Sussex 200 all out (J Lewis 43, BC Brown 38, WAT Beer 38, TD Groenewald 3-41, CAJ Meschede 2-45) and 317-8 (LWP Wells 178*, SAA Zaidi 55, TD Rouse 3-37) beat Somerset 254 all out (JE Burke 65, MTC Waller 62, TD Rouse 35, LWP Wells 3-6, LJ Hatchett 2-39) and 197 all out (JE Burke 71, N Brand 42, SAA Zaidi 5-35, LJ Hatchett 2-19) by 66 runs
Somerset: 7 points, Sussex 22 points
A commanding 178 from Luke Wells helped a strong Sussex side come from behind to beat Somerset in their final Second XI Championship game of the season at Blackstone last Wednesday.
The 23-year-old left-hander stroked 21 fours and six sixes during a four and a half hour stay at the crease as Sussex recovered from 70-5 in their second innings to declare 263 runs ahead.
Coming together on the second evening with Sussex just 16 runs ahead, Wells, son of former England batsman Alan, shared a 167-run partnership in 45 overs with all-rounder Ash Zaidi, who made 55.
The declaration set up a final afternoon run chase, which saw Somerset bowled out 66 runs short. That was in large part thanks to an excellent spell of left-arm spin bowling from Zaidi who took 5-35 in just seven overs as the visitors lost their last five wickets for 43 runs.
Somerset’s second innings collapse came despite a knock of 71 from James Burke – to go with the 65 he made in the first innings – playing one of his final games for the club after signing a two-year deal with Surrey.
Sussex first innings
At the half-way stage of the game however, Somerset Seconds had the upper hand. They bowled out a Sussex side (containing many of their first XI regulars) for just 200 in their first innings, with Tim Groenewald taking 3-41 to remove the middle order after Craig Meschede picked up both openers cheaply, including skipper Michael Yardy for 9.
Despite keeper Ben Brown making 38, Sussex were in real trouble at 123-8 before a 77-run partnership from Jon Lewis (43) and Will Beer (38) took Sussex to a final total of 200 when both men fell in quick succession to spinners Max Waller and George Dockrell respectively.
Somerset first innings
Somerset Seconds began their reply on the second morning and despite losing Chris Jones cheaply, moved past 100 with little difficulty as Burke and skipper Waller shared a stand worth 88 in 19 overs.
When Waller fell for 62 off 80 balls, Somerset were nicely placed at 121-2. However, while the middle order all made starts, none of them were able to go on and make a sizeable score.
Burke fell after a patient innings of 65 made in three hours 20 minutes with 10 boundaries and was followed soon afterwards by Neil Brand and Somerset were 208-6, just eight runs ahead.
Tim Rouse made sure Somerset had a more substantial first innings lead, hitting 35 runs off just 43 balls with seven boundaries before Luke Wells ran through the tail to finish with 3-6.
Sussex second innings
Somerset finished 54 runs ahead and were strong favourites by the close of the second day as Meschede, Groenewald, Callum Stewart and Jamie Overton picked up a wicket a piece. With Stewart also affecting a run out, half of the Sussex side were back in the pavilion with only 70 runs on the board.
But Wells and Zaidi saw out the rest of the evening without incident and pushed on the following morning, sharing a superb partnership before Rouse removed Zaidi and then picked up two other quick wickets as Sussex pushed for the declaration which duly came with the score 317-8.
Somerset second innings
Somerset were immediately in trouble as they began their run chase, losing Jones and Meschede without scoring, while Waller and Regan also fell cheaply, leaving Somerset 31-4 inside 10 overs.
That brought Burke and Neil Brand together and with the pair adding 96 in 16 overs, Somerset’s hopes would have been high.
But Zaidi was introduced into the attack and had Brand adjudged lbw for 42, scored off just 37 balls with five fours and a six.
Groenewald (15) kept Burke company for a while and Somerset would still have harboured hopes of pulling off a victory. But after the pair had added 27 for the sixth wicket, Zaidi proceeded to run through the lower order.
First with the score on 154, Zaidi had Burke caught and bowled for 71 after two hours 20 minutes at the crease. His innings came off 106 balls and contained 11 fours and a six.
Two wickets then fell with the score on 159. Zaidi picked up Groenewald and Beer trapped Rouse (4) lbw with his leg-spin.
Alexander Mellor (20*) and Jamie Overton (12) briefly threatened to cause an upset, adding 28 for the ninth wicket in 4.1 overs before Zaidi had Overton stumped by Ben Brown and picked up George Dockrell (6) caught and bowled. Somerset were all out for 197.
- Somerset Second XI’s match the previous week – a three-day friendly against Gloucestershire at Thornbury – was cancelled due to the weather.
(Full Somerset bowling figures: First innings: TD Groenewald 13-0-41-3, CAJ Meschede 13-5-45-2, J Overton 9-0-40-1, CM Stewart 8-0-37-1, JE Burke 2-0-20-0, GH Dockrell 3-0-6-1, MTC Waller 0.1-0-0-1. Second innings: CAJ Meschede 12-2-34-1, TD Groenewald 18-6-65-1, CM Stewart 12-1-40-1, J Overton 10-1-36-1, GH Dockrell 8-1-51-0, JE Burke 4-1-20-0, MTC Waller 3-1-4-0, TD Rouse 6-0-37-3, N Brand 1-0-22-0)
(In the Second XI Championship, teams can select more than 11 players, but only 11 of them can bat and 11 can field, so for Somerset Stewart bowled and fielded, but did not bat and for Sussex Liddle bowled and fielded, but did not bat).
Somerset Second XI: MTC Waller*, CR Jones, JE Burke, CAJ Meschede, JA Regan+, N Brand, TD Gronewald, TD Rouse, AJ Mellor, J Overton, GH Dockrell, CM Stewart
Sussex Second XI: MH Yardy*, LWP Wells, SA Piolet, BC Brown+, MW Machan, HZ Finch, SAA Zaidi, FJ Hudson-Prentice, J Lewis, WAT Beer, LJ Hatchett, CJ Liddle