Somerset get ready to open their first-class account for 2015

Abell2Somerset’s first-class campaign gets underway today (Thursday) with a three-day game against Durham MCCU at Taunton Vale, starting at 11am.

The match will be played in familiar surroundings for local youngster Tom Abell (left), who could make his first appearance of the season after recovering from a finger injury and having to sit out Somerset’s warm-up games against Glamorgan and Gloucestershire.

Abell, who announced his arrival in first-class cricket last August by making 95 on his debut against Warwickshire at the County Ground, has played all of his club cricket at Taunton Vale for Taunton Cricket Club.

Meanwhile, Jim Allenby, who joined Somerset from Glamorgan during the off-season, is also named in a 12-man squad and is set to make his first-class debut for his new county.

Looking ahead to the match Director of Cricket Matt Maynard said: “This is a first-class game and another step for us in the build-up for our first LV= County Championship match on April 12.

“We want to pick up performance levels from where we have been and I have been really pleased with the way things have gone. It’s now just a case of building up the intensity with every game we play so that we are at full tilt for that first Championship match.”

Looking ahead to the game 21-year-old Abell said: “I’m really excited and can’t wait to pull on the Somerset shirt again. I’ve had about six weeks when I haven’t been up to much so I am hugely excited.

“I have played all of my cricket at the Vale so it will be really nice for me to be able to play for my county on the ground where I have grown up. It’s been an awesome place for me over the years and I can’t wait to get going. I am feeling very hungry to get started again.”

Talking about the injury that has kept him sidelined, Abell said: “I have been really happy with the way that my finger has healed up. It is still a little bit swollen but in terms of batting and fielding it’s pretty much there now and I am not really feeling any affects. My hands are a little bit soft but hopefully I can now get into things and harden my hands up a little bit.”

Craig Overton, who made his first limited return to action with the Second XI this week following injury, is not included in the squad for this match. However, even without Overton and Alfonso Thomas, who is also recovering from injury, Somerset have a strong seam bowling attack from which to select from.

Jim Allenby is set to make his first-class debut in Somerset colours 
Jim Allenby is set to make his first-class debut in Somerset colours

The squad includes Craig’s brother Jamie, who, promisingly, has been seen bowling with some of his old pace in the warm-up matches, Tim Groenewald, Pete Trego, Lewis Gregory, Adam Dibble and Allenby. Jack Leach is named as the frontline spinner, with Johann Myburgh as backup, while Alex Barrow starts the season as first-class wicket-keeper, preferred over James Regan.

Entry and parking at Taunton Vale is free, there are plenty of seats and the bar will be open all day.

The only thing likely to put a dampener on proceedings is the weather with rain forecast throughout much of today.

The Somerset squad is: Marcus Trescothick (captain), Tom Abell, Jim Allenby, Alex Barrow, Adam Dibble, Lewis Gregory, Tim Groenewald, James Hildreth, Jack Leach, Johann Myburgh, Jamie Overton and Peter Trego,

The Durham MCCU squad is: Cameron Steel (captain), Ollie Steele (wk), Chaitanya Bishnoi, Robert Gibson, Will Jenkins, Charlie MacDonnell, Harry McInley, Will Phillips, Ed Pollock, Dmitri Ratanayake, Darrell Williams, Jack Wood

  • Matt Roller will be reporting on the game for us at The Incider. Look out for his reports on the site to find out how Somerset fare in their opening first-class encounter of 2015.