- Who are you, where do you live and how long have you supported Somerset?
Dan Kingdom. I moved to Woking in Surrey last year but I am hoping to come back to Taunton for as many games as possible in 2019.
I have supported Somerset since 2009.
- Overall how do you feel Somerset performed in 2018?
Much better than expected in County Championship and t20. It’s a shame that our 4-day campaign was derailed by the Lancashire tie but Surrey were too good anyway. Second is still an excellent achievement and exceeded my expectations.
We were pretty average in the RLODC which made it all the more surprising that we hugely exceeded expectations in t20 – it was the most fun I’ve had watching Somerset in that format since the days of Pollard and Buttler. The way we churned out home wins was clinical and there were some great away wins too – seeing us win at Hove in the last over was a personal highlight. Finals day was a disappointment but the players will learn from it.
- Who was your stand-out performer on the field during the season?
In the Championship, probably James Hildreth for scoring 1000 runs but he wasn’t head and shoulders above the rest, which shows that pretty much everyone contributed to the team’s success.
In One Day cricket there is only one option – Lewis Gregory. His bowling was decent but his batting was an absolute revelation. In t20 cricket, to average 47 with a strike-rate of 202 is remarkable.
- What will be your stand-out memory of last season and why?
Ignoring the result I will never forget the tie with Lancashire. I saw both days live and it was the most ridiculous game of cricket I’ve ever seen.
In terms of actual Somerset wins a few stand out – beating Notts and Essex at home were both times when I really thought we had a chance of winning the Championship. The t20 wins at Lord’s and Hove were great days out.
Oh and who can forget Johann Myburgh’s 42-ball century against Essex?
- Are you happy with our preparations building up to 2019 (recruitment, preseason, etc.)
Jack Brooks is a good signing who will add quality depth to our attack. It’s a shame we don’t have Matt Renshaw back but Azhar Ali should give us stability. Jerome Taylor and a second overseas player will give us another good chance of winning the Blast.
The Abu Dhabi tour seems to be going well and hopefully we can hit the ground running like we did last season. Hurry and Kerr know what they’re doing.
- How do you think we will perform in 2019:
- Specsavers County Championship (can Surrey be caught?)
Somerset have been alternating between good and bad years in this competition for a while now and annoyingly we’re due a bad one! However, hopefully this time will be different because if we pick up where we left off there’s no reason we can’t win it.
- Royal London One Day Cup
Always difficult to predict as there are so few group games. We’re usually solid enough in 50 over cricket so the knockout stages will be in our sights.
- NatWest T20 Blast
The team will be similar to last year so if everything clicks again there’s no reason we can’t reach Finals Day. From there it’s a lottery as we all know.
- Who do you expect to be our most important player in 2019?
In the Championship, Azhar Ali. If he plays for the whole season and averages at least 40 at number 3 we will have had a good year, I think.
Lewis Gregory in One Day cricket. I think a move up the order in at least t20 will give us an extra edge – the top 3 was our weak spot last year.
- Who is the young player you think can develop into a key player in the new season?
I think Tom Banton will have a clear run at the opening spot in 50 over and t20 cricket, and perhaps even 4-day cricket too (although there are several candidates to open with Tres). He has shown glimpses and he’s still very young but he might start making a real impact this year. I think George Bartlett can develop into a very good top 3 batsman, too.
- Are you looking forward to watching Somerset under floodlights?
Can’t wait. The atmosphere will be amazing and they will bring huge benefits for Somerset’s cricket and economy.
- In general what is your main hope for the 2019 season for Somerset?
A trophy and our youngsters to keep improving. And Somerset to lead the fight against the Hundred (wishful thinking I know).