Report: Warwickshire v Somerset, County Championship
Warwickshire finished fourth in the LV= Insurance County Championship Division One after their game at Edgbaston against Somerset ended in the expected rain-ruined draw.
To the bemusement of the spectators, sitting in sunshine which had bathed the ground since dawn, play was called off for the final day – and the match abandoned – just after lunch when the umpires ruled that areas of the field remained unsafe.
That scuppered any hopes those spectators had of some entertainment on their last visit to Edgbaston until April 2024. Somerset’s second innings remains forever frozen on 90 for two and a match which had been dogged by bad weather throughout was finally laid to rest.
Ed Barnard’s effectiveness with bat and ball maintained Warwickshire’s hopes of victory over Somerset as this end-of-season, mid-table LV=Insurance County Championship clash meandered along under leaden skies at Edgbaston.
At the end of a third successive heavily weather-affected day, Somerset were 90 for two in their second innings, 32 ahead, after bowling the home side out for 273. Josh Davey took three for 62 and Neil Wagner three for 67 but Barnard’s skilful and patient 73 (144 balls) maintained his excellent late-season form and gave his side a handy first innings lead of 58. Barnard then took both wickets as Somerset ground their way in front.
Rain and bad light have chopped 125 overs from days one to three but, with better weather forecast for the fourth, a decisive result remains possible. Quick wickets could herald a Warwickshire victory bid, or the captains could simply agree a target overnight.
After Warwickshire resumed the third morning on 112 for three, Davey struck with the fourth ball which Dan Mousley edged low to Andy Umeed at second slip. Alex Davies (44, 98 balls) fell lbw to Jack Brooks and when Michael Burgess edged Wagner behind, the home side was 147 for six, still 68 behind. Somerset sensed a lead.
Barnard had set down roots, though, and received obdurate support from the in-form Danny Briggs. Confident after his 99 at Lord’s last week, the former Hampshire and Sussex player contributed 38 (68 balls) to a stand of 93 in 25 overs which moved Warwickshire in front.
Briggs scooped Wagner to long leg and Craig Miles gloved the New Zealand international behind before Barnard’s excellent innings was terminated by a skied attempt to hoist Davey straight.
The Worcestershire product had ensured Warwickshire a handy first innings lead, though, and Somerset faced an awkward 15 overs batting before tea. Openers Tom Lammonby and Sean Dickson made 39 from the first 14 before the former clipped Barnard to short mid-wicket in the final over of the session.
Barnard’s happy day continued when Lewis Goldsworthy feathered a pull to wicketkeeper Burgess. Still eight runs behind with two wickets down, Somerset needed ballast and Sean Dickson (36 not out) and Andy Umeed (20 not out) supplied it with an important unbroken stand of 40 in 12 overs. Dickson’s two-hours of resistance, in which he struck just three of 84 balls faced to the boundary, was exactly what his team needed in the circumstances.
Warwickshire all-rounder Ed Barnard said: “I don’t know if maybe the captains will have a word tomorrow but with the positions both teams are in it could just be quite a slow day tomorrow. We’ll just go out there tomorrow and try to take a few wickets and make things happen and see what we can do.
“Quite a lot of pace came out of the pitch so it is quite hard to score at times but they bowled really well in the first hour this morning to put us under some pressure. It was nice for me to bat some time with some of the lads down the order and get some runs. Briggsy came out and played beautifully again, just following on from his runs at Lord’s last week, and it was nice to put some runs on with him.
“I have enjoyed the last few weeks and it does feel a little bit like I don’t want the season to end. There was a bit of settling in to the first half of the season but I think I have grown into my role and I’ve been pleased with how I’ve played in the second half of the season and hopefully will take that form into next year.”
Warwickshire endured a frustrating afternoon at Edgbaston as rain and bad light disrupted their ambition to win three games in a row.
To the 35 overs lost on day one, another 36 were wiped out on day two which ended with Warwickshire on 112 for three in reply to the visitors’ 215.
Somerset were lifted to 215 by a century stand for the ninth wicket between New Zealand all-rounder Wagner (72 from 78 balls) and Josh Davey (46, 80). It is still a modest total but represents a strong recovery from the wreckage of 37 for six. Chris Rushworth took five for 47 – the 32nd haul of five or more wickets of his career.
Warwickshire captain Will Rhodes (42, 90 balls) then kept his side’s reply from early ruin in this mid-table duel which may still yield a decisive result. Both sides have nothing to lose so might as well take a positive approach to the season’s dying embers.
After Somerset resumed on the second morning on 180 for eight, Wagner and Davey continued to bat with few alarms. They took their alliance to 119 in 25 overs before being parted in controversial fashion. Wagner, having hit 11 fours and two sixes and just passed his previous career best (70), was aghast to be adjudged caught behind off Olly Hannon-Dalby, evidently thinking the ball had clipped either pad or stumps. His sense of injustice only heightened when the innings was wrapped up next ball as Davey skied Rushworth to long off.
Warwickshire’s reply started badly when Kraigg Brathwaite’s run of ever-diminishing returns – 16, 9, 9, 8, 3, 0 – continued when his off-stump was plucked out by Lewis Gregory. Brathwaite fell in a brilliant first over by Gregory which could have brought a wicket every ball, but Rob Yates and Rhodes survived to add 53 in 16 overs before the former edged a Jack Brooks outswinger to wicketkeeper James Rew.
The light, perpetually moderate, closed in even further after lunch and Rhodes and Alex Davies survived for an hour in conditions of unremitting munge – low cloud, impending rain, floodlights on – before the umpires took the players off.
Rhodes lifted Davey to extra cover in one of the two slivers of play that followed before the light closed in for the final time. Only Wagner will recall this staccato day – unless the small crowd happened to include a connoisseur of watching covers being taken on and off – in which case, he or she had a treat because they were taken on and off with great speed and efficiency and considerable flair.
Warwickshire captain Will Rhodes said (of Rushworth and Hannon-Dalby who have each passed 50 wickets in the season): “We have lost a lot of overs in the game which is frustrating but we are 100 behind and if we have two good sessions tomorrow we could be in a really good position. The wicket is pretty flat, with no real demons in it until the new ball, and we have the players who can cash in and hopefully go past them and get us a lead.
“It is an unbelievable effort from Rushy and Olly this season. Those two guys have been fantastic all year, I think they have missed one championship game each and Olly played a full one-day competition as well, and to get through all those games in their mid-to-late thirties and get 50 wickets is a serious effort.
“Chris has been a brilliant addition to our squad and Olly is just getting better with age, It is great to see that we have got a formidable opening bowling attack and one you can rely on to put the opposition under pressure right at the start.”
Somerset were bailed out by their lower order after choosing to bat against Warwickshire on the opening day of their LV=Insurance County Championship game at Edgbaston.
After rain wiped out the first session, the visitors plummeted to 37 for six against a disciplined seam-attack led by the evergreen Chris Rushworth (four for 33).
But captain Tom Abell (22, 84 balls) and Lewis Gregory (39, 48) added 56 for the seventh wicket and, after they perished with the total still short of 100, Neil Wagner (55 not out, 50) and Josh Davbey (28 not out, 53) added an unbroken 84.
The comfort with which the ninth-wicket pair scored their runs must have embarrassed their top order colleagues. It also suggests that, on a good batting pitch, despite Somerset’s recovery, Warwickshire remain strongly placed.
Chris Rushworth and Olly Hannon-Dalby started this match with 100 championship wickets between them this season and took just seven overs to lift that tally to 103. Tom Lammonby offered no shot to a straight ball from Rushworth who also had Lewis Goldsworthy taken at first slip by Rob Yates. Sean Dickson fell lbw to a Hannon-Dalby in-ducker.
Both change bowlers then struck in their first over as Andy Umeed edged Ed Barnard to Will Rhodes at second slip and James Rew was caught in two minds on a pull shot and top-edged a return catch to Craig Miles.
When Barnard changed ends, he took just one ball to cause further damage. This time it was Tom Banton’s turn to press the self-destruct button when he left a ball that knocked out off-stump. At 37 for six, Somerset were in danger of recording a new championship low against Warwickshire, surpassing their 50 all out at Edgbaston in 1951 and Taunton in 2011.
That was avoided after Abell, who had already dug in deep, found some support from Gregory, whose forceful 39 included eight fours before he lifted Rushworth to extra cover. The former Durham seamer quickly added his 655th first class wicket when Abell edged to wicketkeeper Michael Burgess. That was 96 for eight but Wagner and Davey batted with freedom to post a half-century stand in 69 balls.
Wagner reached a fluent 47-ball fifty with four hammered through the covers off Will Rhodes and the pair remained intact overnight and ready to push on in the morning to challenge Somerset’s record ninth-wicket stand against Warwickshire – 180 by Steven Davies and Jamie Overton at Edgbaston in 2020.
Warwickshire bowler Chris Rushworth (who was capped before play) said “If you had offered us 180 for eight at the start of the day, we would have taken it, but when you have a team 96 for eight you have got to be looking to polish them off for 120 or 130. But fair play to the guys that are in there now, they put on a good partnership and played some aggressive cricket. We have just got to turn up strong tomorrow and hit out straps first thing in the morning.
“We felt it was a pretty good pitch so when we had them 50 for five, we felt we were well ahead of the game, but their lower order showed that, once you get in, it’s actually a good picth to bat on.
“It is a very proud day for me and to get the white bear and also to pass the 50-wicket for the season mark made it a really good day personally but its all about what’s ahead for the team in this game.”
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