With the entire country affected by wet weather, this match was the only one to reach a result, and in hindsight Somerset would have been better served with a washout.
The rain was on and off all day, until a sufficient break meant that a 14-overs-a-side game could start at quarter past four. Jim Allenby won the toss and chose to bowl with the threat of rain still looming.
As promised, Somerset picked a fairly young-looking side, which included both Overtons, Lewis Gregory and new signing Adam Hose for his List A debut.
New Zealand international Hamish Rutherford (15) got Derbyshire’s innings going with two fours off Jamie Overton’s opening over, then four more off Tim Groenewald. But when former Somerset man Wes Durston sent Rutherford back after running a single, he was unable to get back before a bullet Max Waller throw reached ‘keeper Michael Bates, who took the bails off to complete an easy run out.
Somerset took two more quick wickets. Chesney Hughes (1) was caught by Jamie Overton off the bowling of Lewis Gregory, then Billy Godleman (3) was bowled by the same bowler after three dot balls to start the over.
At the other end, Durston had been going about his business efficiently, ensuring Derbyshire’s run rate stayed around the 8-an-over mark. During his 29 he struck three fours, then his first six over midwicket off Craig Overton, but the bowler got his revenge a ball later when another attempted maximum went straight up in the air to be caught by the safe hands of Bates.
But Madsen was able to keep up Durston’s momentum. Having already struck Max Waller for successive fours in his only over, he then smacked Craig Overton straight back down the ground for four, in an over from which 19 runs were conceded including a no ball for height which raced to the boundary.
The following over, from Groenewald, saw 13 from it including a Shiv Thakor six over long-off. At the ten-over mark, Derbyshire were 96 for 4.
Somerset pulled back some momentum with the wicket of Thakor, caught by Gregory off Craig Overton, who made up for his earlier over of 19 to concede just four from his third.
Jamie Overton bowled the penultimate over, and conceded two Madsen fours but had his revenge by having him caught by James Hildreth last ball.
Groenewald started the final over well, conceding just four runs from the first three balls, but Alex Hughes skilfully scooped successive fours before he was run out off the last ball of the innings. Derbyshire had made a good score of 134 for 7 – a tough ask for a Somerset batting line-up that has struggled in the shortest form this year.
There was a comedy moment in the first over of Somerset’s reply, when Ben Cotton made to catch a miscued Allenby pull, but pulled out at the last moment thinking the nearby Godleman would take it. Instead the ball fell between them, to the crowd’s delight.
But Allenby couldn’t capitalise on the mistake – he miscued again next ball, a cut this time, to hand an easy catch to Madsen at point.
But before another ball could be bowled, the rain returned with little leeway left before the cut-off time.
It relented just in time, however, leaving Somerset a new target of 104 from 10 overs. Hose smashed Cotton down the ground for four, but couldn’t last and was bowled two balls later.
Tom Cooper gave Somerset hope with a four down the ground off Footitt, then a skilful flicked six around the corner off the same bowler.
But then came a dismal period of ten balls which lost Somerset the match. Peter Trego skied Thakor to Durston without scoring, then Cooper miscued high to ‘keeper Tom Poynton off the same bowler just after a straight four.
Lewis Gregory pulled his first ball to the boundary, but was caught by Rutherford off his second, then Craig Overton was caught by Thakor for a duck.
Somerset were now 37 for 6 halfway through the innings, needing 67 from 30 balls.
Hildreth and Groenewald made the decision to try to play themselves in, and took six singles off Alex Hughes’ first over. Groenewald looked to accelerate with a six over long-on off the first ball of the seventh over, but Cork conceded just five more from it.
Hildreth drove Alex Hughes for four first ball of the eighth over, but both he and Groenewald perished in the next three balls – both to Durston catches.
By now the game was gone, with Somerset needing 45 from 14 balls amid returning showers which weren’t heavy enough for the umpires to bring the sides off again (and would have resulted in abandonment). Jamie Overton and Waller hit a boundary apiece, but both holed out to Chesney Hughes off the last two balls of the innings, bowled by Cotton, as Somerset crumbled to 74 all out.
Somerset Director of Cricket Matt Maynard said after the match, “It was a shortened game and we haven’t been playing well in the t20 format as we showed again today. We are disappointed we didn’t get the full fifty overs, but we will practice hard on Tuesday in preparation for the game against Durham on Wednesday.
“I thought we looked frenetic today with the bat. When you have a chase that starts before the rain, then lose a wicket and have to come off, it’s difficult. We came back needing 11 an over and we just felt that we couldn’t get away with another couple of slow overs.”
He finished, “We didn’t get anyone batting for more than 10 or 11 balls. We needed someone to bat for 25 balls and get a solid 50.”