Somerset 169 & 30-0 (19 points) beat Kent 139 and 59 (3 points) by 10 wickets
Somerset defied the rain and the odds to beat Kent in the most spectacular fashion on day 4 of this Specsavers County Championship Division One game at Canterbury.
Having lost day’s 1 and 3 to rain, and 33 overs of day 4, the two teams eventually strolled out onto the field of play at 1.45 p.m., and I doubt even the most staunch Somerset supporter could have predicted what was about to happen next.
Kent resumed on 24-2 still 6 runs behind Somerset, and had progressed to a lead of 2 runs when Jack Brooks pegged back Harry Podmore, and this was the start of an incredible assault where the visitors seized the final eight Kent wickets for just 35 runs inside 46 minutes. The home team’s total of 59 is the lowest in the County Championship this season.
The star was once again Lewis Gregory, whose 5 for 21 from 13.1 overs handed him career-best match figures of 11 for 53, and he has now taken 35 wickets in the Championship this season at 11.28. He cements his place at the top of the averages in the four-day game and is the outstanding pace-bowler in the domestic game at the moment, with the only other two bowlers to take 30 wickets or more so far this season being spinners, namely Warwickshire’s New Zealander Jeetan Patel (35) and Essex’s South African Simon Harmer (30).
Gregory was ably supported by Craig Overton, who helped himself to 3 for 7, and his 27 wickets to date in this campaign at 16.8 are impressive too. He had to leave the field of play twice on day 2 so it was good to see him back and bowling so well.
You can be sure that both players are now being watched closely by the England selectors if they weren’t before.
So Somerset needed 30 runs to record a fifth win in six games in Division One this season. Skipper Tom Abell opened and dispatched Podmore’s first over for 13. In the end his 15 runs and Azhar Ali’s 13 saw Somerset home in 6.4 overs as they moved 26 points clear of second-placed Hampshire. In all the game was done and dusted inside just four sessions. A remarkable game.
Was this the day that Somerset stamped their mark on this year’s Championship and became serious contenders? There is a long way to go yet, of course, but it certainly looks like the forces upstairs are smiling down on us at the moment. Long may that continue.
The boys now have a well-deserved 10 days off and can feel happy in the knowledge that they will still be top of the table when they start their game against Essex at Chelmsford on 23rd June, even if Hampshire take maximum points in their game against the same opposition on the same ground starting Sunday. What a marvellous thought.