tense quarter or semi-final I can remember. It felt at the time as if we had won that match from the moment the Northamptonshire team got off the coach. When Ray Illingworth was at Leicestershire he used to say he could tell if the opposition were a threat or not from the way they got off their coach.

2012: Somerset v Essex at Taunton

Another one I travelled down for. How could I not having spent a quarter of a century watching Somerset take on Essex on Essex’s home turf. I sat in the old scoreboard stand for this one and it was a real scorcher as far as I recall. It was a long way to come to see Craig Kieswetter out trying to hit the first ball of the match for six. It did bring about something of a sinking feeling. At least Marcus Trescothick’s newly repaired ankle held up. And James Hildreth played the innings that gave Somerset a competitive total. He hit 58 off 36 balls in the days before he hit sixes and Jos Buttler chipped in too with 33. Those Hildreth T20 innings were always a joy to watch as he seemed to play with the field placings as a cat with a mouse. Boundaries placed through as much as over the field. 175 for 6 on a day such as that left more than a little anxiety (although I am always anxious when Somerset are playing so I may not be the best judge of a par score).

We wondered if Cook would be good enough to translate his red ball class to T20. He wasn’t at least not in this match. He made 28 but he never seemed to me to be at one with himself and, fortunately for Somerset never got away. He took some banter from the stand whenever he came near in the field in good heart though. Ravi Bopara, then with England, managed a second ball duck and had to endure some less kind banter along the lines of, “Ravi, Ravi, tell us your score” from the other end of the scoreboard stand as he sat awhile in the ‘dugout’. The banter subsided and turned into cheering as Essex subsided to 53-5 in the tenth with the departure of Cook and, a late flurry from Ryan ten Doeschate apart, never recovered.

Looking at the bowling figures Lewis Gregory took 4 for 39 off 3.3 and Peter Trego 2 for 23 off 4. Max Waller putting in an appearance with 0 for 18 off 2 and George Dockrell 1 for 14 off 2. Arul Suppiah’s knees perhaps finally catching up with him. A shame to think he is still only 33.

2013: Surrey v Somerset at The Oval

To date Somerset’s only defeat in any T20 quarter final. I sat on the terrace at the top of the OCS stand courtesy of free tickets for all Somerset members provided by Surrey. There were a few of us up there and very pleasant it was. Would it had been so on the pitch.

Somerset made 148 for 6. It never felt like it was enough. Craig Kieswetter opened and stayed to the end for 70*. Only Peter Trego managed to stay with him for 33. They looked like, in T20 terms, constrained innings. The whole Somerset innings did. Surrey bowled and fielded with a purpose and the purpose as often as not seemed to be to deny Kieswetter the strike. That Somerset reached even 148 was down to a last ditch burst of 22 from 13 balls from of all people Nick Compton.

At the end of Trego’s knock, out to Gareth Batty, Batty walked straight into Trego’s direct route to the Pavilion and Trego walked straight through him without breaking step, Kieswetter quickly on the scene in support.

When they batted Surrey reached 60 for 0 from 7 overs and it felt desperately like they were running away with the match. It is rarely quite that simple with Somerset though and Peter Trego stepped in with two wickets in two overs but Surrey still only needed another 72 from 10 overs and Trego who ended with 4-0-16-2 had already bowled 3. By the end of the 14th Surrey were only 34 short with 8 wickets left. That became 13 off 3 with 6 left but not even a wicket to Kirby and 2 more to Thomas in the space of 5 balls was enough and Surrey were home with an over to spare. The match had been won by the Surrey bowling in truth. And that, until Thursday, was that for Somerset in the knock out stages of the T20 competition.

As I looked at the cards for these matches and dragged back as many memories as I could a number of things struck me.

Firstly, Somerset have only had one extended period of T20 progress beyond the group stage in the 15 season history of the competition. The five seasons from 2009 to 2013. Otherwise they won the competition in 2005 and have reached the quarter final in 2017 curiously four seasons either side of the five season run.

Secondly, during that five season period Somerset had a core of powerful batting consisting of Trescothick, Kieswetter, Trego, Hildreth and Buttler, a core of wicket taking bowlers consisting of Thomas, Trego, and a very young Lewis Gregory who from recollection bowled faster than he has since his back injury towards the end of the five season run and had a vicious and very effective yorker. All seven feature heavily in these matches and were supplemented in the earlier matches by Kieron Pollard in the batting department and by Arul Suppiah and Murali Kartik in the bowling department.

Thirdly, where might Somerset be today had Craig Kieswetter, Jos Buttler and Arul Suppiah still been at the Club or even two of them.

Fourthly, only James Hildreth has played in all the above matches for Somerset.

Fifthly, for as long as the Earth continues in its orbit the Moon will continue to eclipse the Sun, Mercury will continue to make its transits and, not needing to mention the three lost finals, Somerset will continue to infuriate us all. Enjoy! As they so irritatingly say these days. Starting on Thursday.

And finally, for the record, Nottinghamshire have been in 9 quarter finals. They have won 4 and lost 5.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 28/08/2017 15:42 by Grockle.

Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: nelliec (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 10:36

It's a great position to be in on Thursday.Huge underdogs ,a team that everybody thinks sneaked in the back door(probably right), witn no test stars or overseas players .on the other foot Notts.Home advantage,easily qualified in the group stages ,full of stars,already beat us in one quarter final.
So who's the pressure going to be on this week.We can just go out with nothing to lose and prove to all the ex test stars,who always knock Somerset for whatever reasons,that a united team is better than a team of individual stars.Go out and express yourself.

Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: Shepton Paul 2 (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 11:27

Thanks Farmer, another excellent contribution.

Agree with all that, nellie, though I do query this phrase "sneaking in the back door". If you qualify under the rules, then you qualify. It's just as valid to win the last game and go through as it is to win the first game. If you take the last qualifying place on run rate, then that's qualification, pure and simple. It's not "sneaking in the back door".

Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: nelliec (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 12:03

Very true SP2.Its probably just the impression that other clubs depict us in such a way that surely we shouldn't
have qualified ahead of say Middlesex.
Likewise congratullations to both Derbyshire and Leicester for putting out some of the "big boys"

Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: Following on (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 12:25

ECB must be delighted that Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Somerset and Glamorgan are in the Quarters, where as the likes of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Middlesex are watching on TV!

Lets hope Somerset put in a performance like Friday and storm into Finals day brim full of confidence.

Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: Grockle (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 16:01

It is true that we qualified.and therefore deserve the quarter final.

However we did not qualify well or show our capabilities in their true light. Our uncertainties and inconsistancies were too obvious too often so it is possible.that people may see us qualifying by.the skin of our teeth.

The fact of our qualification (based mostly on a player performance we didn't rate for most of our campaign) is one thing. The quality of our qualification is another thing entirely. We made poor decisions, picked poor sides, balanced them badly and ran poor stategies at vital times. We lost close games we should have won and lost home revenue because.of it. We won other games because of great individual performances from other players we seemed not to rate.

It may be a more successful campaign.than we deserve and we should see our present fortunate. We have to be better to move on. Whether we do or not we need to learn some important lessons for next year and do some serious work in the off season. If we are here.'on merit" it's not at the level.of merit we should have qualified with and we need to do beter this year and most definitely in 2018.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 21/08/2017 16:06 by Grockle.

Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: Clarence Parker (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 19:06

A very interesting and nostalgic report, Farmer White. Thank you for all the research that you did.

One thing mystifies me though concerning the 2010 game v. Northamptonshire at Taunton. You referred to Murray Turner taking 1 - 8, but my memory suggests that Murray ceased playing for us in the 1980's, probably 25 years or so before this game.

Dare I suggest that it may have been Mark Turner?

Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: Farmer White (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 20:24

Indeed Clarence you are right. I would like to say it was a deliberate error to see if anyone spotted it. It wasn't. Must have been some sort of Freudian memory warp. Perhaps to do with Murray playing most of his games for Somerset in 1985 the second half of which season was watched in the knowledge I was due to go into my Eastern exile before another season would come around after five years back in Somerset. Little did I know it would last three decades.

I never saw Murray put in a decisive spell with the ball but I can still remember Viv Richards calling out, "Pitch it up." to Murray, calling him by his nickname which I cannot drag from my memory, in a supportive tone of voice when he was taking some stick in a one day game.

I did see one decisive spell (or one at each end of an innings to be precise) from Mark. I travelled down to watch Somerset play Worcestershire in the CB40 at Bath in 2010. I had not seen Mark bowl before. I sat square and that day he bowled like the wind and took 4 for 36 off 7.4 overs, the two openers and two tail enders. Exactly what you employ a fast bowler for I thought. I wondered why he did not play more. I saw him subsequently and found out why. The match was won comfortably by Somerset.

Thank you for raising the question and releasing that memory.


Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: Grockle (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 20:33

He couldn't consistently pitch it on a length Farmer. He might get a fast one in the right place early on but he wasn't a finisher as we found in one T20 Final when Ian Bell won a game by taking his short deliveries and murdering our 20th over.

I well remember him having a bowling net during a lunch break in a CC1 match. Jason put a disc on a length and got him to try hitting it. Not only did he not hit it, he was so far away that they eventually replaced the inner field marker with one the size of an orange dinner plate and he was still nowhere near it. Decent pace, nice lad, defective radar.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 21/08/2017 20:34 by Grockle.

Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: Farmer White (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 21:26

Do you mean 40 over Grockle? Lord's 2010 CB 40 Final the day after the CC match at Chester le Street when we failed to win the CC. Notts taking it on fewer wins?

I travelled home from Chester le Street that night and then up to Lord's the next day to find the people I had been sitting near on the Members Balcony at Chester le Street were sitting opposite me on the tube. "Mad aren't we," one of them said. Hardly a point I could argue with for I had been at the Rose Bowl for the T20 Finals day as well. And so had they it transpired.

We had perfect seats right over the umpire's head in the top of the Compton Stand. Somerset as I recall were going along pretty well in their innings with a good partnership between Compton and Hildreth until Compton ran Hildreth out after which we collapsed against Imran Tahir. 199 all out.

I remember Murali Kartik having a huge appeal against Bell turned down when the game was still in the balance and Alphonso Thomas just keeping us in the game with a fast accurate spell as Warwickshire closed in. The person I was with was behind the stand when the Kartik appeal went up and there was a replay of it on a screen with the graphic which takes the ball onto the stumps. With DRS it would have been umpires call. On such thin margins are matches lost.

Then the Turner over. I think it was the 37th or 38th. Trescothick called him up to, as I recall, a bit of a groan from the Somerset contingent in the crowd. I imagine Trescothick went to Turner because Bell was playing so well against everyone else he calculated the only likeliehood of getting him out was a very fast yorker. Warwickshire reached 200 for 7 with an over to spare. Bell was actually out with the scores level for 107 to Thomas.

As you say the over went for an awful lot. If anything one thing lost us that match it was not the Turner over which was a last throw of a by then fairly desperate dice but the run out opening up the lower order to Tahir and closing off a burgeoning partnership with plenty of overs left and Hildreth playing like a dream.

And so we netted out third second place of the season.


Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: Grockle (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 21:34

Probably. Though we finished very late if it was. Didn'y matter his issues were the same whatever format.


Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: Grockle (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 21:42

Not sure you are right Farmer...a good 75% of the Press box that day groaned when Marcus passed him the ball and any member of the Somerset core were being asked whether there was something they didn't know that we did.

The Brummie man was over the moon and one reporter changed his headline to Somerset throw their chance away or something like that. One 'bye' didn't lose us though wasn't that the game where Pollard was injured?

Tahir certainly took us apart in one knock out game but wasn't he playing for Hants then? The period of final defeats tend to run into one I'm aftaid.


Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: Farmer White (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 21:49

We did indeed finish late. It was the floodlit daynight final which finished, and was scheduled to finish, so late that there were no trains back to the West Country after the match and it was touch and go whether Warks supporters could get back too. It caused quite a bit of comment at the time because there was no logical reason for it to be played in the evening particularly as Lord's are limited on floodlight days. It was even raised as an issue with Colin Graves when he came to Taunton a couple of years ago to question whether the ECB or the broadcasters set the timing of matches.

Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: Farmer White (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 22:01

This is the scorecard. Only look if you can bear to see Somerset collapsing from 176 for 3 with 10 overs left to 199 all out with an over unused:


From recollection Pollard was injured in the other final that year - the T20 at the Rose Bowl.

As you say they do blur a bit. Until I checked the scorecard I though the Warwickshire CB40 final was the one where it rained and they had a reduced target but I think that must have been the Surrey one a couple of years later. Another second.

I was there too. As the man on the tube said I must be mad.

Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: Grockle (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 22:11

Yep 18 Sept 2010 ECB 40 That explains the poor light at the end and Tahir took 5 for 41.

Marcus chose to bowl Mark who ended with 7 overs for 71. He didn't bowl Pete.out who ended as our best bowler with 3 for 31. I will never understand that decision dying day. Pete also scored.60. We were in with a shout with 6 balls to go and threw any chance away


Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: Grizzzly (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 22:17

Thanks for your comprehensive memoirs FW, but that scorecard really is painful !

24 to win, 9.3 overs remaining & seven wickets left.

How on earth did we lose ?

Glad I wasn't there for that one.


Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: Farmer White (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 22:28


It was not quite that bad though bad enough. We batted first so the Warks 200 for 7 was the chase but from 177 for 3 we probably should have set them something like 250. Had we done and then bowled, Turner apart, like we did defending 199 Warks might have struggled.

I think we probably froze against Tahir. He had quite a reputation at the time. Notts would probably have won the CC in 2008 had Hants not secretly flown him back from South Africa for Notts' last match of the season and Notts only discovered he was playing when the team lists were exchanged at the toss. Top of the table at the start of the match they promptly crumbled.


Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: Angell Face (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 22:28

Marcus had to get an over from someone but why he didn't call on Suppiah I'll never know. Bell would have had to have a real heave at Arul with the possibility of slight mishit going to a fielder on the long Lords boundaries. With Turner all he had to do was make contact and Turner's speed carried the ball over the boundary. I drove from Chester Le Street back to Norfolk the night before and then got the last train back from Liverpool St. after the 40 over final. The whisky bottle took a hit when I got home about 2o'clock.

Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: Kilmainham (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 22:37

The Warwicks final started at 3pm for some reason and the ground was not even half full. We were in a great position until we lost 7-23. But even so I thought when we got Maddy out we would/should still win. Not to be sadly.

The rain affected final was Surrey the following year which started at the normal time, Jos made 80 odd but then we dropped Hamilton-Brown on 0 and he went on to get 70 odd.

Re: Something to keep us going til Thursday
Posted by: Mike TA1 (IP Logged)
Date: 21 August, 2017 22:41

Not bowling the most economic bowler his full number of overs has been a problem in matches for a number of years. our future captains I hope will be different.

Think outside the box!!

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