Thursday 26th September 2019 will be a notable day for Somerset County Cricket Club. It could be the day that Somerset finally break their duck and win the County Championship; it could already have been won, or quite possibly lost against a highly-talented Essex side.
Regardless of whether the title is lifted for the first time in 124 years, or whether Somerset finish runners-up for the 5th time in 9, the day will be tinged with sadness. For that will be the last day Marcus Trescothick and Peter Trego are Somerset players.
What adds to that sadness is that the two of them will not be involved in the action on the pitch, with Trego only having a white ball contract for the season and Trescothick being out of the team after his poor form at the start of the year.
It is a shame, in many ways, that for two club icons their time at Taunton will end like this. Tregs didn’t get an on-pitch send off against Middlesex when the team was really calling out for him to come in at 3. And now it seems Trescothick, the icon of Somerset, will not get his one either.
It feels like an end of an era, but for me as a Somerset fan particularly so. I was born in 1999, so Trescothick was already a Somerset regular by that point, about to breakthrough into the England team the following year. Peter Trego would make his first-class debut for the county before my first birthday. These are the last two Somerset players from this era to be playing, with James Hildreth being a few years younger.
I am not a Somerset native, nor am I from a massive cricketing family either. My Grandad was a member at Lancashire for a number of years, but my Dad is not a major fan of the sport, and growing up in Germany meant my exposure was minimal. I can vaguely recall England being beaten by the Netherlands in the 2007 World Cup (we have a Dutch family friend), and some of the 2009 Ashes series – but nothing major.
As a result, my love of Somerset was not formed at the County Ground but via the County coverage on Sky – mainly the white ball. And in these formats, Tres and Tregs excelled. It is hard to put into words how exciting it was to watch, those two in full flow with the bat alongside Kieswetter, Pollard, Buttler, and Hildreth.
I can remember watching the t20 final against Hampshire, when we came so cruelly close to winning, being beaten only on a technicality and the fact Kieron Pollard had his eyeball bounced out. I was at home, sitting down with the family watching Somerset play in what we called their “bin bag” kit.
It was a couple of years down the line when I saw my first Somerset game at the County Ground – albeit not the one in Taunton. For my birthday we went to Worcester to watch Somerset beat the Pears in the t20 group stage. I know I got some autographs that day, but I cannot find them for the life of me.
My first game at the County Ground was yet another t20 game not long after as Somerset beat Essex in the 2012 Quarter-Final. A few days later and I was watching us beat the “Welsh Dragons”, as Tregs hit 81, scoring 16 boundaries in the process.
Living away from Somerset, my attendance at games is hit and miss each season, but thankfully I have Sky so can catch all the games on there. I can remember seeing Tres ‘keep in the t20 for a spell, and hearing him mic’d up talking tactics behind the stumps.
The most memorable performances from these two for me was at the County Ground was in 2016, when we lost against Middlesex – the defeat which killed our chances of winning the County Championship.
For me though, the game was special as I saw both Trescothick and Trego, in partnership, get hundreds each, with Tres’ in particular seeing him reach 49 centuries for Somerset. The pull shots and cover drives from the former England man and the aggression of Trego were superb to watch.
This year, perhaps the only disappointment on that day at Lord’s where we finally, after 14 attempts, overcame those demons and won a final, was that Trescothick wasn’t part of the playing team. If anyone deserved to lift that trophy alongside the squad who played, it was him.
I am desperate for the Essex game to be the one that sees us get the double and that elusive County Championship. It will be one of the tensest matches fans could ever watch, with the feeling I had when we lost Azhar and Banton in the run chase at Lord’s stretching over potentially four days.
But aside from breaking the duck, it would be nice to do so in the last Somerset game Trescothick and Trego will be involved with as players. Their incredible service for the County, bringing their quite different personalities to the fore both on-and-off pitch with incredible distinction means they deserve to have this joy before their playing time is up.
The County Championship has eluded all the greats who have played for Somerset previously – from Harold Gimblett to the 80s stars of Botham, Richards and Garner. To win it now, as two icons leave the County Ground as players for the final time, would be the greatest way to not only send them off, but to mark the changing of the guard.