Somerset back to winning ways in style


Somerset returned to form in impressive fashion with a record-breaking display against Hampshire Hawks in this Vitality Blast clash at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

The hosts began the defence of the Blast title in impressive style with an opening day victory over Essex Eagles, but had suffered back to back defeats since then and were in need of a positive result against the Hawks.

They certainly got that.

Another bumper crowd at Taunton witnessed Somerset’s highest ever T20 score against Hampshire, surpassing 2010’s 220 for four. It was also the home side’s third highest ever score in the format.

Tom Abell and Sean Dickson also set a new record for Somerset’s highest fourth wicket partnership, beating the previous best of 110* between Babar Azam and Lewis Goldsworthy at Glamorgan in 2020, and it was this pairing that really turned the tide in Somerset’s favour.

When Dickson joined Abell at the crease, Somerset were 54 for three in the sixth over and Hampshire were in the ascendancy. However, the pair added 144 to contribute the lion’s share of the runs in the home side’s total of 241 for five after they were put in.

Equally important was Ben Green’s contribution with the ball.

The Devonian was brought into the attack to bowl the eighth over with the score board showing 77 without loss. Six balls later the score was 80 for two and both James Vince and Ben McDermott were back in the dressing room. He finished the day by equaling his career best figures in T20 cricket.

All in all, it was a day to remember for those with a love of Somerset CCC.

Abell smashed an unbeaten 96 off just 47 balls and Dickson hammered 65 off 32 deliveries.

Hampshire replied with 178 all out as Somerset won by 63 runs, Ben McDermott hitting 46 off 28 balls.

The hosts did not allow the loss of three wickets in the powerplay to affect their momentum, reaching 58 for three by the end of the sixth over, despite the dismissals of Will Smeed, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Tom Banton.

If Hampshire were pleased to see the back of those three big-hitters, two of them to Michael Neser, their satisfaction soon turned to concern as Abell and Dickson set about their attack, taking the score past 100 in the 11th over.

Abell hit the first six of the game to bring up the 50-stand in 31 balls and the pair required only a further 18 deliveries to take their partnership to three figures. The 13th over, bowled by James Fuller, went for 21 as Abell crashed three successive fours through the off-side and Dickson ended it with two more boundaries.

Both players reached half-centuries in the 15th over, Dickson’s occupying 25 balls and Abell’s 30. Dickson celebrated with a maximum over backward point off John Turner.

Lewis Gregory smacked 18 off eight balls and Abell ended his majestic knock with a straight six off Turner. Only Benny Howell of the Hampshire bowlers went for less than ten an over.

McDermott and Vince began the Hampshire reply undaunted and brought the fifty up in just 4.4 overs. By then end of the powerplay they had increased the total to 65, McDermott dominating with some savage blows.

Green made the vital breakthrough for Somerset in the eighth over, bowling McDermott with his second delivery as he advanced down the pitch, and struck again with his fourth ball as Vince lofted a catch to long-off to make it 78 for two.

Soon Hampshire were requiring more than 15 an over and Green, who claimed 30 Blast wickets last season, struck again when Joe Weatherley launched a catch to deep mid-wicket to make the score 101 for three in the 11th over.

James Fuller hit a straight six off Josh Davey, but perished next ball trying to repeat the feat. Howell cleared the ropes off successive van der Merwe deliveries, but when he and Toby Albert fell in the same Riley Meredith over Hampshire’s cause was lost.

Green removed both Neser and Wood in the final over to complete a thoroughly rewarding afternoon for himself, Somerset and the packed house at the CACG.