Now the first game (and first win) of the season is in the books we have got something more tangible to go on when we consider what constitutes success for Somerset in 2018.
There is no doubt that it has been an encouraging start albeit against opponents who will almost certainly be in the relegation mix come September and it is very much a case of small sample size at the moment but I’m going to try and distil some thoughts and see where it takes us.
I’m asking this question now as I plan to revisit this piece later in the season. I’m also asking it now because as the summer progresses perceptions of what constitutes success can and will change. We are at the business end of the football season and I’m certain many supporters of many teams across the country will have a completely different view of what they hope / expect their team to achieve than they did last August.
It goes without saying that all Somerset supporters emerge from hibernation in April dreaming of that elusive first Championship. Winning the title is obviously the ultimate ambition and would certainly pass the “success” criteria, especially with our recent track record of being runners-up so many times. I genuinely believe we have as good a chance as any and better than most but if, heaven forbid, we fall short what do I want to see achieved?
In essence we need to see progression. We are established in Division 1 and have been for a considerable period of time, have developed a tremendous pipeline of young talent and seen international recognition over the winter. If Craig Overton, Jack Leach or possibly Dom Bess get England call ups this summer we will need replacements to contribute regularly. Using this criteria, I’d like to be looking back at the end of the season and giving honourable mentions to at least two of the “next wave”.
As a team I’d really like to see us in contention for the title as we enter September. If we are there is a strong argument that the experience of the last two seasons will stand us in very good stead. I’m going to set the bar high here and say at the very least a top three championship finish.
In the one-day competitions, which we’ve fallen short of our previous high standards in the last couple of years I am looking for Somerset to get to either the 50 over final or T20 Finals Day. Sorry to be harsh but making the knock out stages of both competitions isn’t good enough for a club of Somerset’s pedigree. I’m not going to say win a trophy as once you get to a final there is a huge amount of chance which has an influence on the outcome.
So, while silverware isn’t a must it isn’t unreasonable for a club with our depth, resources and track record. I’ll come back to this in mid-Summer and see where we are, and interestingly how much my perceptions have changed!