Somerset 250 (Hildreth 41, C Overton 41; Morris 5-71) and 90 (Hildreth 35; Shantry 4-15, Morris 4-38); lost to Worcestershire 402 (Cox 109, Leach 95, Gidman 78; Thomas 4-81, Trego 3-78) by an innings and 62 runs.
A “shell-shocked” Marcus Trescothick admitted his side’s performances had not been good enough after Somerset slumped to their third successive County Championship defeat of the season today.
Trescothick was speaking after Somerset had been blown away for just 90 runs in little over a session in their second innings to hand Worcestershire a crushing victory by an innings and 62 runs.
Somerset began their season by losing to Durham and Middlesex from positions of strength after batting collapses gave away hard-won advantages on day one. In this game, their bowlers had Worcestershire at 135-5, 115 runs behind on first innings, before a sparkling century from ‘keeper Ben Cox transformed the game and carved out a commanding lead.
“I’m a little bit shell-shocked,” Trescothick told BBC Somerset.
“We haven’t performed anywhere near the level we expect as a team. We’ve been slightly off the boil.”
“We’ve got some soul-searching to do,” said the Somerset captain. “We can’t carry on in this vain because it’s just not good enough.
“I don’t think I’ve ever lost three on the bounce in a championship season. It’s new territory for us to think how we’re going to recover from this point.
“There are areas for us in quite a few departments we can improve upon. These situations can turn around pretty quickly. This is where your team unity and all the work you do behind the scenes has to come forward.
“At the end of the day, it’s about players putting their hands up and putting performances in. That’s the challenge for all of us going forward.”
While Somerset we’re not expected to win this game after conceding a 152-run lead yesterday, the manner of today’s defeat has reignited serious questions about the batsmen’s application as well as wider concerns over a lack of strength in depth, particularly in the batting department.
Perhaps most disappointing today was the absence of any fight – James Hildreth excepted – with several players getting out to lose, attacking shots better suited to a one-day game, just as they had in the first innings.
Changes are now almost certain to be made to the squad for this weekend’s tour game against New Zealand with members of the Second XI given a chance to press their case, although options for more widespread change are limited.
Somerset began their second innings this morning, knowing they effectively had to bat for the best part of two days to secure a draw. In the event they only managed to survive until shortly after lunch.
They had the worst possible start when their first innings nemesis Charlie Morris bowled Trescothick – who had gone into this match off the back of scores of 140 and 76 – off the second ball of the day for 0.
Morris struck again when he had Myburgh caught by Cox who dived to his right to take the chance, to reduce Somerset to 13-2.
In his next over Morris got some late movement to bowl Tom Cooper for 7 and when Ben Leach bowled Jim Allenby, looking to drive for 1, Somerset were 17-4. The carnage continued when Alex Barrow was caught by Alex Gidman off Leach without scoring. By this stage half of the Somerset side were back in the pavilion with the total an eye-watering 19-5 in less than 12 overs.
Pete Trego joined James Hildreth and started to play his shots from the off. The all-rounder hit two boundaries before he skied Morris to deep mid-wicket where Sachithra Senanyake took a difficult catch which saw Somerset 36-6.
Hildreth took three off Jack Shantry to see up the Somerset 50 in the 20th over and along with new batsman Lewis Gregory the seventh wicket pair looked to set to make it to lunch without any further scares.
However Gregory pushed forward to the first ball of the final over before the break bowled by Shantry and was caught by Cox for 14 and Somerset went to into lunch at 74-7 off 27.1 overs.
Hildreth added four to his score after the break, but on 35 he was lbw to Shantry reducing Somerset still further to 87-7.
Shantry struck with the first ball of his next over when he had Craig Overton adjudged leg before pushing forward and the same bowler wrapped things up when he had Alfonso Thomas caught at mid-on by Leach.
Shantry ended with 4-15 while Morris took 4-38, giving him match figures of 9-109, a career best.
Worcestershire, for a long time viewed by pundits as this season’s relegation fodder, take 23 points from this game to Somerset’s five. They have earned a lot of plaudits and respect for the way they went about their business in this game and have certainly surprised a few people.
Afterwards Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes paid tribute to Charlie Morris for his bowling throughout this game: “It was Alan Richardson-esque, the way he hit line and length with pace and nipped the ball around.
“Charlie had new ball spells in both innings that were unbelievably good. He made life very difficult for some excellent Somerset batsmen.
“Everyone knows how tough it is going to be for us in Division One so to get a win early in the campaign is important for confidence. I know Somerset are going through a tough spell but they are still a battle-hardened Division One side.”