Tom Cooper helped the new-look Somerset open their account in the Royal London Bank One Day Cup against a spirited Worcestershire side in front of a large crowd at Taunton on Friday which is also his sides’ first win in ten games in all competitions. This 56-run win was game three of eight group games in the 50-over format for the cider county having lost both opening games in the previous six days at home.
If the first defeat against Derbyshire was rather farcical due to the influence of bad weather the loss to Durham did at least show some encouraging signs with bat as Somerset racked up over 300 runs to test the reigning tournament champions.
With this in mind Somerset made just one change to that side with Tim Groenewald coming in for Lewis Gregory, presumably as part of the bowler rotation policy.
Captain Jim Allenby won the toss and elected to bat in bright sunshine and Somerset started their innings confidently with Adam Hose dominating a half-century opening stand with Tom Abell (24) in under nine overs. Hose batted well scoring 46 in 39 balls and looks a good find having started the season unable to command a place in Hampshire’s team. He hit one six and six fours before holing out to deep square off the bowling of Ed Barnard.
Peter Trego (15) had a brief but eventful cameo hitting one six and two four’s before he and Abell fell to the same bowler as the home team slumped to 87 for 3.
But Australian Cooper has finally come good and, after his century against Durham in midweek, he stayed until the end of the innings to help Somerset pass 300 again, a score that looked unlikely given that Somerset were 235 for 7 after 45 overs, but Michael Bates joined him and helped himself to an unbeaten 18 as the two struck 70 in just five overs.
Cooper finished 93 not out in just 91 balls and enjoyed decent partnerships along the way with James Hildreth, who stroked 33 in 44 balls, and Allenby, who knocked 45 useful runs in just 52 balls.
Somerset finished 305 for 7 – which looked about 20 runs light at the time – with Barnard taking 3 for 60 for Worcestershire.
And it didn’t take long for Somerset to enjoy success with the ball as Craig Overton grabbed the first wicket in the first over when he had Richard Oliver caught by Allenby with the score on 5. Soon Worcestershire were 28 for 3 as Tom Fell and Brett D’Oliveira both came and went without drama.
Daryl Mitchell and Tom Kohler-Cadmore took the score to 70 before the former was bowled by a beauty by Jack Leach having scored 37. Ross Whiteley (9) then offered a catch to Abell, also off Leach, and the visitors looked doomed on 82 for 5 still needing 224 to win the game.
Kohler-Cadmore hit 37 in a stand of 40 with Ben Cox, who himself struck two sixes and three fours in a decent knock of 38 as the away team restored some pride at 182 for 7.
But Worcestershire’s outstanding performer with ball was also the main man with bat in hand as Bernard became the only player in his side to pass 50 helping himself to 51 off 41 balls hitting one six and five fours before being caught off Craig Overton, one of three catches held by Hose.
It had been effectively game over for some time but the tall Jack Shantry enjoyed himself hitting three fours in his 31 off 34 balls before he was last man out with the score on 249.
There were three wickets apiece for Leach, whose 3 for 52 was soured slightly by some late hitting and a six off his final delivery, and Craig Overton who led the seam attack with 3 for 54.
Trego bowled well and also took three wickets for 45 and now has 149 List A wickets, so a notable achievement awaits him at Bristol on Sunday if he can get at least the one wicket needed to take him past 150.
So at the end it was a 56-run win for Somerset which helps put the season back on track, but equally as important as the victory was that Somerset looked to have some swagger back and there were smiles on faces again. The players fielded well and showed plenty of energy and rallied round and encouraged each other at every opportunity. They celebrated the final wicket like a trophy had been won and look like they want to play for Somerset, which is refreshing given some of the abject performances witnessed this season, most notably at Taunton.
Let’s hope this new found spirit and determination continues until season end, starting with an away game against our chirpy neighbours Gloucestershire on Sunday.
Maynard is clearly rebuilding his ageing squad for next season and he said after the game: “The energy levels in our side at the moment are fantastic, and I think the public appreciate what we’re trying to do. Their support has been great.
“If you perform consistently – and do the right things – the results will come. Not every time, but they will come. Collectively, as a team, we were superb and I’m delighted for the boys. We’re getting there.”
We certainly hope so!