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Nil Desperandum - the shape of things to come

By Grockle et al
March 1 2020

And so we get to the season we have been watching come towards us over the horizon.  It does not seem like over 2 years ago that the plans for this started to appear but they have changed almost out of all recognition since that time and we may not like what we see but as people say.... it is what it is so let's get after it!!

And so we get to the season we have been watching come towards us over the horizon.  It does not seem like over 2 years ago that the plans for this started to appear but they have changed almost out of all recognition since that time and we may not like what we see but as people say.... it is what it is so let's get after it!!

It's March 1 and we are 35 days away from a side on a pitch at Taunton.  It will be Easter Sunday before we welcome Warwickshire to the County Ground for the first real game.  We start the Championship season 12 points adrift with another 12 sitting on the sidelines should we even consider any kind of spin in the pitch before a game is 75% finished.   As we have 7 games before the 25th of May that may cause problems for us in term of 2 players as both Jack Leach and Dom Bess have been fighting it out for the England spinner mantle over the winter.  Unless one of the can offer more than spin bowling as their contribution, one can't see them both playing in a Somerset CC1 side on pitches that won't offer huge spin opportunities.  Jack has had respiratory issues and that may not be good in Coronavirus territory in April/May, he is also presently working on a calf injury and so may not be 100% when we start.  However, if he is fully fit, one has to think that Dom will need to offer improved batting to push his way into the first eleven.  England may call and solve the problem for us, we have to hope they won't take both and stick one on the bench with the drinks tray.  Contracts are also up for re-negotiation and it could be we don't have the luxury of chooosing one from two for much longer unless these players can get first team cricket somewhere.  I doubt Dom will be all that keen with going out on loan for another season and who would blame him.

We have some Aussie fire coming in for April/May of this season in the form of Matthew Wade as our international player for the first 7 Championship matches.  Feisty and aggressive is probably what we need though there will be doubts about whether he fills the gap we need at 3 or is a much more effective number 5 or 6.  It will be interesting to see how he is used and what that frontline is given that we will not be seeing Tom Banton in the early part of the campaign - and it's a lot of it with only 14 games in a 10 team event.  It is too much really to expect Banton to be much of a feature until possibly when the whole thing is all but over in September because he will be dragged away for one of his other white ball 'mercenary' appearances during the July/August games - he may be seen at Kent and Essex perhaps.  No news yet as to what happens once Mr Wade leaves so there is more to come I suppose.

Alongside the international component we have another 'newbie' - well sort of.  Vernon Philander has returned to the County Ground as a full time 'semi kolpak'.  How this pans out after this year is yet to be determined but for 2020 he is a full time part of our squad after retiring from international cricket.   There are doubts about his fragility and his commitment which only he can dispel but he is a Somerset player for the summer and can be a real weapon on his best day.  Is he fit?   Is he keen?  Hope so because is he is he will be a great addition to our already potent seam attack, helping the 'shock and awe' section and offering world class bowling expertise to guys wanting to get better and know more.  I'd be worried as opposition on his best day and I'm hoping for quite a few of those.

If the weather lets us and we hit our straps early this could be a great season.  We hoped that it was 'Kismet' last year in Banger's last hurrah but that was not to be and it was probably a year too long for him as well. I'm not sure we can get ourselves over the 12 point parapet and I'm not sure that if we do the ECB won't try to make sure the first champions of the new 'urban' league year are not a 'provincial' outlier of their 'brave new world'.  But we can give them a damn good run for it.  Eddie Byrom, Tom Lammonby, Tom Abell, Lewis Gregory and the Overton brothers have all had decent winter 'wanders' with sides around the world.  Steve Davies has an important role in the early season as does George Bartlett.  We have to hope the younger boys and the rest of the squad are ready for this and come back eager to get to grips with the demands of an important season with the absence of Marcus Trescothick and the mighty Peter Trego (except as a visitor with the Notts crew - go well Pete).  A lot is expected and they have to come up to the mark - Hope springs eternal and all that.

Before the season starts I hope to have a closer look at our white ball prospects but there are a couple things to get to grips with in terms of that  yet so I'll leave that for later in March.

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Nil Desperandum - the shape of things to come
Discussion started by , 01/03/2020 18:05
01/03/2020 18:05
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:03:25:21:26:01 by Grockle.

01/03/2020 21:37
We have Babar pencilled for championship games 8 and 9 grockle, so only the last 5 to be sorted.Would imagine AH will wait and look at the state of play later in the year.Test call ups, injuries and player form could be a deciding factor.
Hope they pick a batting line up and stick with it initially.The likes of Hildreth,Bartlett and Abell must decide where they want to bat and not move around from one to six in the lineup.
Personally I would like Byrom and TA to open.,with Wade/Babar at 3,Hildy,Bartlett,Davis ,Gregory,Philander,Bess Cove and Jove at 10 and 11.Looks a strong batting line up to me.

02/03/2020 23:53
After Boris Johnson`s about turn today on the seriousness of the coronavirus situation, does anyone really believe that the government are not going to ban big spectator gatherings - sporting, musical, theatrical, political, cultural, religious, social - until the epidemic/pandemic is under control (i.e. number of cases reported daily not just levelling off but actually falling).

What we must hope is that this will happen before the entire professional cricket season is a write-off. But with the country`s criminal tardiness in introducing the sort of containment measures that have been such a success in Singapore, this is probably a forlorn hope.

13/03/2020 21:58
I was already looking forward to this season less than any before, due to Mr Graves, his despicable franchise cricket and the absurd level of control which our stupid counties have now granted to the ECB.

As for HM Government response? They insist they are following medical advice, but why is it that pretty much every other European government seems to have received very different “medical advice”?

I read, today, that the idea behind HMG policy is to avoid trying to suppress the outbreak, for fear of a “boomerang effect,” later in the year. Instead, they want to spread the outbreak out and the hope is that 60% of us will contract the disease, thus leading to “herd immunity.” But since the country only has 4078 intensive care beds, after years of Tory cuts, and if even 0.25% of our population were to contract the vírus at the same time, then an estimated 7,500 people would need intensive care, then I’d say the chickens are about to come home to roost for the austerity policies of previous Tory governments.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2020:03:13:21:59:49 by AGod.

Des Platt
13/03/2020 23:33
Agree with just about every word there AGod. I look forward to each season less as I feel the game less and less easy to identify with. There’s just the odd island of sanity with visits to the likes of Scarborough, Taunton etc but getting more difficult to find.

I was really looking forward to the June Roses match at Scarborough but doubt if that will take place.

Quite right about austerity too

14/03/2020 18:48
Yes, I'm afraid I can't ever remember being less enthusiastic about the start of a cricket season. The best part of summer given over to 20/20 (and don't even get me started on the ridiculous 100 nonsense!), with Championship cricket crammed in round the edges in April and September, and all with a 12-point deficit before we even start.

If anyone can cheer us all up or prove me wrong in my pessimism by pointing out some positives, I'd be very glad to hear them, but I can't help thinking that the powers-that-be are determined to alienate from cricket the people who love it best.

(So that's a slightly depressing return from me after not posting for ages ... how is everyone else?)

14/03/2020 19:16
Welcome back 'Sheff'. Not a great time to be looking at any of this but we are who we sre and we like what we like and if we haven't got thst then what exactly is there?

So.. . we continue the journey and enjoy what there is to enjoy.

While that is the case then the spirit of Somerset as an entity continues.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:03:16:08:10:59 by Grockle.

Loyal of Lhasa
15/03/2020 19:56
It's good to have SS back on board, but I share her concern about the season ahead. For the first time in years I have made no specific plans to visit Taunton, initially because I did not want to start booking things and then learning that there would be no cricket to watch and now because I am among the age group who may be confined to barracks for much of the summer. I shall find plenty to do at home as I always do, but will miss my weekly encounters with my grandsons and will be very resentful if the rules forbid me to take daily vigorous walks on the nearest common (even though I shall be in no danger of embracing everyone I meet.

We may indeed have to wait quite a long while for cricket, but I think about those of my parents' generation, for whom there was no first-class cricket in ten of the seasons from 1914 - 1945. Cricket recovered from the two long wartime breaks and will probably do so again, despite the efforts of some men in suits who seek to ruin the game we love.


Seventy-two Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Des Platt
16/03/2020 00:06
Well said LOL

Somerset LaLaLa
16/03/2020 11:33
The good news is that in the next world, there is cricket. All forms of the game (Test / Championship / limited over comps), played in perfect weather, on the best pitches with no ECB. The opposition of a game in the distant future is an all time World XI at their prime. Everyone from Grockles will be watching.

The bad news is that you're opening the batting, against Joel Garner.

(Adapted from a joke elsewhere, made I laugh)

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2020:03:16:11:51:52 by Somerset LaLaLa.

Farmer White
16/03/2020 11:58
And for those going to the other place, SLLL, they have an identical set-up: perfect conditions, endless sunshine, and you don't even have to face Joel Garner. The only downside is you have to play without a ball.

(Also heard elsewhere)


Loyal of Lhasa
16/03/2020 13:09
Surely the definition of paradise is batting to your own bowling.


Seventy-two Seasons a Somerset Supporter

17/03/2020 00:49
Crouchend, Bill, Tony and Pat will all be there with many others. There'll be a Stragglers Bar with grass....


Loyal of Lhasa
19/03/2020 20:52
Is anybody in touch with Bristol Rob. I fear he may be feeling a bit vulnerable at this difficult time.


Seventy-two Seasons a Somerset Supporter

20/03/2020 01:02
Thank you for your concern LoL.

Yes I do come into the vunerable category at the moment.

I've kept myself in self isolation this week but like everybody I suppose it's a job to know what to do.

I've tried to do a bit of walking early in the morning while nobody's about but it keeps raining.

I may not post on here much but I still read the posts every day.


20/03/2020 10:40
Glad you're jogging along, Rob. Well, more walking if you're anything like me.

It's so important to keep getting exercise, but not so easy to avoid people. Our son is coming up to see us and we are meeting at the bandstand in a park where we shall keep 2 metres apart and speak very clearly!

One of the best ways I find of keeping positive is imagining myself batting to LoL's bowling.

20/03/2020 11:10
Whilst out for a stroll yesterday I managed to catch a conversation that could well be taking place between 2 people who don't have my good hearing skills. Keeping their identity anonymous I'll call them Bob, and Bob's son...
Bob: Isn't it windy today!
Bob's son: No, I think it's Thursday.
Bob: So am I, let's go for a cup of tea.

Loyal of Lhasa
20/03/2020 11:32
It’s good to hear from you, Bristol Rob, and to know that you are continuing to take daily exercise. I have walked for at least twenty minutes every day this year so far and shall continue to do so until the grown-ups forbid even that innocent practice. We have a large common within minutes of home and I go there most days. The trouble is that one encounters hordes of loud-mouthed dog walkers, who gather in clusters (against all medical advice) and shout fatuous remarks at each other, such as “Isn’t he lovely?”. Which in almost every case the snappy, ugly little brute manifestly isn’t. As they (the dogs, not the owners) crudely sniff at one’s shoes, their chief function appears to be to impede the briskness of one’s walk, rather undermining its purpose. I know there are some on this site who are dog lovers (sorry, Bagpuss). In case anybody hasn’t guessed, I am not among them.

I respect Bobstan’s recipe for positivity and he has probably already guessed that it is enthusiastically reciprocated. Incidentally, with diminishing opportunities to sit on Gimblett’s Hill this season, what is going to happen to Bob’s tan?


Seventy-two Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:03:20:12:26:19 by Loyal of Lhasa.

20/03/2020 12:12
Thanks Bobstan and Lol.
We are blessed with places to walk along the old S&D railway line to Midsomer Norton and Bath and the GWR line to Frome and Midsomer Norton. I actually live where the railway sidings were in Radstock.

I found an isolated bench this morning in town and watched the world go by. Fresh air really does you good.
Don't get me on dog walkers. "He/she won't hurt you "they say as it's running straight at you or jumping on you.
Tractor I'm a bit worried about you going for a stroll. You'll be telling us you went out jogging next!

Keep safe everybody and don't forget to wash you hands!


20/03/2020 16:46
Keep on truckin' along Rob !

And everyone !


20/03/2020 18:48
Glad to see that the present situation hasn't affected anyone's sense of humour. I hear just now that there will be no cricket until "at least" 28 May, but I doubt very much that it will restart soon after that.

Meanwhile I'll be working at home while also supervising the home schooling of the three ss jrs. The new Wisden should arrive soon, but what will there be to put in next year's? Answers on a postcard, or possibly on a post on the PQQ thread ...

21/03/2020 09:50
Old railway tracks are such good walking routes, Rob. One goes past only a minute's walk from where we live. Can't pretend it's quite as scenic as the S & D mind you.

As I had an area of skin cancer on my nose last year (totally eradicated - the cancer that is) losing Bob's tan does seem to be the only possible advantage of not being able to get down to Taunton this year. Mike TA1 knows why my middle name is Stanley - a Somerset connection.

Equinox today. March 21st always used to be the first day of Spring, but that seems to have transferred to March 1st.

Mike TA1
21/03/2020 11:27
I am a bit late on this thread.

Good to hear from Rob, walking is good to keep fit.

My root to avoid people is the bypass from the bottom of Priory Bridge Road to the railway station area, I didn't pass one person yesterday on my walk until I got to Priory Bridge Road on my way back (it's impossible to avoid everybody).

Yes Bobs be grateful they didn't call you Mary!

21/03/2020 14:35
Indeed, Mike. Bridg over troubled water.

Sloop John B
21/03/2020 17:19
When I first worked I used to send maternity packs to Mary Stanley Bobs . Perhaps I supplied the one that saw you into the world!!

22/03/2020 07:55
If you did, Sloop, you must be approaching your century!

Loyal of Lhasa
22/03/2020 10:39
When Bobstan was born, I think it was storks who brought the babies.


Seventy-two Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Sloop John B
22/03/2020 14:05
77% Bobs !!

22/03/2020 17:54
You probably didn't supply a maternity pack for me, Sloop, as you would only have been 2 years old.
Now that would be precocious.

Sloop John B
23/03/2020 08:53
That's me Bobs 😂

23/03/2020 16:12
Well gang still here me at the start of another season although who knows when ? High risk at my age but can only follow the advice and hope for the best. Glad that LoL is still posting and a few others but nothing from CP or big Jim - any info anyone - I get a bit out of touch living away although family still in Bath - stay well everyone !!

Clarence Parker
24/03/2020 14:48
Bless you Rodders and thank you so much for even thinking about me.

I am, and have been for some time, self isolating. My health condition is somewhat complicated and I have , or have had, 6 or 7 of the factors which make self isolation imperative. Still I am sure that there must be many, many more worse affected than me so I don't seek sympathy. We must all soldier on but sadly without any cricket to either watch or follow for several months.

At this moment in time I can neither think about or dwell on the fortunes of our club and cricket in general at the moment.

I still keep in touch with one or two by way of PM's, thus being able to enjoy some friendly banter.

Very best wishes to everybody.


24/03/2020 16:14
Good to hear from you CP - us oldies must stick together !

Loyal of Lhasa
24/03/2020 17:50
Good to hear from Rodders and CP. I am of the same generation and wish all my contemparies excellent health, but the one thing the experts say we should NOT do is "stick together"!

And I would be very reassured to hear from old boy!


Seventy-two Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:03:24:17:52:19 by Loyal of Lhasa.

29/03/2020 14:00
I have just read in the ‘paper, so it must be correct, that Root, Stokes and Buttler are likely to lose a quarter of their £1 million salaries and fees this year. I never realised they were paid that much.
Also Yorkshire CCC are considering getting taxpayers to pay their players 80% of their salaries under the governments scheme whilst they are at home keeping fit.

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