Jake Ball: “It’s been a very good move for me so far!”


Sunday marks not just one return, but two.  Somerset are back in Vitality County Championship action against Nottinghamshire – a game that also sees Jake Ball back at Trent Bridge for the first time since his winter departure.

During the week Ball – who is already a firm favourite at Taunton – took a break from searching for his whites to catch up with the Cider Press podcast. Here are five key takeaways from the conversation:

1 – Back to the Bridge

Ball had called Trent Bridge ‘home’ since making his professional bow in 2009. Prior to that, he represented Nottinghamshire’s age group sides, and he closed the circle with the winning boundary against Middlesex last September.

Bowling is so much about muscle memory, and so Ball he worried his legs might automatically start climbing the pavilion stairs to the home dressing room on arrival?

“Luckily, we have to walk past the away dressing room first, so hopefully there’ll be someone there to point me in!  It’s going to be strange, having walked up the stairs for so long, to stay at the bottom. But I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully I can go and keep up the form.”

Did it feel like the timing was right for all parties to move on?

“I signed my first full contract there in 2009 so that’s quite a long while ago – a few of the lads in the Somerset squad keep reminding me of how old I am!

“Things got a little bit stale at Notts. I had back surgery in 2020, and it just didn’t really get going for me from there. I felt like I needed a change, and when I chatted with the coaching staff, it became very apparent in the middle of last summer that the right thing for me was to move on and freshen it up.”

2 – Ease into retirement? Absolutely not

The easy thing for Ball to do would have been to flash his accreditation – which is stamped with 24 England caps and 509 professional wickets – and waltz into a ground where he would be a guaranteed starter.  But the flames of ambition still burn brightly within Ball. Why did he join Somerset?

“Somerset won the T20 last year and have a rich history in the County Championship, so I knew I was coming to a side that knew how to win. I wanted to come somewhere where I would be pushing for trophies, pushing at the top of the table.

“And I wanted to come somewhere where I was still being pushed. I think it would have been quite easy to go to a team where I would almost be guaranteed a place in the side because they have no one else!

“Whereas I feel that here, I have to work for my spot. Even when you’re in the side, there’s always people pushing you. That was a big thing for me.  I feel like I’ve still got so much to offer the game. I feel like I’m back bowling as well as I have done. It’s been a very good move for me so far.”

3 – Defeat to Durham – context is key

Somerset’s latest red-ball outing deviated markedly off plan. In isolation, a two-day defeat at Durham was a disappointing way to sign off the opening block of red-ball games.  And yet, despite that result, Somerset head to Trent Bridge sitting third in the table – just 16 points behind leaders Surrey.

“We spoke a little bit in the dressing room after the Durham game about how, in that first block of seven games, we felt like we were in the game a lot of the time.

I think that was probably one of the only games that got away from us.

“It took one special innings from Dave Bedingham, and Stokesy (Ben Stokes) can do that to anyone in the world. You just have to hold your hands up and say we were outclassed by two very high-class players up there.

“But it’s important that we didn’t let that overshadow how good we had been at the start of the season. We feel like as a team we are in a really good position and confidence was high going into that game.  Yes, [Durham] was finished and we were going into a block of T20s. But we didn’t want to forget how confident we were going into that game.”

4 – A bright spot amongst the gloom – Jake Ball, super-sub

At Durham, Ball’s performance with the ball was one of few bright spots. That a bowler of his calibre took 5 for 62 in Durham’s first innings is not, in of itself, surprising. But given that Ball was left out of the initial Somerset XI, it was hardly a predictable return.

However, with Migael Pretorius forced to withdraw with delayed onset concussion on the opening day, Ball was called in and played a starring role.

“It was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster – up and down.  I felt like I was in a good place to play the game, but obviously to find out that I wasn’t playing was a bit gutting.

“I did a bit of bowling with Steve Kirby, and, as we had the T20s coming up, I did quite a long fielding session! At lunch, Kirbs asked if I wanted to have another bowl.  Luckily, I said “no, I’ll bowl tomorrow.” I just went for a little hit.

“I ended up bowling 20 overs in that first innings, which wasn’t ideal. But to get the five, like I said, it was an emotional rollercoaster but ended up very much on a high!”

5 – The #Weatherman

Anyone who has ever played or watched cricket at any level will have wasted countless hours straining their necks to peer at clouds. Or, for those born from the noughties onwards, similar amounts of time have been whittled away scrolling aimlessly through various weather apps. Fortunately, Somerset’s new signing handles all of that.

“I’ve got a few weather apps that I trust and a few that I don’t trust, but it’s always nice to have a couple that you don’t quite trust – they give you a little bit of false hope.  A few of the lads come to me asking for the forecast. There’s a few you can be honest with and a few you might have to tell some white lies to!

“I’ve found myself being called the weatherman in the dressing room now, which I’ll take. I’ve stood in a few fields and watched a few clouds move in my time! I know which way the clouds are going now, so I’m all good.

And if Jake was travelling to a place that allowed just one app on his phone? RainToday.

BONUS: Leach-Ball

Jack Leach celebrated his 2nd XI century at Taunton Vale this week by removing his helmet and holding aloft his spectacles. Batting at three, Leach made 104 as Somerset defeated their Warwickshire counterparts by 5 wickets.  Did Ball catch the celebration?

“I did see the celebration, yes! I was very happy to see it. I’ve found myself batting quite a bit with Jack in the nets – they tend to put us down at the bottom! So, I’m very, very proud that he’s done the pair well!”


Jake Ball was speaking to the Cider Press podcast, a new weekly Somerset cricket show co-hosted by live-stream commentators Charlie Taylor and Sam Dalling.  They will be joined over the summer by a series of guest co-hosts, including Annie Chave and Harry Everett.

Charlie presents the breakfast show on BBC Radio Somerset, while also commentating for TMS. He is part of the Test Match Special team covering the ongoing men’s T20 World Cup and, back in 2019, he was named both the Cricket Writers Club’s Domestic Cricket Broadcaster of the Year and Young Cricket Journalist of the Year. He was the first person to claim both awards in the same season.

As well as working at Somerset, Sam can also be frequently heard covering both The Blaze and Durham. He is part of the BBC Radio London cricket team and works regularly with the ECB commentating on the Disability Premier League and the England Deaf team.

He has previously appeared on the live-streams of Middlesex, Northants and Essex, and he writes for, amongst others, Wisden, The Cricketer, The Telegraph, The Guardian, BBC Sport Online and ESPNCricinfo.

Please follow the links below to find the Cider Press podcast: