Somerset wrap up victory on day four


Somerset’s unbeaten start to the Vitality County Championship season continued courtesy of this hard-fought eight wicket win over Kent at the Cooper Associates County Ground which saw the home side secure maximum points.

In truth, it’s been an enthralling four days and the game has had a little bit of everything!

The home side dominated the opening two days, but a stunning double century from Zak Crawley on day three left the result hanging in the balance.

Thankfully for the home crowd it was Somerset who eventually came out on top, thanks in no small part to a century stand between Matt Renshaw and Andy Umeed, who registered his highest First Class score for the Club.

Another beautiful day in Taunton began with the result still very much in the balance as Kent resumed on 409 for five.

The hosts nearly secured an immediate breakthrough when Migael Pretorius, completing his over from the previous evening, enticed Harry Finch into flashing at one which Craig Overton was unable to hold in the slips.

The visitors continued to patiently accrue runs and the score had advanced to 455 when Josh Davey, who was unable to bowl yesterday due to sickness, was brought into the attack at the River End. The Scotland International struck with his third delivery, finding Finch’s inside edge. James Rew did the rest and the Kent ‘keeper was gone for 20.

Jack Leach, who bowled impressively on day three, was thrown the ball at the River End resulting in a change of ends for Davey. Whilst there was no success for Leach, Davey struck again in his third over from the Trescothick Pavilion End when he trapped Joey Evison lbw for 17 with the score on 480. At this point the lead was 104 .

The score had moved to 494 for seven when Pretorius replaced Davey and the inspired bowling change saw the South African remove Beyers Swanepoel with the third ball of the over. Overton this time took the catch at second slip off the outside edge, and the dismissal brought about the lunch interval.

Joe Denley and Grant Stewart took their side to 500 in the 114th over and had added a further 53 when Lewis Gregory got one to climb on Stewart (37) who could only get a thick inside edge on to his own stumps. Aware of the need for runs, Denley (67) looked to accelerate but edged the Somerset skipper through to Rew to bring an end to Kent’s dogged resistance with 564 runs on the board. That left the home side needing 189 runs for victory from a minimum of 54 overs.

Pretorius was the pick of the Somerset attack, claiming three for 110 whilst there were two wickets apiece for Gregory, Leach and Davey.

Somerset suffered an early setback when Sean Dickson (6) flicked a leg side delivery from Swanepoel through to Finch with just 24 runs on the board.

Renshaw and Tom Lammonby brought up the Somerset 50 after 13 overs but with the score on 60 Lammonby looked to dispatch the fourth ball of the final over before tea, bowled by O’Riordan, into the Lord Botham Stand. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite middle it which enabled Zak Crawley to take a relatively simple catch at long off. He departed for a rapid 30 and the players left the field.

Umeed joined Renshaw in the middle after the interval and the pair set about their task intelligently and watchfully, although Renshaw reached his half century, which came from 76 balls, in typically flamboyant fashion by crashing the ball to the off side boundary for four.

The 50 partnership followed shortly afterwards from 81 deliveries. Umeed then went to 50 from 82 balls, and the single that brought him his half century also took the third wicket partnership to three-figures.

The Scotland International batter passed his previous Somerset First Class best of 60, which was achieved earlier this summer at Kidderminster, and he finished the match off in fine style by dispatching O’Riordan high into the Hildreth Stand for a big six to secure the victory. He finished on 73 not out with Renshaw on 82 not out.

The partnership was worth 134 runs and helped to secure back to back home wins for Somerset, and once again the sound of the players searching in song for the location of a particular bird gloriously rang out from the open dressing room window.