ECB Second XI T20 Finals Day, Arundel Castle – Thursday 5 June 2014
Somerset’s young Second XI squad reached the T20 final on the club’s first ever appearance at finals day at Arundel Castle earlier today.
But after comfortably beating Hampshire in their semi-final by eight wickets with seven balls to spare, Somerset fell 11 runs short of Leicestershire’s total in the final to finish second in the tournament.
After the final, Somerset’s Director of High Performance Andy Hurry praised the way the Second XI had performed throughout the competition and said the lads could be very proud.
Semi-final v Hampshire: Hampshire 158-5 off 20 overs (Alsop 67, Gatting 39) lost to Somerset 160-2 off 18.5 overs (Jones 65, Burke 43 not out, Barrow 32) by eight wickets.
On a beautiful sunny day at the picturesque Hampshire ground at Arundel Castle, Somerset were drawn to play the local county side in the second match of the day, which started immediately after lunch.
Hampshire won the toss and decided to bat, and despite losing Gatting for 39 in the final over of the powerplay, moved along steadily to 108-1 with five overs of their innings remaining.
They lost a further four wickets as they tried to push their score up towards a challenging total, Alsop eventually run out by James Regan for a top score of 67 off 49 balls with four fours and two sixes.
In reply for Somerset, Alex Barrow dominated an opening stand of 56 in just five overs with Chris Jones, making 32 off just 19 balls with three fours and two sixes.
Jones was then joined by Burke and the pair put on an excellent stand of 92 for the second wicket, taking Somerset to within an inch of victory when Jones was eventually bowled for 65. He had faced 52 balls and stroked eight boundaries during his stay at the crease.
Burke, who scored an equally valuable 43 not out off 38 balls, was joined by Josh Davey who wasted little time in blasting a six and a four to help see Somerset home.
Somerset fielded the following side: Chris Jones, Tom Abell, James Burke, Josh Davey, Alex Barrow, Max Waller, James Regan, Jack Leach, Nathan Roberts, Robbie Montgomery and Chris Skidmore.
Final v Leicestershire: Leicestershire 159-7 off 20 overs (Wells 50, Montgomery 2-32) beat Somerset 148 off 19.1 overs (Regan 44, Burke 39, Pearson 4-17, Raine 2-30) by 11 runs.
Earlier in the day, Leicestershire had beaten a Lancashire side (including Freddie Flintoff, playing his first match in Lancashire colours for five years) to reach the final.
So, in a repeat of the senior side’s 2011 appearance at Finals Day, Somerset Seconds were drawn to play Leicestershire in a final after having beating Hampshire earlier in the day.
Skipper Max Waller won the toss and asked Leicestershire to bat, Somerset making one change to the side by bringing in Callum Stewart in place of Tom Abell.
There was success for Somerset in the third over when Chris Skidmore had Leicestershire skipper Matthew Boyce caught by Stewart for 11 with the score on 15. Then, at the end of the powerplay, Stewart pouched another catch as James Burke claimed the wicket of Dan Redfern for 13 and Leicestershire were 38-2.
Michael Thornley was the next man to go. He had kept the scoreboard ticking over, his 35 came off 33 balls but only included one boundary, a six. It was 80-3 in the thirteenth over when he was dismissed and Leicestershire needed to push on if they were going to post a challenging total.
A further four wickets fell in the next six overs, but a number of Leicestershire batsmen got useful runs, with Tom Wells making 50 with a four and three sixes before being bowled by Robbie Montgomery, while wicket-keeper Lewis Hill made a useful 30 before being bowled by Davey.
Usman Tariq and Ben Raine were dismissed cheaply (the former run out, while the latter was bowled to give Montgomery his second wicket), but Aatif Ali hit a couple of sixes at the close, which ultimately proved decisive. Leicestershire finished on 159, one run more than Hampshire had made against Somerset earlier in the day.
Somerset’s response didn’t start well with semi-final top scorer Chris Jones bowled by Redfern without scoring and after the first three overs of the powerplay we had only managed to reach 11-1.
Burke and Barrow then went on the offensive, and we remained ahead of the required run rate all the way through our innings. However wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, leaving the tail too much to do in the latter stages.
With the score on 40 in the sixth over, Barrow, who had made 16, became the first of four victims for Leicestershire’s Australian right-arm fast bowler James Pearson.
Davey was next to go, caught behind off Pearson after a brisk 13 and we were 56-3 off 7.3 overs.
A very promising partnership then developed between Burke and Regan which produced 45 runs off 5.5 overs and regained the initiative for Somerset.
At the beginning of the 14th over though, Burke was caught off leg-break bowler Usman Tariq for a well-made 39 off 37 balls (with two fours and a six) and we were 101-4, still needing 59 runs off 35 balls.
We then lost a wicket in every one of the next six overs.
First, Waller was dismissed by Ben Raine for 1 with the score on 111-5. Then Regan’s resistance was finally ended when he was bowled by Thornley. The last of the recognised batsmen, James had scored 44 off just 28 balls with four fours and a six. That dismissal left us on 118-6.
Nathan Roberts gave it a really good try, blasting a six and a four to keep Somerset’s hopes alive. However there was too much to do and the tail eventually were polished off by Raine
First Raine bowled Jack Leach for 8 off the last ball of the 17th over with the score on 136-7. That left us requiring 24 more to win off three overs.
Then Pearson had Montgomery caught behind off the first ball he faced and after Skidmore had been run out by Boyce for 1, we needed 12 off our final over. That was less than Leicestershire scored in their final over. But with only one wicket in hand it was too much. Pearson returned to bowl Roberts for 19 and Somerset lost by a tantalising 11 runs. Pearson finished with the excellent figures of 3.1-0-17-4.
At close of play, Andy Hurry the Director of High Performance said: “The boys can all feel very, very proud of the way that they have performed throughout the competition and today they were outstanding. However we fell at the last hurdle against a Leicestershire side who executed their skills very well, so full credit to them.
“We controlled the semi-final game with Hampshire from start to finish, but in the final we lost wickets in the middle and then towards the back end we lost wickets every over and we put ourselves under a lot of pressure going into the last over needing 12 to win, having been ahead of their scoring rate all the way through.”
All of us at The Incider would like to echo Andy’s words of congratulations to the Somerset lads in making their first Second XI final and we’re sure this will the first of many such appearances to come.