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And so it all starts with Essex
Farmer White (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 08:55
14th April 2017

A new day dawns. A day like no other in the 365. The first day of the season. Or at least of the season proper. Others have skirmished and Surrey have announced themselves as a force to be thought about. But this is the first day of Somerset’s season and that is what really matters. At least to those of us who sport the Wyvern.

The new season’s start, as always reveals something of our personalities. The optimists see another tilt at the Championship. The pessimists worry that the cold water of reality will wash away the joy of the friendly matches; for after all they were only friendly matches and not against the best of opposition. And for most of Somerset’s sojourn in this division the early season reality has been cold indeed. Alistair Cook too it seems is playing. It could only be that his first match since the weight of the England captaincy lifted from his shoulders is against us. It feels sometimes that the cricketing gods take delight in putting obstacles in our way. And yet we are a resilient lot and hope springs eternal as it has sprung, unrequited, for a century and a quarter past.

For all that the optimists hold sway this year. Our batting line up looks transformed by the simple addition of a class batsman who can bat at five and also keep with the invisibility that breeds confidence. Trescothick looked rejuvenated last year and the years rolled back as his cover drive struck the boards as hard and true as it ever did. Hildreth showed the consistency that eluded him for so many years. And in showing it retained all the glory of the genius that only he can show when his planets align. Trego has re-invented himself as a reliable front-line batsman who yet retains the explosive power that can take an innings by the scruff of the neck and turn a game in an hour. And he can take, still, a wicket or two when most needed. Our bowlers, spurned it seemed by the England Lions but embraced by the MCC, reminded Middlesex that they will face a fight if they wish to retain their title. And so they should have been embraced. For last year with ball and sometimes bat they won games that were, it seemed, beyond redemption.

And let us not forget Simon Lee the magician who has found a way of producing pitches at Taunton on which results may proliferate without resort to connivance. Can he cast a spell this year which can shift the balances that have sometimes seemed against us this last 125 years when it has often been harder to win at home than away?

And then finally: Tom Abell the youngest captain in the Championship and by some way. He will need to captain with the precision and determination to force a win, and in so doing sometimes risk a loss, that Chris Rogers showed us last year. He will need to bring to his batting, with its immense promise and classicism, some of the consistency that James Hildreth seems to be finding later in his career. In both cases Abell bears a heavy responsibility and carries the hopes that this County has carried since the century before last. It is for him, and perhaps for all of us, the opportunity of a lifetime to realise a dream of many lifetimes. On whether he feels the weight of responsibility or the glow of opportunity may depend the outcome.

Go to it young man. We are willing you on. One and all.

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
Shepton Paul 2 (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 10:50
Brings tears to my eyes...

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
sfwithers (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 10:51
Lovely post, and just a few minutes to go before the men in white take to the field. And lovely writing, as always, and you've put a pleasingly positive spin on the coming season. I shall check the scores occasionally in between bouts of Easter break DIY; painting, cleaning, moaning, swearing. Let's hope the last two aren't brought about by scoring updates.

Pip, pip!!

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
Bobstan (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 11:23
I arrive home to find us 14/0. This is under 3 per over. Sack the coach, the captain and Mr Lavender. Oh, he's going anyway. Well, sack Mr Nash then.

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
sfwithers (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 11:29
And dissolve the club to set up a city-based system because that's what everybody* wants.

*Possibly not everybody. Or indeed anybody apart from the authorities...

(Sorry, I came over all cynical then on what should be a day for celebration and rebirth)

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
Bagpuss (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 12:06
Are people getting commentary ok online? Doesn't seem to be a Tune In live event for this match

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
geordie moonraker (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 12:18
I'd take an opening stand of 50 in any game.

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
Kingston Black (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 12:25
Anthony Gibson is on top form for me Bagpuss:



Re: And so it all starts with Essex
cricketjerry-mouse (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 12:26
Spinner on after just 11 overs on the first morning of the season at Taunton. Is this the shape of things to come?

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
Grockle (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 12:26
Why oh why oh why does the BBC have to make it SOOOOOOOOO hard to find and get commentary working.

No Tune it Live event and no easy access to BBC Somerset on the BBC Sport app.

You spend half and hour trying to find the right flaming page. Live events don't have titles and when you log on to them you are told they are not online - then when you load them.... shock and surprise cricket commentary!!


Re: And so it all starts with Essex
Loyal of Lhasa (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 14:31
I was already well in the mood before opening Grockles today; Farmer White's posting has just increased the salivation. I expect to be as buoyant as now in September.


Seventy Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
Loyal of Lhasa (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 18:08
In response to the comment of Rodders on an unnecessarily alternative thread covering this match, I suggest that some of us are reluctant to rush into comment so early in the season, preferring to see how Essex will bat before commenting on how Somerset did. It is also noticeable that there are generally fewer contributions on bank holidays, some people having other commitments to meet and others not having the use of their office computers.

There's no apathy as far as I am concerned, just a willing to be patient a little while yet.


Seventy Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
rodders (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 19:01
Fair enough LoL - just thought the board was remarkably quiet for a season opener and it certainly was not the case last season. Did not expect judgements just a few comments and if I am honest I think there would have been a fair few more posts if we had been 350 for 0 at close of play !

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
old boy! (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 19:05
Sorry I rushed to comment on previous message. About the same as yours LOL
Old Boy!

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
nelliec (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 19:21
Watching the whole day I would say it was about 60% to 40% in Essex's favour today.Ball did a little all day to give the bowlers some encouragement, and the odd ball kept low off the seamers.Definitely turning all day without excessive exaggeration ,and none of the Somerset team apart from Tregs ,really looked in at any time. I think the game will hinge on 1 or 2 early wickets tomorrow including Mr Cook , who looked generally comfortable from the start.
An essex lead of no more than 50 would make the game finely balanced.

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
sfwithers (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 19:26
I managed to find the commentary online while doing DIY, and the moment I turn it on - literally, the very second - Trescothick's caught. I gave up after that. Early days obviously, but not great and not disastrous. One and a bit innings is (are?) too early to judge; time, as they say, will tell.

Come on, lads. My dad's in his eighties desperate for Somerset to win the CC in his lifetime. I'm not hopeful they'll do it in my lifetime!

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
mikeindex (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 19:40
… not to mention that quite a few of us were at the game, and may well not have had computers with us? And even those who did may have preferred to carry on watching, rather than rush to the Stragglers Bar in haste to be the first to rubbish the team we notionally support?

Or of course their computer batteries may have run out shortly after lunch.

Anyway, now back home and safely plugged in, a few thoughts on today's play:
It was on balance a bit of a disappointing day. There were soft dismissals: Marcus played a terrible shot after getting becalmed for a while (having looked very solid previously), and James (as he does) was making batting look easier than anyone could believe possible until he carelessly hooked one, with beautiful timing, straight to long-leg.

That said, it is clearly not an easy pitch to bat, or at least to score, on. The one that got Pete (after a very nice and responsible knock) clearly either stopped on him or bounced more than expected, and a few from Harmer late in the innings lifted and spun wildly (and he doesn't look like a bowler who puts a massive amount of revs on). My hunch is that 209 might not be too bad a score.

I've just been onto Cricinfo and seen the close of play score. I had assumed there would be no more play after the bad light stoppage.

I see Jack and Roley are already on, one of Essex's left-handed openers is out and they have no more left-handers till no. 8. Unfortunately the not-out one is Alastair Cook. An intriguing situation.

I confess to feeling a little worried about Young Tom. It's not just that he's not making runs, but he seems, possibly, tentative and anxious like a young man who is desperate to justify the responsibility thrust upon him.

There is of course loads of season still to go, and any impression formed at a range of 75+ yards is hardly conclusive. Please, please do not lump me with those contributors keen to write off any player on the basis of a couple of bad days, or to leap to premature and over-psychologised judgments at a moment's notice.

It was a pleasure to meet up again with Wickham, Bagpuss, Julia, Old Boy and Mike the Lens (though he'd put the lens away by the time I caught up with them as his hands were apparently turning blue), not to mention Tony, Greg and the other chaps on the Hill who don't post here. (I'd already run into Tractor during the MCCU game, curiously enough in the bar).

Random reflection - do we have an official vice-captain in the CC?

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
Mike TA1 (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 19:42
The reason for not many post was because last year we had away matches this year it is a home match.

There must be at lease ten Grockle site posters at the match.

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
wsm fan (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 20:07
No vice captain in any form this year per MM.

How great is it to be back!?
I would agree 60/40 in Essex's favour bu8t lets remember the formula that served us so well last year in the closing months, bat first, post something, then let the bowlers do their thing. Yes 208 could/should have been 250/270 but we got a point and have a score on the board.
If we can get Cook great, if we can keep them under 250 its near level pegging for me.
The pitch is used, and taking spin on day 1, it wont take less on days 2+3?

Fingers crossed this time tomorrow we are sat here raving about being right in the mix after a great bowling display from the spin twins.

Roll on 11am.....

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
Tom Seymour (IP Logged)
14 April, 2017 21:01
Why on April 14th. in the first CC game of the season, do we need to use a used pitch? The umpires were looking very closely at it before play started, and if we don't get a good mark for it then we are asking for trouble. I suspect after many comments made from other counties etc last year, Taunton is being monitored closely.

Agreed the pitch was of some help to the bowlers, but batting was not impossible. There were far too many poor and loose shot dismissals throughout the day. Most of our batsmen played inept shots. Elgar looked steady and assured until a rush of blood saw him being stumped. Trescothick, Abell, Hildreth, Gregory and the Overtons all threw their wickets away. Trego too, when on the verge of a well-deserved 50, chucked it away.

To my mind only Davies and Van de Merwe escape any criticism.

Is our batting deep enough and strong enough to win many games? We will have some good days I am sure, but on a consistent basis? No.

I left between innings so do not know whether our bowlers obtained the same level of assistance as the Essex boys.

Even on a pitch such as this, 300 minimum should have been achievable. It was disappointing.

I shall watch with interest tomorrow as to how Tom Abell handles his side, and hope that the men who sport the Dragon come to the party, because today they certainly did not.

A glass half - empty or a glass half - full?
Regardless, both glasses need filling up.

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