In mid-June last year I was at Islands of Adventure in Orlando totally distracted by the events at Taunton where Somerset fell agonisingly 3 runs short in their pursuit of 262 to beat Yorkshire. For most of the rest of the season it seemed those 3 runs but be what condemned Somerset to relegation from Division 1 of The County Championship for the first time in 10 years.
How that loss has been repaid, first with a convincing 179 run victory at Scarborough last year and now with today’s 118 run victory at home. That win, Somerset’s second from their opening two games places Somerset second in the table behind Notts with a game in hand. Even more encouragingly Somerset are one of only two teams to have only played 2 games in that division and Yorkshire were in my mind one of the three most likely teams to challenge for the title.
Now it has to be said it is still very early in the season and Yorkshire can point to the absence of Root, Bairstow, Plunkett and Willey but such was Somerset’s dominance over the three days after Friday was lost to rain that it could be argued that the outcome was unaffected by those absences.
From the moment Matt Renshaw smashed a hundred before lunch on the first day of play and achieved the twin distinctions of going to his 50 entirely in boundaries and hitting sixes to get off the mark, pass 50 and bring up his ton until Craig Overton took the last Yorkshire wicket with the second new ball Somerset were in the ascendancy.
Despite the now almost inevitable batting collapse on Saturday afternoon Somerset hit back to bowl the visitors out for 96 before the close of the first day. From there some steady batting on day 3 with skipper Tom Abell leading the way set up the platform.
When Lewis Gregory picked up a wicket with the first ball of the final day the result seemed inevitable and despite the expected lower order resistance of the wonderful Tim Bresnan ably supporting Jack Leaning it was all done before tea in bright sunshine on a chill last day of April.
So a fantastic start with the seam attack looking as potent as anything we’ve seen at Taunton for a while and probably up there with Yorkshire’s championship-winning combinations of recent years. While the batting has been patchy and there have been some worrying collapses the ability to produce runs when needed, as on Sunday afternoon, is very encouraging. And the skipper’s role in yesterday’s victory can’t be underestimated.
I can’t wait for Friday at Old Trafford.