The similarity starts for Jim Troughton and Will Rhodes as the latter follows the now Bears coach in opening his Captaincy tenure at Taunton.
On April 12, 2020, Will Rhodes’ Warwickshire captaincy will begin with a championship match against Somerset at Taunton.
It will be a tough opener for the new skipper – but the Bears have been here before.
On April 14, 2011, Jim Troughton’s Warwickshire captaincy began with a championship match against Somerset at Taunton – and the leadership started quite well. The Bears won by an innings and 382 runs.
Not a bad start for Troughton, who had taken over the captaincy from Ian Westwood who had just supervised the ‘Great Escape’ of 2010. Troughton was to lead the Bears to runners-up spot in 2011 and then the title in 2012.
It is seasons like that from which you build momentum and that’s what we did.Jim Troughton
And it all stemmed from that storming start in the unseasonable April sunshine in Somerset. The Bears’ biggest ever innings victory and the sixth biggest by anyone in the championship.
“I will certainly be using that as the bar for Will,” said Troughton, now first-team coach. “Anything less than that will be totally unsatisfactory…”
Varun Chopra and Chris Woakes led a performance of total dominance over Marcus Trescothick’s side. Put in, the Bears piled up 642 with Chopra scoring 210, supported in the top order by Will Porterfield (45), Darren Maddy (67) and Tim Ambrose (40). After Chopra’s sparkling innings ended, Woakes (129) and Ant Botha (64) heightened the home side’s misery with an aggressive eighth-wicket stand of 110.
Woakes then got busy with the ball. He took six for 85 as Somerset’s first innings amounted to just 210 and then, after the follow on was enforced, completed three wickets in four balls as Somerset stumbled to seven for four. The whole innings lasted just 14.4 overs – 50 all out: Woakes three for 16 and Rikki Clarke five for 19.
Not surprisingly, Troughton recalls the match well.
“We’d had a few batting collapses the previous season and when on the first morning we lost an early wicket I think a few people were thinking ‘here we go again,'” he said. “But we had just brought in Will Porterfield and he scored important runs on the first morning and then Chops scored a double century and Woakesy got a ton.
“Then Woakesy took nine in the match and suddenly we were all sitting there in the sunshine on the Saturday afternoon thinking ‘that went well.’
“I remember saying to the press ‘it can only go one way from here…’
“Actually, there are similarities between that year and this. In 2011 we had just had a really tough season the previous year and narrowly avoided relegation. A lot of people were looking at us as relegation fodder and Somerset had a strong side and were fancied to challenge hard.
“But we had stuck together through a tough year in 2010 and came through it, not only staying up but winning the Pro40. It is seasons like that from which you build momentum and that’s what we did. We went from strength to strength over the next couple of seasons.
“That’s what we are looking to do now. While last year was tough, the guys showed their mettle and stayed together brilliantly as a group and finished the season very strongly to really give us something to build on.”