Second XI Championship - 03 May 2021
Venue: Taunton Vale
Somerset v Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire made the short journey south to compete against local rivals Somerset, looking to strive for improvement following a dramatic defeat against Yorkshire. With a 2-week break to recuperate, Gloucestershire named a strong side featuring the likes of Jack Taylor, Benny Howell, Miles Hammond, and Graeme van Buuren. Somerset also fielding a solid side including experienced opener Eddie Byrom and young prodigy Will Smeed.
On a cold and very blustery opening day, Somerset won the toss and elected to bowl. The first day was then heavily affected by the weather with only 36 overs allowed to be bowled by the home side, with Gloucestershire struggling with the conditions reaching 90-6. The threatening opening bowling from Leonard dismissing our top order with impressive pace and bounce.
On the second day, the weather drastically improved allowing a full days play which allowed our middle to lower order to bat with great patience and discipline to reach 268 all out. Academy duo Will Naish (43) & Max Trotman (44) putting together a solid partnership of 66, followed by a quick dash from Harry Hankins (68) & George Barlow (34) to give Gloucestershire a respectable total. Credit must go to Somerset bowlers Leonard (5 for 76) & Karvelas (4 for 48) who were outstanding throughout the innings.
With Somerset now at the crease in reply, Gloucestershire’s Jared Warner (2 for 57) then showcased his talent by trapping Byrom LBW then having Young caught shortly after. Wicket Keeper Max Trotman then showed great awareness and accuracy to run out the dangerous Smeed to leave Somerset reeling at 16 for 3. This allowed opposition skipper Green (74) and Wicket Keeper Rew (70*) to bat without too much trouble and dig deep to reach 197 for 5 at the end of days play. Harry Hankins (0 for 17) unfortunate not to take a wicket but bowled with great discipline to go for only a mere 17 runs from his 11 overs.
Day three was also unfortunately affected by the poor weather with only 32 overs being bowled. Somerset declared, to allow Gloucestershire a chance to bat again and switch the order around to let Will Naish & Graeme van Buuren open the innings. Will Naish (31) once again looking comfortable within Second XI set up, hitting a number of straight drives and pull shots before being caught behind off the bowling of Leonard. He was ably supported by Benny Howell (44), who also played some eye-catching shots before being dismissed on the final ball of the day. Gloucestershire finishing 100 for 3 with a lead of 171.
A delayed start to Day four meant play could only resume after lunch, and as the sun shone in Taunton so did Miles Hammond (53*) compiling a well-crafted half century. Gloucestershire added another 72 runs to their total before declaring on 172 for 6 to set up an exciting run chase for Somerset, 244 required in 52 overs for the home side.
Somerset started positively, with Rew (43) and Banton (44) batting with clear intent in looking to reach the total. Jared Warner (3 for 47) and Alex Russell (3 for 76) then pulled it back for Gloucestershire with a flurry of wickets in the middle to late order, Somerset left reeling at 155 for 9 with nearly 20 overs left in the days play. This brought together Toohey and Horton who showed great defiance and skill in their last wicket partnership to bat for 116 balls to ensure a draw was met after what was a roller coaster of a day for both sides.
Gloucestershire Second XI continue in the County Championship competition and travel to Newport to play Glamorgan on the 11th May.