It had been a good holiday weekend for Somerset with two wins against Surrey and Sussex taking the team to the top of the table so far. But the visit of Kent should offer Somerset their sternest challenge to date as this is a side that has beaten Somerset five times from five meetings under Matt Maynard’s reign as Director of Cricket. The Kent youngsters appear to relish playing at Taunton.
But the past is the past and a win, Somerset fans would say, was long overdue.
Kent came into this game with one played and one lost. Their only foray so far being a six wicket defeat at Hampshire. Bell-Drummond, Denly and Stevens all scores runs in that game but the 258 target they posted was easily exceeded by the Hants players in just 45.1 overs, with Tom Alsop scoring a fine century.
The danger man for Kent being their skipper Sam Northeast who scored a memorable century for his team at Taunton in May 2015, a game made famous for the unbeaten 151 by Chris Gayle in a game none who were at Taunton that day would ever forget. Northeast is a major talent in a team brimming with talent, no doubting that.
Somerset kept the same team that had beaten Sussex two days earlier. Kent won the toss and Northeast elected to bat first.
Kent 352 for 6 (50 overs)
Somerset enjoyed some early success when Josh Davey removed Joe Denly for a duck in the first over, but the Kent batsmen produced two fine centuries that dominated their innings as they set Somerset an imposing target.
Daniel Bell-Drummond and Sam Northeast put on 115 for the second wicket before the skipper became van der Merwe’s only wicket with a catch from Max Waller having just passed 50. Darren Stevens came and went for 14 and Kent were 146-3 after 31.5 overs.
But Bell-Drummond was joined by Alex Blake and these two helped themselves to a ton each and enjoyed a stand of 120 to take the score to 266-3.
Bell-Drummond (106, inc. 8x4s) was c Hildreth b Davey but Blake continued the charge. His 116 came off just 58 balls and included a whopping 10x4s and 7x6s. It was a brilliant knock that ended with his team on 327 after 47.6 overs.
Sean Dickson hit 31 off 15 balls as Kent finished on a very imposing 352-6 off their 50 overs. Somerset knew they would have to bat well to beat that score.
Craig Overton took 3 wickets and Josh Davey two for Somerset.
Somerset 354 for 6 (47.3 overs)
Poor old Steve Davies. Much heralded since his arrival from Surrey but he bagged a third consecutive duck after 2.4 overs as Somerset stuttered on 15-1. Jim Allenby went soon after. He had scored 18 of his team’s 19 when he was second man out and Kent were on top.
But Peter Trego decided it was his time to steal the limelight and he became Somerset’s third man in three games to hit an impressive hundred. It was vintage Tregs. First he enjoyed a stand of 109 with Dean Elgar (55) then 131 with James Hildreth (64) who also batted beautifully and without fear. When Hildy was out caught at point attempting the reverse-sweep, Somerset were well set on 258-4 after 37.3 overs needing another 95 from 75 balls.
Tregs continued the charge and hit 6x4s and 6x6s in all. His 135 runs came from 119 balls but Harris combined with bowler Tredwell to remove him when Somerset were 295.
In came Roelof to join Adam Hose. Hosey was brimming with confidence after his 76 on Sunday and he struck a very classy and important 39 in 28 balls to take the game away from Kent. Lewis and Roly saw the team home and Somerset won by 4 wickets with 15 balls left.
It was an exceptional run chase – Somerset’s highest in the 50-over format and third highest ever. Somerset really are on fire in this competition this season.
Somerset (2 points) beat Kent (0) by 4 wickets.
Umpires – ID Blackwell and JW Lloyds
A couple of days off for the team before they head to south Wales on Friday to play Glamorgan who lost to Sussex on Tuesday by 59 runs (D/L method). The Welshmen have won one of three games played going into the game.