Two months ago Josh Davey and George Dockrell were battling it out for their countries on the other side of the globe in the World Cup, earning plaudits for their contributions on the international stage.
Their latest heroics may have come in the less rarefied setting of a Second XI game at the always immaculate Taunton Vale last week, but the pair continued to demonstrate the strides they made during a winter spent playing international cricket.
Both men hit big centuries in a three-day friendly against Hampshire Seconds to set up a Somerset total of 555 and an overwhelming victory by an innings and 227 runs.
With Davey also taking four wickets in Hampshire’s first innings and Dockrell four in their second dig, the pair continued to make a strong case for inclusion in Somerset’s first XI.
Davey set the tone for the Somerset innings after Hampshire had been bowled out for just 148. Coming to the wicket at number four after Tom Abell (28) and Sam Wyatt-Haines (4) had fallen to leave Somerset on 39-2, he shared a partnership worth 61 in 19 overs with James Regan (25).
That was just a taster as he dominated a 152-run stand with Adam Hose (52). Somerset ended day one on 267-4 with a lead of 119 and Davey unbeaten on 129.
The following morning Davey shared a further stand of 41 with Craig Overton (25) before finally falling for 146 after almost four hours at the crease. In total he faced 195 deliveries and hit 21 of them to the boundary. It was an innings of great maturity and concentration, as well as containing plenty of attacking shots.
The Irishman was ably supported by Joel Harden (58), whose father Richard played for Somerset in the 1980s. Jack Leach also chipped in with an unbeaten 26 at number 11, sharing a stand of 99 with Dockrell for the tenth wicket.
By contrast Hampshire had little answer for Somerset either with bat or ball. In their first innings 148, Davey claimed four wickets for 44 from 11.3 overs while Overton picked up 3 for 39 from 10 overs, demonstrating the progress he has made since returning from injury. Wyatt-Haines also took two wickets.
Any remote hopes Hampshire may have had of batting out time for a draw were soon put to rest as the Somerset bowlers kept the home side on top once again as two wickets apiece for Dockrell and Overton plus one for Ollie Sale reduced the visitors to 105 for 5 at the close of day two.
Hampshire began day three still 302 in arrears of their hosts and once Sean Terry (son of England and Hampshire batsman Paul) fell for 69 to leave Hampshire 137-6, the game was almost over beyond a little wagging from the tail which took the visitors to 180 all out.
Dockrell finished with 4 for 32 from 18.4 overs while Sale claimed 4 for 55 from 14 overs as Somerset wrapped up an impressive victory.
Afterwards, Dockrell attributed his century to the winter he spent with Ireland.
He said: “I was pretty happy to get 130 for the Seconds and it was just one of those days when everything went well for me from the first ball that I faced. I seemed to be hitting it cleanly and just carried on being aggressive throughout the innings.
“The last century I scored was a long time ago, in fact I think that it was when I was opening in Under 13s School cricket in Dublin, so it’s been a while since I raised the bat for scoring a ton.
“It was also good to get some wickets in a game that was really good for the team because we beat Hampshire by so much. It was really nice get a ‘four for’ to help with that.”
Talking about his winter George said: “I have had a good winter away with Ireland and had plenty of opportunity to bat. I have done a lot of work in the nets so was just trying to take this out into the middle and it was one of those days when it came off.
“I think that my experience with Ireland at the World Cup has helped me a great deal and having spent time facing some of the top international bowlers during the winter, including Morne Morkel has really helped me with my batting.
“The facilities at the World Cup were top class and to get the opportunity to bat against net bowlers on your own for 30 minutes every day on some good cricket pitches has really helped me and given me a platform to work on my batting.”
Other Somerset Second XI news
- Josh Davey claimed 4-17 and Max Waller 3-7 as Somerset dismissed Exeter University for just 81 to win by 87 runs in the 31st over in a pre-season one-day friendly at Exeter CC. Earlier Sam Underdown (42) and Ollie Sale (50) top scored for Somerset who were all out for 168 in 37.3 overs. Among Davey’s wickets was Exeter University’s captain Tom Abell, trapped lbw for 0, playing against his Somerset teammates in this encounter.
- Tom Abell more than made up for his duck for Exeter University with a magnificent 181 (238 balls, 29×4) against Gloucestershire in a two-day friendly at Taunton Vale. Abell dominated a Somerset first innings of 340, sharing a stand worth 90 with George Bartlett (44). That was in reply to Gloucestershire’s first innings 139 with Jack Leach taking 3-18 and two wickets apiece for Sale and Davey. Leach posed even more problems in Gloucestershire’s second innings, finishing with 5-51 from his 17 overs, three of which were maidens, as the visitors were all out for 206. Davey ended with 2-44. Somerset needed six to win, which they duly scored from three ball to win by 10 wickets.
- Somerset beat Devon at Tiverton Heathcoat CC in a one-day friendly on 11 April after making 220 all out in 47.1 overs. Davey hit 48 and Dockrell 37 to warm up for their centuries to come against Hampshire. In reply Devon fell for 84, with Davey taking 4-36 from 10 overs, while Sale claimed 3-34 as Somerset won by 136 runs.