If you think back to June last year and Somerset’s agonising loss to Yorkshire at Taunton it is not difficult to say that that was the result which led to the rest of the season being a struggle against relegation. Similarly, in 2016 the one wicket win over Surrey in late May which ignited the title challenge.
The draw against Lancashire last weekend might well be looked back on with similar significance at the end of the current season.
While it was only a draw I believe the squad found in itself something intangible that is going to stand us in very good stead over the next four months. Something that makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts. The hard work done over the winter and the culture that Andy Hurry and Jason Kerr are fostering allied to the ability we all knew the squad had before a ball was bowled makes this a very formidable Somerset side, certainly one worthy of competing for that coveted title.
It would have been all too easy after conceding a first innings despite posting over 400, after virtually 5 sessions in the field and without the leader of the batting group to capitulate in conditions that were helpful to the bowling side. But Somerset found the inner strength to deny Lancashire and walk away with a very honourable draw. For Lancashire it will be a draw that feels like defeat and will probably leave them wondering what they had to do to bowl Somerset out a second time.
Further, the sight of Marcus padded up and ready to bat if required, would have sent a message through the dressing room, through the supporters and most importantly to the rest of the division that this Somerset side is made of the right stuff.
There are so many positives already that are very encouraging, consistent runs in the top order in at times difficult batting conditions bodes well as the summer progresses. The bowling attack has shown that on its day it can blow the best sides away and yet there is still more to come especially as England’s two best finger spinners haven’t had much opportunity yet. Tom Abell’s emergence as a more than capable fourth seamer, the century from George Bartlett and Matt Renshaw’s great start have all exceeded expectations.
Make no mistake the rest of Division One will be aware that this Somerset side are a real threat, a team that will compete to the very last and have the talent to outperform most sides in the division. The key is to continue to put this together week in week out something that will be aided by the strength in depth the squad possesses.
Winning is important, bonus points important but at the end of the season a couple of tough hard-fought draws might make all the difference. And make no bones, the result at Old Trafford certainly was one of those.
There’s a long way to got but we’ve got every reason at the moment to #daretodream.