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And so it all starts with Essex
Discussion started by Farmer White , 14 April, 2017 08:55
And so it all starts with Essex
Farmer White 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 14 April, 2017 10:50
Brings tears to my eyes...

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
sfwithers 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 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 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 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 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 14 April, 2017 12:25
Anthony Gibson is on top form for me Bagpuss:



Re: And so it all starts with Essex
cricketjerry-mouse 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 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 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-two Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
Loyal of Lhasa 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-two Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
rodders 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! 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
Mike TA1 14 April, 2017 21:05
Always a good time of the year the first day of the season.

As mikeindex said I packed the camera away early, my fingers were having nothing to do with the cold weather. Only photos of shots being played today.

My usual complaint each year that the club never address. I timed my entrance at the ground so that the gates have been opened a few minutes before I join the queue. On arriving there must have been about eighty people waiting to get into the ground, (queued back to the players flats) with only one turnstile open for walking members and paying supporters, and four steward dealing with cars, it took me twelve minutes to get into the ground.
I am entering the ground by the Brian Rose gates tomorrow, there are three stewards on at that gate.

Now for the photos I have taken.

Marcus Trescothick batting, four extras on the board before a run scored off the bat. (thanks Essex)

First runs from Dean Elgar for Somerset this season.

Marcus Trescothick trying to play what I can only describe as a upper cut. He missed this one but played a similar shot soon afterwards and scored four runs.

Dean Elgar hitting four runs, he is a class player.

I always like watching James Hildreth batting, unfortunately not for long enough.

You could say Peter Trego was caught on the hop, he wasn't caught but I couldn't think of anything else to say about this shot.

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
Farmer White 15 April, 2017 02:08
And so, in the end yesterday was more cold water than warm glow and the breeze from beyond the Trescothick Stand, after a morning glimpse of the warmth of the summer sun to come, was chill to the bone. Mike the Lens’ fingers at least were indeed blue for he showed me the evidence. It must have been cold, for his lens together with his camera had retreated deep within their case.

Before the match started Brian Rose presented Marcus Trescothick with a tankard to mark the start of his twenty-fifth season playing for Somerset. 1993. A single division gentler County Championship. The premier limited overs competition an entirely knock-out affair played over 60 overs. The other limited overs cup was played over 55 overs and started in zones. The Sunday league experimented with 50 overs. Mark Lathwell played for England. Andrew Caddick took 9 for 32 to bowl out Lancashire for 72 when they were chasing 88 in Trescothick’s first Championship match. I heard the result on the car radio on a roundabout in Walthamstow in the days when sports bulletins carried all County Cricket scores on an hourly basis. A young Shane Warne bowled the ‘ball of the century’. The last century. T20 cricket was neither a dream nor a nightmare and still a decade into the future. A different cricketing world.

There was a toss. Tom Abell won it and batted. As to the hopes of the morning. Trescothick indeed rolled back the years. Hildreth played with the air of god-like genius of which only he seems capable. Dean Elgar reminded me that I had omitted him from yesterday’s post as he began to build a classy score. And all three were gone before they reached 40 with the bowler contributing little to their demise and the huge crowd for a cold Championship day staring on at what might have been. Trego persisted longer and got one that might have held up a bit but played it with a stroke that could have been bettered.

Davies and Van de Merwe were beautifully got out by balls which suggested that Simon Lee might just have worked his magic and produced the sort of pitch on which Championships might be won. But they will have to be won. Championships do not fall in your lap because you get the pitch right. Perhaps that was the purpose of the used pitch and why so many pre-season games were played at Taunton. The ECB want Counties to produce spin friendly pitches. Perhaps this is how they are produced. If so then so be it. The cricket is immensely better than the interminable high scoring draws of yore. It is not the fault of the groundsman that Somerset failed to reach the 300 that generally seems to have been considered a par score for this pitch. And now, as a good cricket pitch should allow, Essex have the chance to reach the 300 that Somerset eschewed before the pitch starts to spin more sharply. And Somerset will have to bowl with considerably more effect than they did in that first bitter evening if they are to prevent it.

The captain is under pressure. One run and not the best of strokes for his dismissal. His side already, with Alistair Cook in ominous form, further behind in this game than is safe on a pitch such as this. Abell's bowlers can bowl better than they did and will have to. His batsmen will have to perform to their full potential in their second innings on a pitch which by then may become more difficult by the hour. His team need another performance out of the drawer of backs to the wall counter attacks that they drew on so heavily last season. It is in situations such as this that the best leaders are at their best. But Abell is in his first match as captain and it took Chris Rogers half a season to get the team playing as he wished. Abell needs a bit of time as Rogers needed a bit of time. But this is also the situation in which this Somerset team has been at its best. Abell needs some help from his team today if this match is to be turned around. They need to, as we know they can, get to it today and rock Essex back on their heels.

Trescothick entered first class cricket in a different cricketing world to the one it is played in today. A world into which five of this team were yet to be born. He will leave it, one year soon, as it turns into yet another cricketing world. A world which, by the time those five depart it, may look even more different to today than today does to 1993. The years in which a Championship worthy of the name, or at all, can be won may now be numbered. If Somerset are to achieve that Holy Grail then they will have to stop games getting into positions such as this. And if games are allowed to get into positions such as this, then they will have to be won from those positions.

If we really do mean to win a Championship above all else in the time that is left to us, as a Club, we will. But only a focus on the Championship that sits above all other cricketing considerations will do. All hands will have to be turned to the cause. Nothing less will do. That is the lesson of history. And the lesson of history, to date at least, is that winning a County Championship validates a Club and a team like no other competition in this country.

Today would be a good day to make a start.

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
Grockle 15 April, 2017 05:40
The commentators all were cautious about setting a par score on the pitch. Just over 200 would probably not have been it but neither would 300 it seemed. Consensus suggested we were probably 50 ish short.

Have to see what the morning brings I expect and will probably have a better idea by mid afternoon.

As others have mentioned though. Taunton looks like a results pitch these days so the batsmen had better use it a little more effectively next time they get a chance.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 15/04/2017 06:24 by Grockle.

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
AG on apple 15 April, 2017 06:42
Looks like a typically 'not quite at the races,' opening day to judge from what Pete has said.

However, our spinners have barely started to bowl. They will obviously need to do very well today.

For matches where we are anticipating low scoring matches (which, until proven otherwise should include all home CC matches) selecting both LG and Jove in the same side is, IMO, a questionable tactic. Both tend to be expensive.. With the exception of the redoubtable Mr Trego it seems to me that the only thing standing between us and a pathetic score of 125 or so was the profligacy of Neil Wagner.

And if Jove bowls his daft short stuff at A N Cook? He will be at least as expensive as Wagner as Cook has pulled, hooked and cut to ribbons short stuff from far better pacemen than Jamie. Clearly, Cook is a huge wicket and one we really do need early does... time for King Jack to work his magic..

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
AG on apple 15 April, 2017 06:51
Re: Tom Abell. He seems to be out of form, no doubt, based on pre-season returns, but everybody seems to talk about him being 'under pressure,' after a grand total of one competitive innings. Oh, Angell Face, before you try to tell me that only FW has mentioned this, the truth is that many had also mentioned it on here even before yesterday.

In our second dig, Tom will need far better from Trescothick and Hildreth than throwing it away against undeserving deliveries.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 15/04/2017 06:54 by AG on apple.

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
chunkyinargyll 15 April, 2017 06:54
I can't claim credit for this- but on the internet people are referring to Taunton as 'Ciderbad'

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
AG on apple 15 April, 2017 07:13
Yes, started last season during your self-imposed exile, Chunky.

May have even originated on here.

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
Shepton Paul 2 15 April, 2017 08:36
I think it needs an extra syllable to work - Ciderabad? Yes, I first saw it on here around July/August last year - maybe mikeindex?

Anyways, hope it lives up to its reputation this morning...

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
JuliaW 15 April, 2017 08:39
Ciderabad was the work of Bagpuss I believe ....

I've just checked the weather forecast for today. In addition to all the various layers of clothing I had on yesterday I'm thinking that I need to add a woolly hat today based on the promised arrival of a strong wind from the north west!

Re: And so it all starts with Essex
AG on apple 15 April, 2017 08:42
Indeed, so. Be great to see Jack, especially, get into them and dispel any notion of confidence possibly being lacking. I wonder if Elgar may give one of Jack/Roelof a little breather at some stage?

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