Report: Somerset v Warwickshire, County Championship
Reigning County Champions Warwickshire suffered their first defeat of the season against Somerset at Taunton.
After starting with three successive defeats, Tom Abell’s side is well and truly up and running after securing victory by an innings and 82 runs.
They swiftly took Warwickshire’s last first innings wicket in the morning to secure a first innings lead of 249, then bowled them out for 167 second time round.
Jack Brooks led the way with four for 44 but it was a hugely impressive collective effort with all five bowlers used getting among the wickets and maintaining pressure on the batsmen.
Sam Hain (43, 116 balls) and Will Rhodes (29, 93 balls) added 68 in 30 overs but it was an isolated show of defiance in an innings in which two wickets fell within five balls on four occasions.
Warwickshire resumed on the third morning on 197 for nine and secured their first batting point in the first over but didn’t get much further. Davey teased a fatal nick from Olly Hannon-Dalby to finish with three for 40.
With the follow on enforced, Somerset’s bowlers were soon back out there with their tails up and reduced Warwickshire’s second innings to 21 for three in the 16th over. They were backed up by superb catching as Craig Overton took a blinder at third slip to remove Alex Davies off Davey and was then the happy bowler when Dom Sibley edged to Tom Abell at fourth slip. When Rob Yates top-edged a pull at Brooks, Tom Lammonby judged the catch perfectly at mid on.
Hain and Rhodes applied themselves valiantly before perishing in successive overs in mid-afternoon. Rhodes offered no shot to a ball from Jack Leach which turned sharply into his stumps. Five balls later, Hain lifted a leg-side delivery from Brooks straight to short fine leg where Overton had just been deployed for that very shot.
That plan having worked a treat, Somerset celebrated wildly as Brooks wheeled away to the mid-wicket boundary where he was joined by all his team mates. That got the crowd involved and, fuelled by their encouragement, Brooks added three more wickets in 17 balls. Michael Burgess and Danny Briggs edged to wicketkeeper Steven Davies and Nathan McAndrew sliced to Matt Renshaw at second slip.
Ther rout was rounded off shortly after tea by another two wickets in five balls. A superb grab at second slip by Renshaw disposed of Craig Miles off Overton then Lamb (40, 80 balls) missed a pull at Leach to end Somerset’s long wait for a championship victory.
Warwickshire are on the back foot at The Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton as Somerset hold a strong lead at the halfway stage.
Josh Davey, Craig Overton and Lewis Gregory each claimed two wickets, while Jack Brooks, Tom Abell and Jack Leach all weighed in with one apiece as Warwickshire, replying to the home side’s first-innings 458, reached the close on 197-9, still 261 behind and requiring a further 111 to avoid the follow-on.
Sam Hain bucked the trend with a battling innings of 54 and Nathan McAndrew made a bullish 47, these two adding 76 for the seventh wicket to frustrate the home side. But Somerset, who prop up the First Division table after losing their first three games of the season, are in the ascendant and, with rain forecast for Sunday, will surely seek to enforce the follow-on in the morning.
Somerset added a further 107 runs to their tally in the morning session, Tom Banton registering a half century, and Josh Davey, Jack Leach and Jack Brooks making useful lower-order runs, while Oliver Hannon-Dalby, the pick of Warwickshire’s bowlers, finished with 5-89 from 31.4 overs.
Enjoying the luxury afforded by a rare substantial first innings total, Somerset’s seam bowlers were given license to express themselves, and attacking fields were a constant feature of an afternoon session in which Warwickshire slumped to 92-6.
Jack Brooks set the tone in the eighth over, persuading Alex Davies to push hard at a ball outside off stump and edge to fourth slip where Craig Overton stooped to conquer. England batsman Dom Sibley departed soon afterwards, playing across the line and missing a ball that rapped him on the pads.
Despondency in the visitors’ camp took a firm hold when Davey removed Rob Yates, an inside edge looping up to Overton at fourth slip, while Lewis Gregory got in on the act, inducing Will Rhodes to scoop to mid-on, where Tom Lammonby took a fine catch on the run. Gregory made further in-roads, Matthew Lamb groping outside off stump and nicking to Matt Renshaw at second slip as the Bears subsided to 70-5, and things went from bad to worse for the visitors when, in the final over before tea, Michael Burgess pushed tentatively at a length ball from Overton and was caught at the wicket.
Somerset skipper Abell called the slow left arm of Leach in the final session, and the England spinner came up trumps, pinning Danny Briggs lbw for 13 as Warwickshire further subsided to 113-7. Fast running out of partners, Hain was initially alone in offering stout resistance, and the 26-year-old demonstrated sound temperament and technique in raising fifty from 112 balls, with 7 fours.
A hyperactive type, his penchant for fidgeting between deliveries broke the bowlers’ rhythm and, for much of the afternoon, he remained Warwickshire’s best hope of avoiding the follow-on.
Hain found support from an unlikely source, Australian hired hand McAndrew keeping him company in the early-evening sunshine and serving up a mixture of aggression and circumspection in an adhesive partnership that served to frustrate Somerset ambition. Crucially for the home side, both succumbed shortly before the close, Hain nicking a catch behind off Abell and McAndrew edging Overton to third slip, all but ending Warwickshire’s slim chances of averting the follow-on.
Resuming their first innings on 351-4 following their most productive day of the campaign so far with the bat, Somerset surpassed 400 for the first time this season. They nevertheless experienced a wobble reminiscent of those which so undermined their cause in previous defeats to Hampshire, Essex and Surrey, failing to collect the fifth and final bonus point that really ought to have been theirs for the taking at start of play.
Things began well enough, Banton violently pulling a short delivery from Hannon-Dalby to the boundary for his tenth four, in the process realising a 104-ball fifty. But having helped advance the fifth wicket partnership to 41, Steve Davies suffered a rush of blood to the head, pushing a ball from McAndrew into the off-side, setting off for a notional single and being comprehensively run out by Craig Miles’ lightning-quick pick-up and throw from point.That self-inflicted wound heralded a collapse in which a further three wickets fell in the space of four balls.
Banton elected to shoulder arms to one that nipped back and hit off stump and Overton went next ball, bowled through the gait to leave Miles on a hat-trick. Davey survived the hat-trick ball, but only after Gregory had been bowled between bat and pad by Hannon-Dalby in the previous over with the score on 373.Their hitherto smooth progress interrupted, Somerset had to settle for four bonus points, only for spirits to again be lifted thereafter, Leach and Davey serving up a sting in the tail in the form of a boundary-laden ninth wicket alliance of 44.
Davey had scored 18 and was seeking a fourth boundary when he miss-timed a pull shot and skied a catch behind off the bowling of Danny Briggs. Intent on wrapping things up, Warwickshire took the extra half hour, only to be confounded by further spirited lower-order resistance, last man Brooks timing the ball sweetly to collect a brace of sixes and 4 fours in an innings of 32 from 36 balls that proved a real irritant to last year’s Championship winners.
By the time Brooks carved Hannon-Dalby to Sibley at point, Leach had made an unbeaten 34 and the last wicket pair had added a valuable 41 runs to propel Somerset well and truly into credit. Of the bowlers, only Hannon-Dalby emerged with any real credit, the 32-year-old Yorkshireman maintaining a persistent line and length to keep his side in the hunt.
Matt Renshaw eased Somerset’s batting worries with a fluent century on the opening day of the LV= Insurance County Championship match with Warwickshire at Taunton.
The Australian Test player’s superb 129, featuring 19 fours and 2 sixes, paved the way for an imposing score of 351 for four. It was his fourth hundred in six home Championship appearances for Somerset – four of those games back in 2018.
Tom Lammonby contributed 56 to an opening stand of 137, while skipper Tom Abell made 70 as his side set about ending a run of seven successive Championship defeats, stretching back to last summer.
Oliver Hannon-Dalby was the pick of the Warwickshire attack, taking three for 62, but it was a largely out-of-sorts bowling display by the visitors after winning the toss.
With a short boundary on the town side of the Cooper Associates County Ground and a pitch showing only a tinge of green, Somerset appeared to have given their under-pressure batting unit every opportunity to find some form.
Renshaw and Lammonby played positively from the start, only Hannon-Dalby showing the necessary accuracy to contain them.
The two left-handers brought up a half-century stand in the 15th over and began to accelerate, Lammonby surviving a tough chance to gully on 28 off Craig Miles. Renshaw looked an even more complete player than in his first successful spell with Somerset and moved to fifty off 80 balls, with 8 fours and a pulled six off Miles.
He took the score past 100 with a sweet cover-drive of Danny Briggs. The slow left-armer was introduced from the River End to try and stem the flow of runs, but there was nothing in the pitch for him and by lunch Somerset were 130 without loss.
Lammonby had gone to his half-century off 76 balls, with a crisp on-driven four off Aussie seamer Nathan McAndrew, who was proving expensive on his Warwickshire debut. But Hannon-Dalby had given little away and the tall seamer made the breakthrough in the fifth over after lunch as Lammonby edged a defensive shot to Sam Hain at second slip.
Abell and Renshaw confidently built on what had gone before, the latter reaching a chanceless hundred off 158 balls. The shot that brought up Renshaw’s ton was among his best, a flowing back-foot forcing stroke through the off-side for a boundary off McAndrew.
Another six followed when Renshaw effortlessly lifted Briggs straight back over his head. Abell looked equally comfortable, with the ball rarely beating the bat.
The pair brought up the second century stand of the innings before tea, which was taken at 249 for two when Renshaw edged a seaming Hannon-Dalby delivery through to wicketkeeper Michael Burgess.
Abell had moved to a composed 92-ball fifty. The final session saw him joined by Tom Banton, who helped take the total to 277 before Abell was caught behind down the leg side pushing forward to occasional off-spinner Rob Yates.
It was 282 for three when the second new ball was taken. Banton greeted it with a glorious straight-driven four off Hannon-Dalby and looked in good touch, moving to 47 not out by the close.
James Hildreth was caught at point for 23, cutting a wide ball from Hannon-Dalby. But Somerset, without Peter Siddle because of a stomach strain, could still reflect on four hugely welcome batting points.
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