Somerset v Durham RLODC: Cooper’s first ton not enough as Stoneman, Mustard chase big target with ease

RLODC DurhamSomerset 327-8 from 50 overs (Cooper 104, Trego 53, C Overton 49, Hose 41; Hastings 5-41, Arshad 3-80) lost to Durham 331-3 from 46.3 overs (Stoneman 112, Mustard 98, Borthwick 66*) by 7 wickets. Durham 2 points, Somerset 0 points.

Tom Cooper’s first Somerset century was not enough as Durham chased down a formidable 328 with consummate ease. The defeat made it ten games without a win for the cider county in all formats.

Durham openers Mark Stoneman and Phil Mustard did the bulk of the work, putting on 211 for the first wicket – the highest one-day partnership for Durham against professional county opposition.

Somerset captain Jim Allenby won the toss and chose to bat, and he also made the decision to demote himself in the order – Tom Abell, on List A debut, joined Adam Hose at the top.

The pair made a watchful start, and were for the most part untroubled at first against some tight bowling from Chris Rushworth and Jamie Harrison.

Somerset's new opening pair Tom Abell and Adam Hose put on
Somerset’s new opening pair Tom Abell and Adam Hose put on 69 for the first wicket. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.

Somerset’s scoring rate began to increase in the seventh over, when Hose started playing his shots with a streaky four to third man before two more boundaries in the following over from Rushworth.

But he perished for 41 (44 balls, 4×4), when he edged Usman Arshad to ‘keeper Mustard.

Abell, for the most part, played sensibly and knocked singles around, including several to third man. But he fell two balls after Hose playing an expansive drive which found the edge of the bat to be caught by Scott Borthwick in the slips off John Hastings’ first ball of the match for 23.

After an opening stand of 69, it would not have been surprising for Somerset to collapse as they have done so many times this season following those two wickets. But Peter Trego and Tom Cooper put paid to those fears, accelerating gradually in an enterprising partnership of 90.

Pete Trego drives the ball
Pete Trego drives the ball during his innings of 53 at almost a run a ball. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.

Trego had scored 3 from 13 balls when he released the shackles with a six down the ground against Ryan Pringle, then fours off Harrison and Rushworth. Cooper was accelerating gradually too, with the pair reducing dot balls and taking singles at every opportunity, punctuated with boundaries.

Trego’s innings peaked when he struck three fours in four balls off Pringle: a loft over cover, a sweep past fine leg then a pull to midwicket to bring up his fifty.

This followed an uncharacteristic dropped catch from Paul Collingwood, in his favoured position of backward point, but it did not cost Durham much as Trego was caught by Pringle at long leg against the impressive Hastings for 53 (55 balls, 7×4, 1×6).

James Hildreth could make just four before he nicked to Borthwick who took an excellent catch at slip for Hastings’ third wicket. Allenby lasted longer but he too was unable to get going, nicking Arshad to Mustard for 19. Lewis Gregory (4) perished to the same combination after bottom edging a pull, to leave Somerset 243 for 6 and in danger of wasting a golden opportunity for a big total.

Tom Cooper acknowledges the crowd after being dismissed for a superb 104, his debut Somerset century. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.

But Cooper was going great guns at the other end, accelerating gradually towards his century, which he completed with a drive to point for two.

Craig Overton, meanwhile, used his powerful levers to boost Somerset’s score quickly. He smashed four sixes, all in an arc between mid-off and midwicket.

After Cooper’s dismissal, caught by Rushworth off Hastings, Jamie Overton joined his twin and smacked his first ball through cover for four. He hit two more off Harrison in the penultimate over, before Craig was dismissed, caught and bowled by Hastings, for 49. Somerset finished their innings on 327 for 8, with Hastings was the pick of the Durham attack with 10-0-41-5.

Craig Overton smashed
Craig Overton smashed 49 off just 25 balls to push Somerset up beyond 300. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.

With the sun now shining after a chilly, overcast first innings, Durham made a daunting target look easy from the first over. Opening bowlers Craig Overton and Lewis Gregory offered too many four-balls which Stoneman and Mustard put away with ease. Peter Trego’s introduction made little difference; his first ball was slapped to the boundary by Mustard.

Trego was whipped off immediately to allow Craig Overton and Gregory swap ends, but the boundaries continued to flow.

Jamie Overton’s first ball flew through the vacant slip region, and Jack Leach (in his first bowl for the senior team this season) had one or two lbw shouts turned down but Somerset were unable to make a breakthrough. Leach, to his credit, bowled an excellent first spell of 6-0-19-0.

By now Durham were simply milking the bowlers; captain Allenby used seven of them but they could not string dots together to build up pressure.

The wicket finally came, out of the blue, on 211, when Mustard top-edged Craig Overton to Hildreth at backward point just two runs short of his hundred. His innings came from 91 balls and included 12 fours and a six.

Mark Stoneman celebrates his century. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.
Mark Stoneman celebrates his century. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.

Stoneman did go to his century though, with a single off Craig Overton. He was by now tiring, but new batsman Borthwick attacked, including a sequence of four-four-six against Jamie Overton.

Leach got a deserved wicket when Stoneman was caught by Craig Overton at mid-on for 112 (109 balls, 12×4, 3×6), but by that point the game was Durham’s.

Graham Clark came and went (caught by Jamie Overton off Gregory for 12), but Collingwood made a breezy 21 not out before Borthwick struck successive fours to finish on 66 and win the match with 3.3 overs to spare.

Tom Cooper said post-match, “It was very nice on a personal note to score a hundred, but you play the game to contribute to wins and it’s very disappointing that we couldn’t quite get over the line. It was quite a good pitch to bat on, maybe a bit slower than I expected.”

He went on, “Hastings bowled really well for Durham, but I thought 327 was a pretty good total. However, they came out and blasted away early and we all know how difficult it is to defend out there on that wicket.

“The way their two openers played I don’t think it would’ve mattered what total we’d put on the board. We hung in there until the end and it was a good effort.”

Somerset’s next match is at home to Worcestershire on Friday, and having lost their first two games, are under pressure to open their account with six games left. Durham play Surrey on the same day in a top-of-the-table clash.

Scorecard: Somerset v Durham –