Somerset fight back brilliantly on day two


A quite superb spell of fast bowling from Matt Henry followed by a century from George Bartlett saw Somerset fight back brilliantly on the second day of this LV= Insurance County Championship match against Nottinghamshire at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

It was a remarkable morning for Somerset, with Henry finishing with figures of six for 59 as the visitors were dismissed for 186 after resuming on 145 for four. Notts lost their last six wickets for just 41 runs and it was certainly as impressive as those stats make it sound.

New Zealand seamer Henry transformed the game with a superb seven-over spell from the Marcus Trescothick Pavilion End at the start of the morning session, which saw him take four for 26 as the visitors collapsed from a strong position to settle for a first innings lead of just 23 runs, their last six wickets falling in the space of 14.4 overs. Craig Overton claimed two for 46.

Somerset then gained further momentum with the bat, Bartlett (109 not out) and Tom Lammonby (73) sharing a third-wicket stand of 119 as they closed on 268 for four, 245 ahead. Bartlett’s chanceless ton, the eighth of his First Class career, occupied 203 balls and included 11 fours and a six. It was reward for four hours of sustained concentration.

The day had begun with Notts just 18 runs behind Somerset’s first innings total with six wickets in hand and looking to build a substantial lead.

It never looked like happening from the moment visiting skipper Steven Mullaney edged a low catch to Kasey Aldridge at second slip off Overton, having added only six to his overnight score of 23.

The lively Henry had already struck Ben Slater, unbeaten on 67 at the start of play, a blow on the helmet with a short ball before dismissing him for 70, Overton accepting another chance to second slip. Soon the inspired Kiwi was uprooting Brett Hutton’s middle stump before also clean bowling Matt Carter between bat and pad and having Tom Moores caught at extra cover by Tom Kohler-Cadmore.

Moores had edged Notts in front with a four and a pulled six off Overton, who struck back by having last man Dane Paterson caught behind. Somerset could hardly have dared hope for better as only 41 runs were added to the visitors’ overnight score.

It might have been an even better morning for the hosts as they moved to 41 without loss in their second innings before Sean Dickson was pinned lbw by Paterson for 26. Then on the brink of lunch Tom Abell was run out for a duck, attempting a third run after Lammonby had played a delivery from Jake Ball towards the boundary. Joe Clarke’s throw scored a direct hit at the wicketkeeper’s end, catching Somerset’s skipper well out of his ground, with the scoreboard reading 43 for two.

If Notts thought they had wrestled back the initiative, Lammonby and Bartlett had other ideas, showing just the required degree of patience to bat through the afternoon session, which saw them add 112.

Lammonby had been dropped on six by Hutton at third slip off Ball, who was unlucky enough to see the left-hander spilled again on 52, this time by Carter at second slip. They were rare blemishes as Lammonby reached fifty off 88 balls, with six fours, three of them the result of sumptuous on-drives. Bartlett also hit six boundaries in a 110-ball half-century, the hundred stand occupying 32.1 overs.

At tea, the score was 155 for two. With only seven added, Lammonby was bowled by off-spinner Carter aiming a back-foot forcing shot through the leg side.

Somerset’s lead was 139 and they needed another partnership. Bartlett and Kohler-Cadmore provided it, adding 69 for the fourth wicket without undue risk against a Notts attack sticking to their task without any great penetration.

Kohler-Cadmore reined himself in to begin with and was just starting to adopt his normal aggressive approach when, on 33, he launched Ball towards the mid-wicket boundary where Haseeb Hammed took a good juggling catch, narrowly avoiding stepping on the rope.

All the while, Bartlett was steadily accumulating in exactly the manner his side required. He reached his second Championship ton of the season in style, dispatching Carter over long-on for six and immediately clenching his fists in celebration.

James Rew provided typically solid support in the closing overs and, with two days to go, Somerset have plenty of time to build a winning lead.