Nottinghamshire Outlaws 261-8 from 50 overs (Franklin 59 not out, Patel 46, Wessels 44, Read 42, Gregory 3-54, Groenewald 2-57) tied with Somerset 261-8 from 50 overs (Compton 68, Trescothick 61, Ingram 50, Ball 3-57, Gurney 3-62)
A scampered single off the last ball by Tim Groenewald earned his side a tie in a nailbiting finish at Trent Bridge last Tuesday after it seemed a Somerset collapse had cost them the fixture.
Somerset went into the final over needing seven to win, with Alfonso Thomas at the crease with Groenewald. Nottinghamshire kept things extremely tight, so Somerset were only able to make five off the first five balls, leaving Groenewald with two to score off the final ball to secure a win. In the end he could only push a single to tie the game.
In truth, Somerset had thrown away something of a winning position, after a comfortable opening partnership worth 125 from Marcus Trescothick and Nick Compton, made in 25.2 overs in pursuit of the Outlaws’ 261-8.
After a slow start, the pair looked in complete control. Both players took the attack to Nottinghamshire’s experienced pace attack, as well as keeping the scoreboard ticking over, taking ones and twos almost at will. After struggling in the T20 tournament, Trescothick seemed to find the 50 over game much more to his liking and looked in good touch, despite surviving a couple of appeals for run-out and lbw He hit a big six off Fletcher into cow corner and stroked four fours including a beautiful drive straight down the ground off Steven Mullaney and a lofted drive off Samit Patel.
It was an excellent platform, but, possibly distracted after a brief stoppage for a fire alarm going off in one of the stands, Trescothick played a ball from Mullaney round the corner into the hands of Luke Fletcher at short fine leg. He had made an excellent 61 off 69 balls with four fours and a six.
One wicket soon brought two more. First, a brilliant diving catch by Michael Lumb running backwards at mid off saw Trego on his way for just two off the bowling of Jake Ball.
Ball then took a second wicket with the very next delivery, as he trapped Compton lbw for 68, leaving Somerset 136-3 off 28.4 overs.
Compton had made his runs off 93 balls with seven fours and looked set for a big score. He’d played some lovely shots including a drive through mid-wicket off Patel for four, but also played some attacking shots including punching Fletcher through point and lofting Patel down the ground.
Hildreth survived the hat-trick ball, hitting it for two, and then put on 67 for the fourth wicket with Colin Ingram in 13.4 overs.
By now, Notts were bowling a much tighter line than in the early part of Somerset’s innings, but at 203-3 in the 43rd over, Somerset still looked to be set for victory.
There then happened one of those collapses which seasoned travelling supporters should have perhaps become inured to over the last few years. Somerset lost five wickets for 41 runs in six overs, including 4-15 in 13 balls as the Notts bowlers pitched the ball up and the yorkers started to come out with some regularity.
First Hildreth went to cut a full length ball from Fletcher and was bowled. He’d had a let off early in his innings when he drilled a ball from Steven Mullaney back at the bowler who couldn’t hold on. He went on to make 27, but it was a measure of the control Notts were beginning to exert that those runs were made off 43 balls with only one four.
Ingram was the next man to go, bowled by Harry Gurney, after a near run-a-ball 50 with six fours and one pulled six off Fletcher. Shortly afterwards Gurney also bowled Overton for 3, knocking his off-stump out of the ground.
Then Barrow’s leg stump was sent cart-wheeling to give Ball his third wicket. Three balls later Lewis Gregory made it three wickets for Gurney when he was caught by Ball for a quickfire 18.
Somerset were 244-8, needing 18 off 11 balls.
That Somerset secured the tie after that, was thanks to some cool heads from Groenewald and Thomas in the final two overs, and in particular a six smashed by Groenewald off Gurney in the penultimate over which reduced the runs required going into the final six balls.
Earlier, Somerset’s bowlers had done a good job in restricting a strong, international class Notts batting line-up from making a bigger score.
Two partnerships in particular threatened to take the game away from Somerset, Patel and Riki Wessels putting on 90 for the fourth wicket in 17.4 overs after they’d been reduced to 42-3 and later James Franklin and Chris Read put on 71 in 13 overs for the sixth wicket.
But each time Somerset pegged them back and Trescothick admitted afterwards they felt they’d restricted Notts to a good score, which they could knock off later.
Alex Hales had looked dangerous at the top of the order, taking 13 off Gregory’s opening over, but he was caught Barrow off Thomas for 23 in the fourth over. Groenewald then bowled Hales’ fellow opener Lumb for seven. After a brilliant one-handed diving catch at slip by Trescothick accounted for Notts skipper James Taylor for nine, Notts were in a bit of trouble at 42-3 in the ninth over.
Somerset kept things extremely tight, but gradually Patel and Wessels built a partnership, and started to take the attack to the opposition, particularly to George Dockrell whose two overs cost 18 runs.
Wessels also hit a big straight six down the ground off Groenewald and then pulled one square of the wicket for another maximum later in the same over.
Eventually it was Craig Overton who made the breakthrough as Dockrell took a good catch running backwards at mid-on. Patel had made for 46 off 64 balls with eight fours. Notts were 132-4 and it was a wicket maiden for Overton whose figures were now a tidy 6-1-25-1.
Trego then made the breakthrough at the other end as Wessels went to pull a straight one and was bowled. He scored 44 off 52 balls with four fours and two sixes. Notts were 142-5 off 29.5 overs and Trego’s figures an extremely economical 6-2-19-1.
Notts could have folded from there, but with Franklin providing the anchor, they started to rebuild. Veteran keeper Read played the attacking role and brought up the 200 with a big six off Groenewald.
Notts lost two further wickets, both to Gregory. First Mullaney hit Gregory down the ground straight to Groenewald at long off and then Fletcher cut him to Hildreth at deep cover.
But Franklin made sure he was still there at the end, reaching his half-century in the process and finishing with 59* off 66 balls with five fours and making sure Notts finished with a total which ultimately proved – just – too much for Somerset to overhaul.
(Somerset bowling figures Gregory 10-1-54-3; Thomas 10-0-60-1; Groenewald 10-1-57-2; C Overton 10-1-39-1; Trego 8-2-29-1; Dockrell 2-0-18-0)
Ultimately the tie may not have been the result we should have left Trent Bridge with, after restricting a strong Notts side to a manageable total and reaching 125-0 midway through our innings.
The collapse was seemingly one of those Somerset moments where we seize defeat from the jaws of victory. However it’s testament to a much stronger Somerset mindset this season, that from that position we still managed to walk away from Trent Bridge with a point.
Given the strength of the opposition, playing in their own back yard, we would probably have taken that before start of play. But we need to make sure we make sides pay when we get ourselves into similar winning positions in future, if we are to progress to the quarter final stages of the competition.
Afterwards Colin Ingram told the official club website: “It was an exciting game today and it went right to the wire. At the end we got a tie and were just one run away from a winning performance.
“They bowled a really well at the death, it wasn’t as if it was terrible batting from us, we just lost wickets at the wrong time.
“If we had been just a little more proactive we could have made it a little bit easier on ourselves but in general it was a real positive performance.”
Talking about his own innings Colin said: “I was pleased to hit the ball well and rotate the strike and get us moving, but I’d really liked to have been there at the end to see us home and I feel quite gutted that I wasn’t.”
He added: “We bowled beautifully and there was a lot of control today. We took wickets at the right time so there is a lot of good stuff from today that we can build on and take into the rest of the campaign.”
Marcus told the BBC website: “We’re disappointed. We felt we’d kept them to a good score and felt we could knock it off.
“We got off to a really good start with myself and Compo putting 120-odd on, but it needed one of us to go on and get 80 or 90 perhaps. It would have been a different outcome then, I’m sure.
“When you look back on the day, you know they are a good side and to come here at any time and get a point is a decent result, but it could have been more.”
Notts and England seam bowler Harry Gurney told the BBC: “We’ve had some close results recently, and it was honours even today which is slightly frustrating when you first walked off the pitch, but when we reflect on it, a point apiece is probably the fair result.
“We thought north of 280 was probably par, but our batsmen can’t get 300 every week so us bowlers need to stand up.
“I was beginning to wonder where my first wicket was going to come from, but the yorkers started to come out right towards the end and I was always confident that Fletch would do the business in the final over.”
BBC Radio Nottingham’s Dave Bracegirdle said:
“What a dramatic conclusion. There is a fair amount of resilience and steeliness in the Notts side this season, always refusing to accept they are beaten.
“That may come to their aid as far as winning trophies is concerned over the next few weeks, but today it was enough to secure a precious point.
“Fair play to Somerset, it was an absolutely gripping contest – one-day cricket at its very best.”
Somerset: ME Trescothick*, NRD Compton, PD Trego, CA Ingram, JC Hildreth, L Gregory, C Overton, AWR Barrow†, TD Gronewald, AC Thomas, GH Dockrell
Notts Outlaws: MJ Lumb, AD Hales, JWA Taylor*, SR Patel, MH Wessels, JEC Franklin, CMW Read†, SJ Mullaney, LJ Fletcher, JT Ball, HF Gurney