Devon 172 (N J Roberts 38, M J L Kidd 49, B G Huxtable 27; C A J Meschede 3-23) & 98 (M H Curtis 58; M J Leach 4-16, J Overton 3-20), Somerset 208 (J A Regan 79, A J Dibble 27; J V King 6-31) & 63-2 (T Abell 26no, J A Regan 26; M C Golding 2-4). Somerset 2nd XI beat Devon by 8 wickets.
A young Devon Lions side put up a good fight against Somerset Seconds last week in a friendly at Taunton Vale.
Ultimately the more experienced Somerset team proved too strong, but Devon can take a lot of positives from the way their youngsters performed against the toughest opposition they have faced to date.
Somerset had the Lions reeling at 63-8 on the first day as Craig Meschede took 3-23 to remove the middle order and Adam Dibble 2-43 including two of the top three. In all there were three ducks in the Devon top six, only Barney Huxtable showing any resistance, occupying the crease for more than an hour to make 27.
Devon Lions were indebted to a strong fightback from two tailenders Nathan Roberts (38) and Matt Kidd (49) who put on 58 for the ninth wicket and helped their side post an all-out score of 172 off 43.1 overs.
The other Somerset wicket takers were Overton (1-16), Callum Stewart (1-5) and Academy youngster Ollie Sale (1-26).
Somerset Seconds got off to a strong start, James Regan (79) and Tom Abell (42) putting on an opening stand of 92. Thereafter though, they struggled as Josh King ran through the batting order taking 6-31, only Dibble (27), Meschede (22) and Benjamin Ladd-Gibbon (15*) reaching double figures. Somerset were all out for 208 in 63.5 overs, a lead of just 30 runs at the half-way stage.
But Somerset soon regained the initiative as their bowlers proved too strong when Devon batted again. The visitors were dismissed for just 98 in 40.1 overs second time around.
Max Curtis batted bravely for over two-and-a-half hours for an unbeaten 53 off 108 balls, but with Jack Leach taking 4-16, Jamie Overton 3-20, Dibble 2-14 and Meschede 1-28, no other batsman scored more than 10.
Set the small target of 63 to win, Abell (26*) and Regan got off to a flyer, putting on an opening stand of 59 inside 45 minutes to take their side to the brink of victory when Regan was caught for 26. With Jack Leach falling first ball, Somerset were 59-2, but with only four runs required to win, Meschede came to wicket and hit a boundary to win the match for Somerset by eight wickets.
Tim Western, the Lions’ director of coaching took a lot of encouragement from the way his side performed and said the way they played proved the benefits of exposure to longer forms of the game.
Tim told the official Devon cricket website: “We were 63 for eight in our first innings so to get to 172 all out was a good fight back by us.
“Somerset had a strong bowling attack – Adam Dibble, Craig Meschede and Jamie Overton – which is some serious firepower.
“Nathan Roberts (38) and Matt Kidd (49) batted really well for us at the end to get a decent total on the board.
“The fact we had Somerset eight wickets down at the end of the first day tells you how well be bowled. Josh King took six for 31 and his scalps included some good First Class names. He was on a hat-trick at one stage.
“I asked league clubs at the start of the season to put forward players they thought had the potential to play higher and Josh is one of those. It is very pleasing to see the clubs buying into what we are trying to achieve.
“Somerset were the strongest team I have seen us play since we started the Lions project four years ago.
“Talking to the guys who already play regular Minors cricket – Matt Thompson and Matt Golding – they reckoned it was a lot stronger.
“We did well to keep them out there for 63 overs making 202 all out, which was down to good bowling and some astute field setting by Matt Thompson as captain.
“The pitch was doing a bit by the time we batted again and against a strong attack it was a challenge, but that is what we play these games for.
“Max Curtis batted superbly for his 58, against five bowlers with First Class experience.”
Somerset 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.
Somerset Second XI: T B Abell*, J A Regan+, M J Leach, C A J Meschede, B L Walden (triallist), A J Dibble, J M E Barrs (Exeter Uni), O R T Sale (Academy), J Overton , B I W Ladd- Gibbon (triallist), C M Stewart.
Devon Lions: BJ Stein, BG Huxtable, MH Curtis, WJ Sobczak, MW Thompson*+, MC Golding, SJR Wyatt-Haines, JV King, NJ Roberts, MJL Kidd, WD Squire, JP Richardson
Scorecard: http: www.totalcricketscorer.com/TCSLive/TCSScorecard.aspx?id=25372