There was some great news this week for Somerset fans with the news that the deadly spin twins, Leach & Bess, have signed new deals to extend their stay at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
The incredibly popular Jack Leach will now be a Somerset player until at least the end of the 2019 season and young Dom until the close of the 2018 season.
There has been a long held belief in Cricket that to compete in the County Championship a team needs a world class spinner with 36 year-old Jeetan Patel often held up as an example of that view. Patel justified this standing in 2016 by taking 69 wickets having played in all of Warwickshire’s 16 games. This was achieved by bowling just over 616 overs at an average 24.03.
Leachy is 25 years-old and has enjoyed a magnificent 2016. In comparison he took 65 wickets playing one less game than Patel bowling 90 fewer overs with a more impressive average of 21.88. He claimed five five-wicket hauls during the campaign.
At the end of Somerset’s final home game of 2016 – the demolition of relegated Notts –as the players headed off the field in front of the appreciative home supporters, the biggest cheer of all was afforded to Leachy highlighting his popularity. Taunton-born and a Somerset supporter as a child, Leachy has grown in stature during the season and there is genuine anticipation from fans that wickets will fall when he comes into the attack.
Talk of his being close to an England call-up are justified.
Young Dom heralds from Sidmouth in East Devon. His entry into the 1st XI was late in the season but what an introduction! Playing in the final two homes games, his Specsavers County Championship debut against Warwickshire saw him take six for 28 in the first innings and finish with match figures of 8 for 59. In his second game against Notts he followed up with five for 43 in the first innings. His average of 10.46 led the averages (albeit in only two games).
He is also a useful batter scoring a mature 25 against Warwick and a good 41 batting at number 9 as Somerset racked up the runs in the final game.
Despite producing some decent local spinners in the past few seasons Somerset have signed international class spin bowlers to substantiate their bid to win a first ever County Championship with mixed fortunes. Murali Kartil and Abdur Rehman were as disappointing as they were impressive in their respective time at Taunton. It looks like the next international spin bowlers plying their trade at Somerset will be south west born and bred.