Preview 2014: Richard Isbell

We asked Somerset supporters to tell us about themselves and their love of the cider county. Second up is Richard Isbell one of our Cornish supporters. Thanks to him for his contribution and if you are a fan and want to contribute too then please email us at The Incider and we’ll send you the form.

(2) Richard Isbell from Liskeard

  • Who are Ya?

Richard Isbell (60) from Liskeard in Cornwall.  Platinum Member that attends most home games, although usually only one day of a Championship match.  Have been a Member for 20 years plus.

  • Cider boy since?

Have been a Somerset supporter since first attending a game in the mid 60’s.  Can also recall watching Somerset play a few John Player League matches at Torquay and remember Greg Chappell and Brian Close playing and one match in particular against Notts who included Garry Sobers.

Obviously the Botham, Richards & Garner era was the most memorable, although that side didn’t win as much as they probably should have!!  The biggest regrets are that during that time and since we have failed to win the County Championship – and more recently, the four consecutive T20 Finals day defeats have been extremely frustrating!!

  • Favourite Somerset player ever?

My favourite player of all time would be Joel Garner – a brilliant, match-winning bowler and an absolute gentleman.  I can recall several matches in which his bowling was the key factor – one in particular was the 1979 Gillette Cup quarter-final against a strong Kent team.  Somerset cobbled together a meagre 190, mainly thanks to a half century from Budgie Burgess.  With Kent fielding eight Test players, most of us thought that they would stroll to victory, however Big Bird had other ideas and ‘blew them away’ with 5 for 11, ably supported by Botham – Kent were 60 all out!!!

  • Favourite Somerset game

A difficult one, but the match that sticks in my mind was the Gillette Cup semi-final at Taunton against Essex in 1978.  Somerset batted first and scored 287 for 6, mainly thanks to a magnificent 116 from Sir Viv.  In reply Essex kept up with clock, thanks to decent scores from Gooch, McEwan and Fletcher, although lost wickets at regular intervals.  The last pair of Lever and Smith came together with 7 needed, requiring 3 off the last ball to win but Brian Rose ran out Smith when he was scampering unsuccessfully for the 3rd run – leaving the scores tied and Somerset winning the game by losing fewer wickets.

  • Favourite present Somerset player?

Peter Trego – he is Somerset through and through.  He always gives 100% and is always contributing, either with the ball, bat or in the field.  A team man in the true sense.

  • In one sentence how would you describe the 2013 season?

We under-achieved and lacked any consistency

  • Thoughts on the current squad

There are several players that have been outstanding over the last few years that are now coming towards the end of their careers, which is slightly concerning as they will be difficult to replace.  My main concern is whether we have a strong enough attack to regularly bowl sides out twice.

We do have a number of younger players that are yet to fully reach their peak, partially due to a number of these players being affected by injuries over the last couple of years.  We all hope that the youngsters all play a full part in a successful 2014 season.

  • How will Somerset do in 2014?:

LVCC: Although scoring runs should not a problem, with Tresco, Hildy, Alviro, Compo and Kies in the side, however as mentioned previously, taking 20 wickets may prove difficult – particularly at the County Ground.

T20: As in the past, I think we will be competitive in the T20 – although it will hard to replace Buttler and Arafat from last years’ squad.  It will be interesting to see if a specialist T20 player is recruited.

Pro50: This new 50 over competition could well be our best bet for success, with Trego being a key player

  • Key player for Somerset in 2014

I think that there are a few players that have a bit to prove in 2014:-

Both Hildy and Tresco had poor seasons last year and will be keen to show that they still have a lot to offer.  Both Kiessy and Compo will want to score a stack of runs to show England what they are missing!! Whilst several of the younger players will almost certainly be playing for their careers and future contracts.

The players that supporters want to see come to prominence are the Overton twins, Lewis Gregory & George Dockrell – all very capable players that need to play key roles in 2014 if the county is to be successful.

  • Young player to watch out for in 2014

We all hope that Lewis Gregory stays fit as his all-round ability could prove extremely valuable.

The other player that we would like to see in a competitive game is Tom Abell.  He would have probably played at the end of last season, but for the predicament we were in, so we hope that he gets an opportunity soon and he grasps it!!

  • Which player would you like to sign for Somerset (if money no object)

England qualified: It is not helpful to any county to have a current England player as he will not play for his county, so it needs to be a player not currently in the England set-up – therefore, probably Graham Onions would be my choice, although I also like Moeen Ali, who contributes with both bat and ball.

Overseas: As bowling sides may prove difficult, I think a quality strike bowler would be helpful and Dale Steyn may fit the bill!!!

  • Apart from Somerset which other sports and teams do you follow?

During the winter months I am a keen rugby follower and an Exeter Chiefs season ticket holder.

I have also been a West Ham United supporter since the early 1960’s when Bobby Moore graced Upton Park but, like all other Hammers supporters, I am not keen on the style of football played under Sam Allardyce.