Somerset Over 60’s 1XI Captain’s Review 2020
It may have been a strange cricket season, but our sincere thanks go to the SW organisers, team managers and, in particular, Steve Pursey, our coordinator, that we managed any play at all.
In a mini tournament we joined Wales and Wiltshire in a SW South group; the SW North group consisted of Gloucester, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire. The two teams topping each group met in the semi-finals.
At Somerset’s first game – vs Wiltshire – we welcomed newcomers, Nick Virgin (elevated from the Over 50s), Mike Lanning (from Kent) and Graham Bishop, along with debutant Simon Hogg. Wiltshire batting first were soon in trouble with both Lanning and Virgin getting their first wickets. However, it was the old man of the team, Brogden, who did the most damage taking 4 for 12. A total of 106 should have been a formality, but Bishop, Ashfold, Virgin and Fear all fell to LBW decisions, while Lanning was spectacularly caught off his first ball. At 26 for 6 Somerset needed something special and they got it in the guise of Simon Hogg (52no), Locke (27) giving Somerset a win by 4 wickets.
Against Wales, with Ashton missing, Ashfold made his debut as captain. Having won the toss Wales, elected to bat and had 82 on the board after 18 overs before the first wicket fell to Lanning – he added three more to his tally for 45 runs. Wales posted 192-8 and in response Locke and Stephenson put on 79 off 18 overs. Stephenson retired injured on 56 leaving Hogg (52no) and Lanning to take the score on to 144. With Mike Fear joining Hogg, the job was soon done.
In the return fixture, Wiltshire fielded a stronger side but struggled to contain Bishop (98no) who saw partners arrive and depart at regular intervals apart from Ashfold (30). Chasing 178, Wiltshire ended 28 runs short on 150 for 8.
The final group game v Wales was rained off leaving Somerset topping the group ahead of Wales. In our semi-final we met Warwickshire. We batted first, but only Hogg (40) and Fear (31) mastered the conditions in an under-par total of 144 for 8. Warwickshire demonstrated some aggressive batting and despite Stevens taking 3 for 41, they reached the target in 31 overs – subsequently defeating Wales in the final.
Although the season was short, it was most enjoyable and competitive and, throughout, we were well served by umpire Andy Wright and scorer Mike Brimble.
Brian Brogden, Team Manager
Somerset Over 60’s 2XI Captain’s Review 2020
As was a common experience, frustrations hit hard as the lockdown from April to July coincided with some of the warmest, cricket-friendly conditions we could have wished for. That eventually some cricket became possible, was a relief to everyone, particularly our enthusiastic Somerset seniors.
Once a hastily re-scheduled ‘mini-season’ of competitive, regional, inter-county cricket was given the go ahead, the 2’s first match against Wales saw us 12 runs short of a very gettable target – our only defeat of the season. Worcestershire tested us, but not half as much as the stiflingly hot weather did. Emphatic victories followed against Gloucestershire – both home and away – and the return fixture v Wales. Somerset, on a points percentage basis, finished comfortably top of our county group. A final end-of-season ‘friendly’ v Gloucestershire resulted in a third victory over our local rivals and the season concluded on a very satisfactory high note.
Throughout the season 20 players were called on in all formats of competition. New players settled well, and everyone contributed to improving team performances as the season progressed. Clearly, there is a growing interest and demand for Seniors cricket, and our performances reflected the quality of cricketer graduating into the Seniors’ ranks.
There is depth and quality of batting, (as seen by Julian Harvey in the middle-order, who amassed over 140 runs without being dismissed). Fielding was generally sharp and assured, pressurising opposition batsmen and creating a number of successful run outs. The variety and quality of bowling options often afforded Somerset a consistent wicket-taking threat and when necessary, crucial control of the run rate. All-in-all a most enjoyable and successful season.
Finally, my thanks to our officials, who did a sterling job in this brief and challenging season. But, a particular debt of gratitude is owed to Steve Pursey, who organised matches, sourced grounds and officials, communicated with opposition, updated websites and more, all whilst, as a key worker, running his business. Without his enthusiasm and commitment to the Senior’s cricketing cause, we might not have played any competitive cricket this season and sadly for Steve, due to injury, he barely managed to play the game he loves.
Miles Richards, Ov 60s 2nd XI captain