Somerset 265 from 83.1 overs (C Overton 51, Trescothick 48, Allenby 37, Groenewald 34, Thomas 32*; Patel 5-89, Woakes 3-48) and 170 from 51.4 overs (Abell 88; Clarke 4-43, Patel 4-47) lost to Warwickshire 365 from 115.5 overs (Hain 103, Trott 87, Westwood 67, Patel 41, Chopra 33; C Overton 6-74, Thomas 3-106) and 74-3 (Evans 36*) by seven wickets. Warwickshire 22 points, Somerset 4 points.
Director of Cricket Matt Maynard blamed Somerset’s first innings batting for letting them down as the team slipped to an expected defeat against Warwickshire after 24 overs’ play at Edgbaston on the fourth morning.
Maynard said Somerset’s inability to score big was putting them under pressure from the outset, meaning they were constantly having to chase games rather than dictate terms.
He praised the bowling attack, who made life hard for the Warwickshire batsmen this morning as they chased down 71 to win for the loss of three wickets.
It may be the week of the 34th anniversary of Headingley 1981; but any romantic hopes of a similar upset were never on the cards given the extremely low total Somerset were defending.
Yet the fact that Somerset were able to reduce their hosts to 36-3 today was a marked indication that if their batsmen had managed to scrape together even another 100-150 runs across either innings, they would have been in a position to mount a decent challenge with the ball on the final afternoon.
Warwickshire resumed on six without loss this morning and it was Alfonso Thomas who made an early breakthrough when he had Varun Chopra caught by Jim Allenby in the slips for four with the total on eight.
Ian Westwood and Laurie Evans then took the total onto 35 when Allenby accounted for Westwood who was caught at second slip by Marcus Trescothick.
Three overs later Craig Overton had Jonathan Trott without scoring, caught by Tim Groenewald, to give him his seventh wicket in the match and to leave Warwickshire on 36-3.
Despite those two quick wickets, Evans and the new batsman, first innings centurion Sam Hain, remained together to see Warwickshire to 74 off 28.3 overs. Evans remained unbeaten on 36 while Hain was not out 10.
Afterwards Maynard said: “Our first innings batting let us down and we were behind the eight ball. In the second innings we didn’t establish the partnerships. It is noticeable that the intensity that Yorkshire and Warwickshire have in the field is right up there and they are the two top sides that we have played against this year. They created good pressure with the ball.
“I thought that we bowled fantastically and Craig Overton has had a wonderful match with both bat and ball. In the first innings we went from 88 for two to 88 for four and he pulled us out of that situation. Our first innings is an area that we need to put right before we play Worcestershire in our next LV= County Championship game.”
He went on: “When we have done well in our first innings it has put us in strong positions in the game and we have capitalised because our bowling unit is doing well. However when we are chasing games and we don’t get the par score for the wicket, we find ourselves under the pump and under pressure.
“We haven’t been able to control games. This is not a position we want to be in and that’s what we have got to address in our last five games.”
Somerset’s willingness to gift wickets to rash shots in the second innings when they are behind the eight ball – as witnessed yesterday at Edgbaston and on the final afternoon against Sussex at Taunton – is another area which is causing huge concern. Maynard has spoken before about the side’s propensity to “switch off” during key moments of games.
He did single out one batsman for praise however: “Tom Abell has been fantastic,” he said. “He has carried his bat twice this year and that shows the quality and class of the young man.”
Somerset now have exactly a month away from red ball cricket. The Royal London One-Day Cup gets under way for the West Country side with a match against Derbyshire at Taunton on Sunday.
Before then though they have two academic matches to fulfil in the NatWest T20 Blast, starting with a visit to the Ageas Bowl in Southampton tomorrow night and finishing with a visit to Taunton by Middlesex on Friday night.
Following their elimination from the competition after defeat at the Oval last Friday, these matches are largely meaningless. However they do provide an opportunity to blood young players, should Maynard wish to do so, and to prepare for the month of white ball cricket to come.