Match Zone: Yorkshire (H) in Specsavers CC (15-18 May)

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Somerset welcome league leaders and County Champions for the past two seasons, Yorkshire, to the Cooper Associates County Ground still looking for a first win of the season after four consecutive draws.

In their last game at Edgbaston Somerset had bowled themselves into a strong position with hosts Warwickshire needing to score 322 to win the game but rain came after two days with the home team 4-0 so the spoils were shared.

Yorkshire, however, were enjoying a first win of the season beating Surrey at Headingley by an innings and 20 runs. Their innings was dominated by Joe Root’s 213 and Jonny Bairstow’s 198 but neither have travelled to Taunton because they have been called up to play for England against Sri Lanka starting on Thursday. Also missing for the visitors from the team that beat Surrey is another England man David Willey who is injured, as is former international Tim Bresnan. But you don’t win County Championship’s with 3-4 players and it is still a strong looking squad of 13 that travels to the West Country:

Yorkshire squad: Gale (c), Ballance, Brooks, Carver, Hodd (w), Leaning, Lees, Lyth, Patterson, Plunkett, Rashid, Rhodes, Wainman.

Somerset have added Johan Myburgh and Tim Groenewald to the XI that played in Birmingham:

Somerset squad: C Rogers (c), M Trescothick, T Abell, J Hildreth, J Myburgh, J Allenby, P Trego, R Davies (w), T Groenewald, L Gregory, J Overton, C Overton, J Leach.

It will be interesting to see who Matt Maynard selects to start the game on Sunday morning with Mybs pushing hard for a starting place. Jim Allenby was recalled for Warwickshire but did not impress with bat in hand scoring 7 & 17 and the middle order has been a problem area for the cider boys all season, Peter Trego apart.

Groeners will likely play as part of Matt’s squad rotation policy but Jamie Overton & Lewis Gregory both took 3 wickets at Edgbaston and Craig Overton 2 and Jack Leach did not bowl at all so the deciding vote may be made if the pitch looks like one that will help the spinners.

Yorkshire are one place and point above their great rivals Lancashire but have played a game more, while Somerset sit in 6th on 39 points.

Table 14th May

The last three games at Taunton have ended in a draw with the most recent positive result being in 2011, when a Marcus Trescothick inspired Somerset won by 10 wickets in a season that would see the home team end 4th in the table with the Tyles relegated. Tres hit 189 and 151 not out while Arul Suppiah struck 95 and 67 not out in that memorable victory.

The game’s scorecard on ESPN Cricinfo here

Live coverage from BBC Somerset here

Umpires: Steve O’Shaughnessy & Billy Taylor

Day 1

Somerset opted to omit Myburgh and Craig Overton so the starting XI is: C Rogers (c), M Trescothick, T Abell, J Hildreth, J Allenby, P Trego, R Davies (w), T Groenewald, L Gregory, J Overton, J Leach.

There was no toss as Yorkshire opted to field first so Somerset will bat on a glorious morning in Taunton.

Morning: There were few scares for Somerset in the morning session apart from losing Tom Abell for just 8 when the score was 30. Tom missed a straight one from Patterson but that was the only joy for the Yorkshire bowlers who were then made to toil in the Somerset sunshine as Tres and Buck took the attack to them.

  • A very productive morning session saw Somerset move to 110-1 with Tres 57* and Buck 32* as the two added 80 for the 2nd wicket.

Afternoon: The two veterans continued where they left off for the home team after the lunch break. Captain Rogers made his way to 50 in the 45th over just as the team passed 150.

  • Tres moved to 97* and looked set for another memorable ton when he smashed one back to Rashid at head height and was caught by the bowler. It was an excellent innings. Somerset were now 178-2 as Hildy joined the play.
  • The two put on over 50 runs before tea. At the break Buck was 91* and Hildy 22* with Somerset very well placed at 235-2. 

Evening: Buck was looking set for a first Somerset hundred when he fell to a Rashid googly and was caught behind by Hodd. The score was 247-3.

  • Jim Allenby was a man in need of runs but he certainly didn’t appear to be under pressure as he put bat to ball from the off and looked very confident.
  • Hildy passed 50 in the 79th over when Somerset were 277-3. He would pass 13,000 first class runs for Somerset in this innings thereby becoming the 14th on the list of the club’s all-time run scorers.
  • Jim also passed the half century after a fine knock with the score on 330-3. Much needed runs for the all-rounder.
  • Jim then offered a simple chance to Ballance off Rhodes and was out for 51. Somerset were 332-4 at this stage.
  • By the close Somerset had progressed to 342-4 with Hildy 68* and the in form Peter Trego 7*. An excellent day for the home team in the sunshine and they must press home this advantage and put themselves into a winning position.

Day 2

Morning: Somerset enjoyed another fabulous session in the Taunton sunshine in front of a large crowd at the CACG. The team secured a 4th batting point with a Hildy cut and the chase was on to get past 400 runs in the 110 overs allowed.

  • Hildy moved onto a fine century that included 11×4 in 160 balls moving the score to 390-4.
  • The 400 came when Trego got down on one knee and planted Rashid into the Somerset Stand but sadly this did not come in 110 overs so a 5th batting point was not forthcoming.
  • Tregs started to enjoy Rashid’s bowling and went after him launching one into the Ian Botham Stand! His 50 followed soon after with Somerset 457-4. The assault on the Yorkshire bowlers continued with the victim this time being Lyth who Tregs smashed into the top tier of the new Somerset Pavilion – the 1st man to achieve this and the score progressed to 475-4!
  • A cracking session, where Somerset added 151 runs without losing a wicket, came to an end at lunch with the score 493-4.

Afternoon: The two took the score past 500 but Tregs would be come the third Somerset batsman in this innings to perish in the 90s after scoring a brilliant 94. He was caught behind off Rashid. The partnership with Hildreth was 199 and Somerset were 531-5.

  • Hildy followed soon after for a magnificent 166 – another caught and bowled for Rashid and Somerset were 544-6.
  • Jamie Overton had a bit of fun batting with Lewis Gregory scoring 23 including a six into the river off Patterson. When he was caught on the mid-wicket fence Somerset declared on 562-7 with Lewis 7 not out.
  • Rashid was the pick of the Yorkshire bowlers with 4-160. Now it was the turn of the Somerset bowlers to take control.
  • By tea Yorkshire had progressed to 48-0 from 19 overs.

Evening: Lyth and Lees continued to prosper taking the score over 100 without loss but soon after Somerset struck when Jamie Overton forced Lees to edge a drive to Trego at third slip and he was gone for 33 with Yorkshire 103-1.

  • Rhodes came in as nightwatchman but there would be no more joy for the home team and the day ended with Yorkshire on 127-1 with Lyth 80 and Rhodes 6. Yorkshire trail by 435 runs with 9 wickets remaining.
  • Another great day for Somerset against the champions.

Day 3

Morning: Peter Trego bowled the first over of the day under gloomy skies with Yorkshire making a cautious start, scoring just 10 runs in the opening half-hour or so.

  • The breakthrough came when the score had progressed to 145 when Rhodes skied one to Tregs on the mid-wicket fence off Jove for 15.
  • Lyth made his way to a century but soon after the drizzle started and the players were off. It was misty enough to cover the Quantocks and an early lunch was taken at 12.30pm. Yorkshire 167-2.

Afternoon: Play restarted at 1.45pm and Somerset didn’t have to wait long for the first success of this session when Gregory picked up Lyth, caught at first slip by Allenby off a back-foot drive. Yorkshire were now 172-3.

  • Just 17 more runs were added when Leach grabbed Gale caught at first slip for 8 with Allenby again showing safe hands. Yorkshire 189-4 at this stage and game on! But 4 runs later the players are back in the pavilion as the rain returns.
  • Play resumed at 3.05pm but the gloom persisted and an early tea was taken with the visitors 213-4.

Evening: Play resumed at 4.45pm with a minimum 30 overs left in the day. This would prove to be a very lucrative session for the home team that turned the game on it’s head.

  • It started when Gregory enticed Leaning to feather one through to Davies for 17 and Yorkshire were 226-5.
  • Just 6 runs later Rashid tried an ambitious third run and good work from Abell and Davies and he was run out without troubling the scorers. 232-6 now.
  • This became 232-8 in just 5 balls when Ballance pushed forward off Groenewald and edged one to Davies (37) and three balls later Hodd lost his middle wicket off the same bowler and it was definitely advantage Somerset.
  • Liam Plunkett became Tim’s third wicket of the session when he edged to Davies too and Yorkshire were on the ropes at 237-9, still 325 runs behind. Incredibly 5 wickets had fallen for just 11 runs.
  • Somerset’s bowlers toiled in order to get that last wicket and put Yorkshire back in but Brooks (34*) and Patterson (32*) were defiant offering an unbeaten stand of 69. It was very frustrating for players and supporters as once again Somerset allowed tail-enders to dominate when the initiative was with the cider men.
  • At the close Yorkshire were 306-9 still trailing by 256 runs with 1 wicket remaining in the 1st innings. With rain forecast a victory looked unlikely but not impossible. Game on!

Day 4

Morning: The covers were on the square as rain greeted the players and supporters on the final day. The weather was always likely to play a significant part in the final result and that was the case.

  • After a delay play finally started at 12pm with Jamie Overton bowling the first over. After only 2.1 overs the same bowler bowled Patterson for 32 and the Yorkshire reply ended for 311 so were trailing by 251 and captain Rogers enforced the follow on.
  • Somerset’s bowlers shared the wickets with Groeners grabbing 3, Lewis & Jamie 2 each and Tregs and Leachy 1 each. It was a good effort from the Somerset attack.
  • Yorkshire entered the interval with a cautious 15-0 from 13 overs with 62 overs remaining in the day.

Afternoon: Jove struck just 4 balls after lunch when he bowled Lyth for 18 and the away team were 19-1. But the rain returned soon after and the players were off the field.

  • The score progressed to 45-1 but then 3 wickets fell for 23 runs to get Somerset’s hopes rising. First Leachy had Rhodes caught by Tom Abel last short leg for 18 (45-2) then Jamie struck again bowling Lees for 11 (51-3). Jove was bowling superbly at this stage.
  • At tea Yorshire were 61-3.

Evening: With the score on 69 the 4th wicket fell when Gale was caught by Leach off Groeners for 13.

  • Jamie managed to hit Balance’s stumps with one delivery but the bails remained intact so no wicket. But soon after he had the same batter caught leg side by Leach for 18 and Yorkshire were 89-5 with 18 overs to go. An impossible looking victory suddenly looked possible.
  • Yorkshire edged to three figures but before they got there lost a 6th wicket when Rashid edged Groenewald to Allenby at first slip. 99-6 with 11 overs left.
  • Somerset battled hard but Plunkett (20*) and Leaning (29*) saw Yorkshire to the close so the visitors were 141-6 from 71.4 when the players shook hands. It was a fabulous effort from Somerset against the champions.
  • Jove took 3 wickets, Timmy 2 and Leachy 1 in a brave effort.

Result

  • Result: Somerset (12 pts) 562-7 (declared) drew with Yorkshire (9 pts) 311 & 141-6.