Somerset post highest ever First Class score against Kent


Despite a lengthy rain break, Somerset continued to assert their dominance on the second day of this Vitality County Championship Division One match against Kent at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

As well as securing maximum batting points and finishing the day with a lead of 446 the home side set a new record for their highest First Class score against the visitors, surpassing a total which had stood in the record books for over 100 years.

When Somerset were eventually dismissed for 554 just before 1:15pm, they had broken the Club’s previous best versus Kent of 503 which was set at the same venue in 1898. On that occasion, the likes of Sammy Woods, EJ Tyler and Lionel Palairet could only muster a draw whereas the class of 2024 will be looking to secure the victory which would maintain what has been a solid start to the season for Jason Kerr’s side.

In addition to excelling with the bat, early inroads were made into the Kent lineup and the Somerset players certainly left the field with more of a spring in their step than their counterparts from Canterbury.

Resuming on 440 for seven, it took the hosts just one over to secure the final batting point but Migael Pretorius who had raced to 19 looked to take on Stewart and edged to a diving Marcus O’Riordan at first slip at 460 for eight.

After a brief rain delay, Somerset advanced to 500 and shortly afterwards Lewis Gregory reached his half century from 69 balls. Gregory and Josh Davey shared a stand of 57 before the latter chipped Joey Evison to Ben Compton and was gone for 27.

That brought Jack Leach to the crease and the England spinner received a warm welcome from the Somerset faithful following his recent injury induced absence from the ranks. With nine wickets down, the decision was taken to invoke the extra half hour ahead of the lunch interval. This resulted in further frustration for the visiting attack as Leach and Gregory added a further 37 runs to the already mammoth Somerset total.

An excellent diving catch from Zak Crawley on the boundary to remove the Somerset skipper for 77 brought an end to the hosts innings and lunch was taken.

Another brief shower resulted in a slight delay to the Kent reply but it hadn’t dampened the spirits of the Somerset bowlers. The first ball of the innings, bowled by Davey, was edged by Compton and fell agonisingly short of first slip. Craig Overton was able to go one better than his Scotland international team mate though and trapped Crawley lbw with his first delivery with just eight runs on the board.

Overton was unable to complete his over before rain caused play to be suspended and he had to wait (as did everyone within the ground) for two and a half overs before he was able to return to do so.

The visitors had eventually advanced the score to 28 when Overton enticed Daniel Bell-Drummond (4) into the drive and the Kent skipper edged behind to a diving James Rew.

Compton and O’Riordan brought up the Kent 50 in the 13th over, but with the addition of just five more runs to the total, Somerset struck again. Migael Pretorius was brought into the attack at the River End, replacing  Davey who had bowled beautifully without reward, and the South African struck with the fourth ball of his second over as he bowled O’Riordan for 20 to reduce the visitors to 55 for three.

Leach was introduced to the attack at the River End and claimed the wicket of Compton in his third over when the Kent batter attempted a reverse sweep and gloved through to Rew at 94 for four. The England spinner then trapped Harry Finch lbw for five to leave Kent struggling on 102 for five.

By the close of play, Kent had reached 108 for five knowing that they have a huge amount to do if they are to get something from this game. Somerset on the other hand will be looking for more of the same on day three, but with rather less rain fall!