Somerset wrapped up a 169-run victory over Warwickshire at Edgbaston to give a huge boost to their bid for Specsavers County Championship Division One survival.
Chasing 402 for victory, the home side was bowled out for 232 to suffer their seventh defeat in 11 championship games and one which effectively seals their relegation after nine seasons in the top flight.
Somerset, meanwhile, will face Lancashire at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton, next week with momentum high as they strive to reel in one of the sides above them over the final three games.
Warwickshire will face Essex at Edgbaston next week with the prospect of having their relegation sealed while the visitors celebrate clinching the title in the adjacent dressing-room.
Somerset’s march towards victory on the final day was delayed by rain which prevented play before lunch, with the loss of 21 overs, but then, much to the visitors relief, the sun came out.
After Warwickshire resumed at 12.30pm on 172 for six they added just 12 before Craig Overton nipped one back inside Tim Ambrose’s defence to dismiss him lbw for 21.
Jeetan Patel and Chris Wright added 35 before the latter was bowled by a swinging yorker from Tim Groenewald – although the spinners enjoyed themselves in this match on a turning track it was perhaps the work of Somerset seamers Groenewald and Overton that was most impressive.
Former Warwickshire player Groenewald completed a well-deserved five-for (ending with five for 58) when Patel (42, 71 balls, six fours) lifted to point and Dom Bess completed the most emphatic of victories when he knocked out Sunny Singh’s off-stump.
Somerset advanced to the brink of a potentially priceless Specsavers County Championship victory over Warwickshire on the third day of the relegation battle at Edgbaston.
Set a highly unlikely victory target of 402 on a wearing pitch, the home side closed the day on 172 for six.
Former Warwickshire seam-bowler Tim Groenewald shunted his former team-mates towards the trapdoor with three wickets, a highly impressive effort on a pitch offering little help to the seamers. When Warwickshire dipped to 51 for three in mid-afternoon, a three-day defeat beckoned.
Jonathan Trott dug in for 74 (158 balls, nine fours) but his departure in the closing minutes of the day left Somerset on the threshold of a win which will galvanise their survival bid.
Resuming their second innings at 75 for two, already 211 ahead, on the third morning, Somerset batted in largely untroubled fashion into the afternoon session before declaring on 265 for four. Marcus Trescothick remained unbeaten on 119 (205 balls, 15 fours) – his 65th first-class century and only his second in the championship this season.
Trescothick added 148 in 40 overs with James Hildreth (68, 100 balls, eight fours) and, after Hildreth edged to slip to provide Matt Lamb with his maiden first-class wicket, 100 in 17 overs with Tom Abell.
Abell struck an aggressive 51 (48 balls, seven fours) before declaring the innings when he was bowled by Ryan Sidebottom, leaving the young seamer with three for 69.
Groenewald then removed both openers in his second over, the eighth of the innings. Dominic Sibley edged to wicketkeeper Davies and Andy Umeed was too late leaving a ball and steered it to slip. When Jack Leach added the wicket of Ian Bell, bowled through the gate by an arm-ball for 24 (36 balls), the Bears fans braced themselves for the sort of collapse which has plagued their season.
But Lamb (23, 89 balls) knuckled down for the second time in the match to help Trott add 66 in 27 overs before edging a fine Groenewald outswinger to Davies. Trott reached 50 for the 128th time in first-class cricket but fell lbw to Dom Bess ten minutes before the close and when Keith Barker perished the same way two balls later, the fat lady prepared to warble regarding Warwickshire’s Division One status.
The fire in Somerset’s quest for First Division survival still burns strong as they seized control against Warwickshire on the second day of their Specsavers County Championship relegation battle at Edgbaston.
After their defeat to Essex last week, the west country side was castigated by their own director of cricket as looking “resigned to relegation.”
They have responded by dominating a Warwickshire team whose own prospects of remaining in Division One hang by the slenderest of threads after yet another batting collapse.
After Tom Abell’s excellent 82 (144 balls, nine fours, one six) lifted Somerset to 282, despite 21-year-old spinner Sunny Singh’s five for 72, Warwickshire folded all out for 146 against Jack Leach (five for 50) and Craig Overton (four for 33).
Prolonged resistance for the brittle Bears came only from Keith Barker whose 52 (119 balls) took him past 500 championship runs this season – only the second Warwickshire player to pass that milestone.
At the close, Somerset were 75 for two – 211 ahead overall – and well-placed to press for a victory which would keep them very much alive, while condemning Warwickshire to the drop.
After Somerset resumed on the second morning on 203 for four, Abell and Steven Davies took their partnership to 85 before Davies (46, 119 balls) bat-padded Jeetan Patel to silly point.
Patel then had Peter Trego caught at leg-slip and Leach taken at slip while Singh bowled Overton and had Dominic Bess caught behind before rounding off the innings by bowling Abell who charged and missed.
Overton then had Warwickshire openers Andy Umeed and Dominic Sibley caught in the slips either side of lunch before Leach took wickets in three successive overs.
Ian Bell edged a good ball to slip, but Jonathan Trott and Tim Ambrose perished loosely, lifting catches to cover and point respectively, and Matt Lamb departed in similar fashion, albeit after helping Barker add 53 in 16 overs.
Patel was bowled through the gate by Bess and though Barker and Chris Wright added 49 in 22 overs, after Barker fell lbw to Overton the last three wickets fell for just one run in 18 balls.
Somerset’s second innings encountered a jolt at 17 when brisk, straight offerings from Ryan Sidebottom dismissed Edward Byrom and George Bartlett with successive balls. But Marcus Trescothick and James Hildreth added an unbroken 58 up to stumps to leave Somerset in a mighty position.
Joie de vivre was in short supply at Edgbaston as Somerset accumulated 203 for four against Warwickshire on a rain-affected first day of their Specsavers County Championship relegation dogfight at Edgbaston.
These two teams occupy the Division One relegation places and began this match knowing that defeat would pretty much consign them to remaining there.
On an opening day stripped of 40 overs by rain, and played largely beneath a canopy of glowering cloud, neither side played with sufficient conviction to dominate – though Somerset probably ended the day the more pleased with their position.
Having endured numerous batting nightmares this season, the visitors showed some resilience on a used pitch which offered turn. At 131 for four, they looked vulnerable but Tom Abell (38 not out, 78 balls) and Steven Davies (39 not out, 97 balls) added an unbroken 72 to build a position from which their side will look to construct a total which imposes pressure on the equally brittle Warwickshire batting.
After rain prevented play before lunch, Somerset got off to a flier as openers Marcus Trescothick and Edward Byrom passed 50 in the ninth over. But the next over brought the breakthrough when Trescothick (28, 32 balls) edged an attempted cut at Jeetan Patel to wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose.
After another rain break, 19-year-old championship debutant George Bartlett’s first championship runs arrived, curiously, from a reverse-swept four, he added only four more before being bowled by a good ball by Ryan Sidebottom.
Byrom (43, 67 balls) saw his side to the brink of tea but then fell to an ill-judged reverse-sweep at Sunny Singh which ended in the hands of Jonathan Trott at slip.
A nicely-flighted ball from Singh dismissed James Hildreth (33, 55 balls) after tea but the Bears’ two spinners were seen off by Davies and Abell under grey skies inside a stadium which, it would be fair to say, was not rocking in quite the same fashion as it was for NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day 72 hours earlier.