Back in April I wrote an article asking what constitutes success for Somerset this season. Read that article here. I promised to revisit it halfway through the season so here we are.
Back in April, I suggested that we need to see progression in 2018 in the context of young players coming through. I stand by that and while I don’t think we have yet seen the next generation make an impact in the first XI there is plenty to be optimistic about Tom Banton, Ben Green and Eddie Byrom. None has yet made the big impression but the foundations are being laid and there is real cause for optimism.
Paradoxically the England call-up for Dom Bess seems to have a seen him taken a step back for the County. His non-selection for the Worcestershire game and the subsequent omission from the test squad won’t have helped his confidence. Somerset’s management have a challenge ahead to manage a young man with so much talent both to maximise his potential and to ensure he achieves that at Somerset.
Turning to the team as a whole my success criteria was to see us in contention for the title as we enter September. The logic of that aim was that the experience of the last two seasons will stand us in very good stead.
It seems, barring a catastrophe against Essex, that there is every chance this will be the case. I accept that the gap to the leaders is going to be a tough one to bridge but I’ve just got a feeling….. Remember in 2016 Somerset finished W-D-D-W-W-W from the start of August and while it ultimately wasn’t enough they couldn’t have done any more. Crucially it proved that they had what it takes to cope with the run in and you can argue that this squad is better than the 2016 edition.
My criteria of a top three championship finish should be achieved (try arguing that Division 1 is anything other than a two-horse race).
Which leaves us with the one-day competitions. The 50 over competition went the way of previous years falling short of what this side is capable of. The victory over eventual winners Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl showed what they are capable of so it is a real disappointment to have not progressed.
Which leaves us with the T20. So far so good thanks to the back to back wins last week. Third behind our twin nemeses Kent and Gloucester you would hope that qualification for the knockout is a realistic prospect but to reach finals day a home quarter-final is a big plus. Looking at the fixtures that is achievable, let’s just hope it doesn’t come to down to the last group game, August 16th, Kent at Canterbury!
In conclusion, Somerset are on track for a successful season. The prospect of silverware is still achievable, there is certainly plenty to play for and while the Championship destiny is to some extent out of our hands there is every reason to believe.
Come on Somerset.