Preview 2014: Steve Jennings

We asked Somerset supporters to tell us about themselves and their love of the cider county. The third contribution comes from The Incider’s very own Steve Jennings one of our Devonion 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.

(3) Steve Jennings from Hemyock

  • Who are Ya?

Steve Jennings (48) from Honiton in Devon now residing in Hemyock in the beautiful Blackdown Hills. Former Platinum member now avid scriber of all things Somerset CCC.

  • Cider boy since?

1976 – I had been looking out for Somerset a bit before that but the summer of 1976 was when I first watched Viv Richards bat for the West Indies smashing England all over the park and went to Taunton for the first time just after my 11th birthday. We played a star studded Kent team that day and beat them with a certain Ian Terrence Botham playing a starring role with bat & ball. I have been hooked since!

  • Favourite Somerset player ever?

Ian Botham was my boyhood hero and I still cite him as such but I was disappointed with some of the things he said about Somerset after he left. If I was picking one player it would be the “Big Bird” Joel Garner. Without him we would have not won as many trophies as we did and he was simply unplayable on his day. A gentle giant who was very polite and gracious too.

  • Favourite Somerset game

Going to the Gillette Cup Final in 1979 and watching us win our first trophy. I was at Lords in 1978 when we lost to Sussex in the same tournament and at Taunton a day later to watch us lose to Essex and the Sunday League too in what was called the “Lost Weekend”, so to be on the pitch watching Brian Rose hold aloft a trophy was brilliant. Hearing “Somerset La La La” booming into the London sky was amazing.

  • Favourite present Somerset player?

Alfonso Thomas who is a real battler and I would say underrated by some cider county supporters. He has been so consistent over the years I think we expect every delivery to be a 90mph inswinging Yorker! He is coming to the end of his career and I would love him to win a trophy with Somerset first.

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

Two seasons in one – poor in the red ball game but exciting and belligerent with the white ball.

  • Thoughts on the current squad

The silver lining from 2013 was the young guns stood up to be counted when it mattered and I hope the likes of Gregory, Maschede, Dibble, the Overtons and Jones develop further in 2014. A lot of faith has been shown in them. It is the bowling that worries me and we may rely too heavily on Alfonso and Tregs as our experienced pace bowlers as it looks like Kirbs will be missing throughout the year.

  • How will Somerset do in 2014?:

LVCC: Top half of the table and better viewing than last season. Still worried about whether we can maintain pressure on teams when we have them on the ropes and ultimately bowl them out. The batting has to be loads better – it can’t be any worse, can it? I hope the investment in Johan Myburgh pays off.

T20:  Not sure, depends who we recruit as second overseas player. With investment heading towards the new stand (quite rightly) I don’t expect the likes of Pollard or Gayle to be wearing our colours this season so I think Nos will have to pull something magical from out of nowhere. We will miss Jos more than we probably appreciate so need the explosive players like Tres, Keissy and Tregs to do the business with bat in hand and Alfonso to lead the bowling unit. QF’s at best I would say.

Pro50: I think we will do OK. We have players like Compo, Hildy and Alviro who can keep one end safe while still keeping the score ticking over and I think the bowlers can bowl in a disciplined way in this format. Our best chance of a trophy.

  • Key player for Somerset in 2014

Nick Compton – but for his runs we would have been playing second tier Cricket this season and I hope his wanting to prove England wrong will prove great for Somerset.

  • Young player to watch out for in 2014

It depends on the form of the skipper and whether England see sense and pick Compo but Tom Abell has some ability. 1,234 runs for Somerset 2nd’s was no fluke and if he gets the nod to open the innings he won’t let us down. Nice lad too.

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

England qualified – I rate that lad at Lancashire, Jos Buttler!! (LO) I would go for a batsman and, keeping things realistic, Ned Eckersley at Leicestershire is a prospect who would do well in the top flight.

Overseas – Vernon Philander. I think he would win a few games for us?

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

I play Squash (badly) but only play half-a-dozen village cricket matches a season these days. For all my sins I am a Leeds United supporter and used to go to 20-30 games per season from my Devon home. I don’t even contemplate how much it cost me over the years. Nowadays just 3-4 games a year. Passive Rugby follower going to the odd Exeter Chiefs game.