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Author Archive for Vic Marks at Taunton

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England’s new national selector runs through options for first Pakistan Test

• Ed Smith is likely to include another new partner for Alastair Cook• In-form James Vince and Sam Curran may get calls for Lord’s partyEd Smith’s first utterances as national selector are awaited with the anticipation of Greeks hastening to Delphi to …

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Tom Abell’s crisp innings puts Somerset in driving seat against Yorkshire

• Somerset 216 & 200, Yorkshire 96 & 49-1• Captain strikes 82 to open up healthy advantage going into final dayA hint of normality returned to the ground that was once the haven of out?of-form batsmen. Just 11 wickets fell in the day, albeit on…

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Matt Renshaw hits another century for Somerset before Yorkshire collapse

• Somerset 216 & 6-0, Yorkshire 96• Cameron Bancroft’s replacement on fire with the batThe ripples of that curious incident in Cape Town have not completely subsided. One consequence has been that Cameron Bancroft never made it to Somerset; he was …

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South Africa edge thriller as England count cost of Jason Roy dismissal

• Second T20: South Africa 174-8; England 171-6
• South Africa win by three runs to level series at 1-1

After a hiatus of 34 years England were welcomed back to the West Country but could not emulate the victory of 1983. Against the odds South Africa won a topsy-turvy contest, laced with a touch of controversy, by three runs. It was a gutsy performance by South Africa and a profligate one by England. For a capacity crowd there was drama and ultimately disappointment when Liam Dawson hit the penultimate ball of the match for four, but was unable to do so with the next.

It had at one stage seemed such plain sailing for England. With six-and-a-half overs to go they had nine wickets intact and needed just 50 runs more. But after the controversial dismissal of Jason Roy – he was given out for obstructing the field – the run chase wilted as South Africa fought back grittily.

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Essex victory hopes could rest on unbeaten Alastair Cook

• Somerset 209 & 174; Essex 129 & 10-0
• Former England captain Cook leading run chase

The fascination of this bizarre match has shifted after two days. On Friday, it all seemed to centre on a rare appearance at county level by the former England captain Alastair Cook. By Saturday night of far greater interest was who was going to win a topsy-turvy contest. It may be that Cook, the only batsman to reach 50, will have the decisive influence.

In this game the scorecard is no more trustworthy than a Southern Railway Sunday timetable. Twelve wickets fell on Friday, 18 wickets on Saturday. The obvious conclusion therefore is that the poor, victimised batsmen of these two teams have been exposed to another Taunton minefield. However, this would be an incorrect assumption.

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Somerset, helpless and heartbroken, still played a part in thrilling finale | Vic Marks

Matthew Maynard’s men at Taunton had plenty to be proud of despite watching Middlesex deny the county what would have been a first Championship title

At least the bar sales were good at Taunton. There was a determination to enjoy the sunshine and the cider (well, there must have been a few drinking cider). All three bars at the ground were full and there was cause to turn to drink. The televisions were on for the masochists.

Related: Middlesex pip Yorkshire and Somerset to title after thrilling finale at Lord’s

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Somerset’s Chris Rogers bows out with win and hopes of championship

• Somerset 365 & 313-5dec v Nottinghamshire 138 & 215
• Chris Rogers scored a century as Somerset won by 325 runs

So Somerset are the leaders in the clubhouse and their players and supporters must contemplate an agonising day monitoring events at Lord’s. They beat Nottinghamshire by 325 runs with Jack Leach adding four more wickets to his season’s haul, which stands at 65, and Chris Rogers in what he confirmed was his last first-class match, hitting another century.

Imran Tahir swung hopelessly and Peter Trego bellowed “mine” before taking the catch, which had everyone in the stands on their feet, applauding a team that has given them some thrilling entertainment over the past six weeks.

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Somerset’s Chris Rogers bows out with win and hopes of championship

• Somerset 365 & 313-5dec v Nottinghamshire 138 & 215
• Chris Rogers scored a century as Somerset won by 325 runs

So Somerset are the leaders in the clubhouse and their players and supporters must contemplate an agonising day monitoring events at Lord’s. They beat Nottinghamshire by 325 runs with Jack Leach adding four more wickets to his season’s haul, which stands at 65, and Chris Rogers in what he confirmed was his last first-class match, hitting another century.

Imran Tahir swung hopelessly and Peter Trego bellowed “mine” before taking the catch, which had everyone in the stands on their feet, applauding a team that has given them some thrilling entertainment over the past six weeks.

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Dom Bess the curse of Notts as he continues to make his name with Somerset

• Somerset 365 & 105-2; Nottinghamshire 138
• 19-year-old off-break bowler makes 41 runs and takes five for 43

It has been an incredible fortnight for Dom Bess, Somerset’s anonymous off-spinner. Actually, he is becoming something of a local hero but at the moment he plays in a shirt that has no name and no number. Bess is not really a fully-fledged professional, but that should change soon – he has started to contemplate his number for next season.

This summer Bess, 19, has been with the academy but suddenly he has become an influential figure in the destination of the County Championship title. Two weeks ago he played his first match against Warwickshire – his first-class debut came when he went wicketless against Pakistan in July – and took eight wickets for 59 . His contribution against Nottinghamshire on Wednesday, 41 runs and five for 43, was just as influential.

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Somerset wreck strong position by losing five wickets without scoring

• Somerset 322-9 v Nottinghamshire
• Title ambitions hit by collapse after Rogers and Hildreth put on 269

A touch of melodrama has been anticipated in this last round of County Championship matches, with fluctuations as severe as a Roy Keane stare. Yet the last half an hour of play when Somerset squandered what had been the perfect start to their attempted heist of the Championship pennant they have never won, beggared belief.

At one point Somerset were basking at 302 for two after a record partnership against Nottinghamshire of 269 between Chris Rogers and James Hildreth. This position deteriorated to 322 for four after both centurions had been dismissed. Then the rot set in.

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Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir roars back to post early warning to England

• Pakistan 359-8dec & 140/4 v Somerset 128
• Bowler takes three wickets on first appearance in England since 2010 scandal

The only discernible difference was the absence of a mop of jet-black hair. Mohammad Amir marked out his run, a wine-dark Duke cricket ball in his hand and off he sped as rhythmically as six years ago when his dismantling of England’s upper order at Lord’s was rapidly overtaken by more sinister events.

Related: Alastair Cook warns Mohammad Amir to expect a spot of abuse at Lord’s

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Younis Khan makes hay at Somerset on good day for Pakistan’s over-30s

• Somerset v Pakistanis 324-5
• Younis puts on 179 with Asad Shafiq against experimental attack

Below the rolling hills of the Quantocks, Pakistan enjoyed a gentle start to their tour, sedately compiling 324 for five against Somerset’s enthusiastic second‑string attack. Their batsmen are old enough to recognise a benign opportunity when they see one. Five of the first six are over 30 and one of them, the captain Misbah ul Haq, is 42. Younis Khan, who is a mere 38, and Asad Shafiq (30) deftly added 179 together in the evening sunshine.

This was all very satisfactory for the tourists, not quite so rewarding for the newshounds who had descended upon Taunton to catch a glimpse of Mohammed Amir in his first appearance back in England since the misfortunes of 2010.

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County Championship roundup: Marcus Trescothick hits unbeaten century

• Somerset opener hits 129 not out in draw with Lancashire
• Kent post the round’s only win, beating Glamorgan by 10 wickets

Marcus Trescothick’s 60th first-class century adorned the last day of a dull match at Taunton. On a pitch good for batting, though not necessarily good for cricket, Somerset’s opener diligently nullified any threat from earnest Lancashire bowlers.

Following on 180 runs behind, Trescothick, accompanied by another veteran, Chris Rogers – together this pair can boast more than 48,000 first-class runs, although neither is inclined to boastfulness – sedately batted out the final day.

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Jimmy Anderson’s three-wicket burst gives Lancashire hope against Somerset

• Day three: Lancashire 493-9 dec v Somerset 313 & 0-0
• James Hildreth hits century for Somerset

Jimmy Anderson in one over changed the tenor of the match even if he has not necessarily dictated the outcome. In the 43rd over of the innings Anderson contrived three wickets that had Somerset slump from 102 for two to 102 for five. For the first time in three days here was a game to be won.

What had seemed a dozy runfest on a moribund pitch had become a proper struggle. Anderson, at least for the eight minutes it took for him to bowl his ninth over, had demonstrated his special ability to prosper on brown pitches.

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Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone hammers maiden hundred against Somerset

• Lancashire 493-9 dec v Somerset 14-0
• Livingstone hits 108 not out in second first-class game

Progress was slow, which is not usually the case when Liam Livingstone is involved, though this was not his fault. Twelve months ago the 22-year-old Cumbrian hit 350 from 138 balls when playing for Nantwich against lowly Caldy in a 45-over Cup match, which prompted raised eyebrows beyond the north-west.

As did an unfortunate incident in an Ashford bar after Lancashire’s Twenty20 quarter-final victory against Kent in August last year. A brawl left him with 20 stitches on his face.

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Alviro Petersen puts Lancashire on top against his former side Somerset

• Lancashire 295 for 4
• Petersen hits calm 83 to make Somerset suffer

Alviro Petersen returned to Taunton and reminded the locals of what they are missing. He was the overseas batsman here two years ago, quietly scoring his fair share of runs in between opening the batting for South Africa. The international days have now gone so perhaps Lancashire, shrewdly, have the better deal.

Petersen recognised the most benign of pitches, shorn of the grass that is needed to produce pace here, which may be one of the downsides of the new regulations at the toss, and he calmly set about gathering his runs. He had netted 83 of them when he surprised us by becoming lbw to Craig Overton, armed with the second new ball. Until then Petersen had barely missed anything.

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New Zealanders’ Mitchell Santner puts the skids under Somerset

• New Zealanders 237 & 310; Somerset 204 & 142-6
• Kiwis wait on IPL players as shadow side begins England tour

All was tranquillity at the County Ground. No ECB presence was discernible to spy on the visiting Kiwi players (the main ones are still at the IPL). And there is no one down here who is likely to be on the shortlist to help shunt England towards a brave new world.

No one was sacked. But there has been some diverting cricket, which will have been a source of satisfaction for the tourists. Their one regret may be that Somerset’s batting has been so fragile that it has not allowed their bowlers enough of a workout.

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Adam Voges’ 132 leads Middlesex’s successful chase of steep Somerset total

• Somerset 408 & 310; Middlesex 317 & 405-5
• Middlesex won by five wickets

Twelve months ago almost to the day Middlesex knocked off a mammoth fourth innings total with their Australian captain contributing a calm and critical century. Well, they did it again at Taunton on Wednesday.

In 2014 they cracked 472 to beat Yorkshire at Lord’s with Chris Rogers unbeaten on 241. Here the target was not so monumental – a mere 402 – and Adam Voges, who leaves soon to join the Australian Test squad, made 132.

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Lewis Gregory celebrates England call by helping Somerset take control

• Somerset 408 & 310, Middlesex 317 & 31-0
• Middlesex require 371 runs with 10 wickets remaining

Lewis Gregory is probably the least known of the England squad selected for the match against Ireland in Dublin on 8 May – beyond this part of the world.

However, in the West Country (which does not start at Bristol, by the way) they are already familiar with him. He was born in Plymouth (now that is the West Country) and he captained England Under-19s, primarily as a batsman. But last season he made a name for himself as a brisk and skiddy bowler, who can swing the ball. He took 43 wickets at an average of 26 as well as cracking breezy lower order runs. This season he already has 11 wickets (and one maiden).

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Middlesex’s Nick Gubbins leads charge against Somerset but misses ton

• Somerset 408 v Middlesex 306-7
• Left-hander Nick Gubbins and Adam Voges put on 139 together

Normality returned to Taunton after all that frenetic activity on the first day. This was more familiar early-season fare with rusty bowlers, missed opportunities and annoying April showers, all played out in front of hardy spectators eager to find a haven from a chill breeze. By the end Middlesex were 306 for seven.

Two of their number almost hit hundreds. Nick Gubbins made 92 and their temporary captain, Adam Voges, who will soon be joining the Australian Test squad, 98. Both must wonder how they failed to reach three figures, a landmark that would have meant a lot to Gubbins in particular since has yet to manage that in first-class cricket. On this evidence he should not have to wait for too long.

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