Second XI Championship – Northamptonshire Second XI v Somerset Second XI – Campbell Park, Milton Keynes, July 8-10, 2014
Somerset Second XI (Leach 43 not out, Waller 36, Dibble 30, Chambers 3-40) and 392-6 declared (Regan 124 not out, Waller 68, Davey 52, Brand 36 not out, Abell 30) drew with Northamptonshire Second XI 264-9 declared (Rossington 107, White 41, Groenewald 3-51, J Overton 3-70).
Northamptonshire: 12 points, Somerset: 10 points
James Regan scored a four-and-a-half-hour century lastThursday for the second time this season to help secure a draw for Somerset’s Second XI on the final day of a championship match.
Facing Northamptonshire at Milton Keynes, Regan batted for much of the day, facing 203 balls, stroking 16 boundaries and providing the backbone of the innings just as he had done against Essex two few weeks ago.
In the final session, he shared an unbroken 108-run partnership for the seventh wicket with 17-year-old Kings College student Neil Brand to see their side to safety.
There had been a different story in Somerset’s first innings where no batsman really got going. Only Jack Leach with 43 not out, skipper Max Waller with 36 and Adam Dibble with 30 made any sizeable contribution, as wickets fell at frequent intervals.
Wickets were shared among the home side bowlers, Maurice Chambers taking 3-40 and former Somerset paceman Gemaal Hussain picking up two wickets.
Northants’ innings followed a similar pattern; with several players getting starts, but not going onto make it count. Unlike Somerset though, one player, wicket-keeper and number three batsman Adam Rossington, did build an innings, making a fine 107 off 154 balls with 15 fours and three sixes.
Northants were 149-4 when he was dismissed. Rossington had made all but 42 of those runs.
Rossington found support from Kyle Coetzer who made 30. Later some big hitting from skipper Graeme White (41) helped Northants establish a first-innings lead. With the score on 264-9, White declared 70 runs ahead to try to set up a result.
Somerset’s bowling figures were: Groenewald 16-3-51-3, J Overton 18-1-70-3, Stewart 8-0-37-0, Dibble 5-0-26-0, Leach 9-2-32-2, Burke 8-3-16-1, Waller 2-0-17-0.
Somerset wiped out the deficit by the second evening, thanks to an opening partnership of 83 between Waller and Abell (30). Waller made an excellent 68 off 103 balls with nine fours.
At the close on day two, Somerset had reached 137-2, just 67 ahead, with Josh Davey and Academy youngster Sam Wyatt-Haines unbeaten at the crease.
On the third morning, the pair extended their partnership to 49 before Wyatt-Haines was caught by White off Chambers for 19 and Somerset were 155-3. The youngster had batted for over an hour and a half and faced 86 balls. Like Brand, he looks a good prospect for the future.
Davey was joined by Regan and the pair put on 38 before Davey was caught behind off Hussain for 52 (101 balls, seven fours, one six) with the score on 193-4.
Then James Burke joined Regan and the pair added a further 34 before Burke retired hurt, the score on 227-4.
Regan and Leach put on 57 before the Somerset spinner was caught behind for 18 with the score on 284-5.
And it was soon 284-6 as Burke resumed his innings and was immediately dismissed for 26. A few more wickets and Northants may have been tempted to have a dart for a T20 style victory.
But Brand joined Regan and the pair put on an unbroken 108-run partnership for the seventh wicket to ensure the match ended safely in a draw.
Regan is becoming a past master of this kind of tense last-day finish. Two weeks ago at Bishop’s Stortford, he scored an unbeaten 105, also spending four and a half hours at the crease to ensure a draw. With a series of mature innings like this behind him and good form in the one-day stuff, how soon before he’s knocking at the door of the first XI?
Somerset took 10 points from this game and Northants took 12.
The Seconds are next in action away in the 50-over Trophy competition against the Unicorns at Sidmouth on Thursday 24 July, starting at 12 noon.
Their next three-day championship match is against Marylebone Cricket Club Universities at Taunton from July 29-31.
We’ll include a full report of both games on the InCider.
(In the Second XI Championship, teams can select 12 players, but only 11 of them can bat and 11 can field, so for Somerset, Callum Stewart bowled & fielded, but did not bat, and for Northamptonshire, Ishwarjot Sohi bowled and fielded, but did not bat).
Somerset 2nd XI: Abell, Waller, Wyatt-Haines, Davey, Regan, Burke, Leach, Brand, Dibble, Groenewald, J Overton, Stewart
Northants 2nd XI: Howgego, Macdonnel, Rossington, Patternott, Coetzer, Zaib, Carter, White, Chambers, Hussain, Taylor, Sohi
Second XI Championship table: