Yorkshire clash brings season full circle for Somerset

LV=CCAnd so Somerset’s 2014 season ends as it began with a four-day LV County Championship match against Yorkshire, this time away at Headingley.

A lot has changed since the two sides last met at the County Ground in mid-April when Somerset piled up a first innings total of 553 in a drawn game on a flat pitch.

Since then Somerset rose to the top of the first division, only to fall away as the season progressed and an indifferent run in the limited over campaigns took its toll. Yorkshire meanwhile went from strength to strength and comfortably took the championship title with a game to spare, despite losing key players to England throughout the summer.

For Somerset then, this week is all about pride and the chance to finish as high as possible in the table. A top three position is still just possible if Somerset manage to pull off an upset this week.

On paper then, with the championship already in Yorkshire’s hands, Somerset have more to play for.

But anyone who believes Yorkshire might take their eye off the ball this week that they might relax and simply enjoy their homecoming, should think again.

Yorks LogoMake no mistake, Yorkshire will be going all out for a victory this week.

Yes, the game will offer a chance for the White Rose side to show off their trophy in front of their home fans. But, in the words of Yorkshire all-rounder Rich Pyrah, it’s also the perfect opportunity to reward the Headingley faithful for their support by securing their ninth win of the season.

Pyrah told the YCCC website: “I know we’ve won it, but to play in front of our home crowd as champions will be fantastic.

“Hopefully we get another win for them before lifting the trophy at home, which is something we really want to do. It excites us, and it’s like a cup final really.

“We won’t take it for granted that we’ve already won the league, we will go out there and try and win the game because the crowd have supported us well all year and we want to go out in style.

“It would be wrong, with the standards we’ve been playing to, to let those standards slip now. Let’s finish on a high.”

Tres headSomerset skipper Marcus Trescothick acknowledged that an interesting four days lies ahead for his side.

Marcus told the SCCC website: “This is an interesting game for us because Yorkshire are going to be parading the Championship Trophy around.

“They are a good side and we appreciate that but there are still places to be played for, so we have got to try to put in a performance and get a victory.”

Marcus added: “It’s always hard work obviously when you see the trophy being paraded but it is a good challenge for us, and will make us all the hungrier.”

Outgoing Director of Cricket Dave Nosworthy said: “ This is our last game and I think that it will be a good challenge for the team against the champions and we want to make sure that we finish the season as well as we can.

“These are always tough games to play because there is not a lot in it apart from position, but I think the one thing we have seen from the game against Middlesex is that our boys are keen to finish strongly to take what they can into next season which is important.”

The DOC added: “We have always had high standards and hopefully our guys can keep up those high standards.”

Somerset can take a lot of positives from the last time these two sides met in April. Yorkshire notched up 342-5 on the opening day with Rashid and Hodd both well set and a score of 500 plus well within their sights on day two. But once the pair had taken the visitors’ total past 400, Somerset’s bowling attack, despite Craig Overton going off injured, fought back to take the last five wickets for just 48 runs.

Somerset then made 553 against some testing bowling, particularly from a lively Liam Plunkett. Six batsmen passed 50, Johann Myburgh top scoring on his Somerset debut with 91.

The match eventually petered out as a draw on a flat pitch as Alfonso Thomas joined Overton on the injury list and Somerset were reduced to just two front-line bowlers in Meschede and Gregory, plus the part-time spin of Myburgh and Petersen. Yorkshire declared their second innings closed at 193-4. But Somerset had shown a lot of resolve and fight, something they can draw on over the next four days at Headingley.

Yorkshire have named a 13-man squad for their final match of the season. Tim Bresnan is out with a torn pectoral muscle. Missing from the XI which played Somerset in April are skipper Andrew Gale, New Zealand overseas player Kane Williamson and Liam Plunkett.

HT1_1979The Yorkshire squad is as follows (those in bold played against Somerset in April): Bairstow, Ballance, Brooks, Fisher, Hodd, Leaning, Lees, Lyth, Patterson, Pyrah, Rashid, Root (captain), Sidebottom.

Somerset meanwhile will make their final selection from the following squad of 13: Marcus Trescothick (Captain), Tom Abell, Nick Compton, Tim Groenewald, James Hildreth, Craig Kieswetter, Jack Leach, Craig Meschede, Johann Myburgh, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Alfonso Thomas and Pete Trego.