A maiden List A century by Somerset’s Adam Hose coupled with the loss of early wickets in pursuit of a target of 297 was too much for Gloucestershire to retain any interest in the latter stages of the 2017 Royal London Cup as they were beaten by their local rivals at the Brightside Ground.
Hose completed an unbeaten hundred off the final ball of the Somerset innings which was reduced to 46 overs in duration by two short breaks for rain, but which had explosive momentum in the closing stages.
The final total of 294-6 was adjusted upwards by Duckworth Lewis after Somerset scored 102 runs in the final phase powerplay, and despite a century stand for the fifth wicket between Jack Taylor and George Hankins, Gloucestershire were left with too much to do once four wickets had gone for only 62 runs. They were finally dismissed for 215, leaving Somerset victors under Duckworth Lewis by 81 runs.
Visiting captain Jim Allenby decided to bat after winning the toss, and opening partner Johan Myburgh (18) was soon on the attack striking four boundaries in the first four overs before he was bowled by Matt Taylor, who also removed Trego (13) after he had a narrow escape with an inside edge which somehow went to the boundary at fine leg.
By the time the rain forced the players off for the first time, Hose had joined skipper Allenby following Hildreth’s flick to Dent at mid wicket in Howell’s first over. They were to add 122 for the fourth wicket either side of another brief interruption, although crucially the partnership could have been broken before it was established had Tom Smith clung onto a caught and bowled chance when Hose had made only 11.
Allenby had already made a century in the competition against Glamorgan, and although he struggled initially, gradually his timing and shot placement sharpened as he and the 6’5 figure of Hose worked the Gloucestershire bowlers around the Brightside ground with composure and common sense, scoring freely square with the wicket on a docile pitch.
The second break for rain came in the 31st over and shortly after Allenby had completed his half century, so when the innings was reduced to 46 overs Somerset needed to find an extra gear. This they did, doubling the score in the remaining 15.2 overs with Allenby attacking the leg side boundary towards Kennington Avenue and pulling Norwell for six to mid wicket.
The ball that dismissed him for 90, bowled by Matt Taylor, looked to stop a little so a steer to third man became an edge to ‘keeper Mustard instead. Only nine overs remained at that point but it brought a torrent of runs as Jamie Overton was dropped twice on his way to 26, and Hose also batted aggressively to go from 50-100 in only 23 balls. He struck three sixes including the one which left him on 99 with one delivery of the innings remaining, so his celebration after paddle sweeping Tom Smith’s final delivery for two runs was understandable.
Left to score at more than six an over from the outset, Gloucestershire needed a solid start with some early pace to their innings. It had neither as Phil Mustard got a leading edge to Craig Overton’s first delivery and Chris Dent was bowled around his legs as he stepped towards the off side. Even Michael Klinger was made to look human by van der Merwe’s left arm spin and while he survived for a while, Ian Cockbain did not, falling to a caught and bowled chance for 16. Klinger’s departure for 26, caught behind off Jamie Overton, left Gloucestershire 62-4.
It meant Jack Taylor needed to chance his arm almost from the word go, and with George Hankins for support his attack was reminiscent of last summer’s T20 quarter final against Durham. Two sixes and a four in one van der Merwe over picked up the run rate, and an edge off Groenewald just eluded ‘keeper Davies before a third six over long on when Jamie Overton returned to the attack left Gloucestershire needing 139 from the last 16 overs.
Taylor’s stand with Hankins had been worth 102 when, trying to clear the rope again, he found the safe hands of van der Merwe on the boundary. His innings of 68 had taken only 50 balls, exactly the same as Hankins (33) whose departure shortly afterwards when van der Merwe was thrown the ball at the pavilion end put Somerset firmly in control.
Leg spinner Max Waller picked up three of the remaining wickets, including that of Liam Norwell, who was last out with more than four overs of the Gloucestershire innings unused. Somerset had won by 81 runs under Duckworth Lewis, and head coach Richard Dawson was honest in his assessment of the match.
“The players have got to take responsibility” Dawson said. “We had them 70-3 and chances went down and they got away again. We’ve only done well in patches and not well enough over 50 overs.”
“I’m disappointed with the performance more than anything. We didn’t do what we said we wanted to do, and we had played on that pitch only two days earlier. We knew what the conditions were going to be like and how we should bowl on that wicket, so the total that Somerset reached was too many.”
Gloucestershire play their last away game in the South group of the Royal London Cup against Sussex at Eastbourne on Sunday.