Somerset Over 60’s 1XI Captain’s Review 2021
We were all looking forward to a more ‘normal’ season, though still hand sanitising and with no teas, we were able to play some good competitive cricket again. Graham Bishop started where he left off the previous season and posted a score of 92 vs Wales in a pre-season friendly fixture and was well supported by Tony Scott 63 and Mike Fear 43. Nick Virgin taking 4 wickets in his 9 overs and Somerset had won their first game of their 2021 campaign.
Somerset won a low scoring game against Worcestershire who posted 123 with Iain Locke taking 3 for 26. In reply, Bishop 53 and Ashton 59* ensured we were able to complete a comfortable win in just 20 overs.
A wet May meant two games being called off but a foreshortened match vs Cornwall, Somerset posted 215, 98 of which were scored by an in-form Bishop who carried his bat when the overs ran out. Cornwall only managing 158-6 against some accurate bowling from Stevens, Virgin and Malcolm Smith who took 2 for 41 with his bemusing left arm wrist spin.
The sun reappeared for June’s fixtures which began with our meeting Gloucestershire. Batting first we put up 212-7, Bishop 87, again making his mark and Simon Hogg carrying his bat with 31*. Stevens claimed 3 for 28 and Virgin 3 for 29, thereby helping to contain Gloucestershire to 170-9. Travelling to Wales and batting first, with Bishop, Ashton, Hogg and Smith all getting into the 40s and Mike Fear cracking a strong 54, meant that Wales had to chase 262. Stevens again on target with 3 for 29 and Brogden and Smith with 2 wickets apiece held Wales to 178-9.
Something of a mid-season stumble saw Somerset lose to improved Worcestershire and Cornwall teams. Two further games were lost to rain but the trip to Gloucestershire produced an impressive win by 76 runs with Bishop in the runs again with 64 (out of our 229-5). Gloucestershire were bowled out for 153 (Locke 3 for 32; Hogg 3 for 27).
Moving into the knock-out stage, Somerset had managed enough points to force a home fixture in the last 16 where we met Yorkshire Veterans Ridings. The visitors won the toss and put us in on a drying wicket which made life difficult. Smith helped the cause considerably with a crunching 49 in the final overs as we set a target of with a creditable 200-5. Some miserly bowling prevented the opposition scoring and at the close we were able to record a win by 32 runs.
The Quarter Finals stage required a journey cross-country to Essex. Despite our best efforts with the ball and in the field, the runs could not be stemmed as we faced a total of 248-5 to chase down. At 26-5 we knew it was not to be our day which ended at 90 all out off just 38.5 overs. A somewhat disappointing end to an otherwise truly enjoyable and successful season.
The outstanding batsmen of the year were Graham Bishop with an average of 48 and Malcolm Smith who averaged 53.57. Simon Hogg and Phil Stevens bowled beautifully at an average of 14.88 and 18.92 respectively. Richard Gatton kept well throughout with 4 stumpings and Mike Fear was brilliant in the field, taking 8 catches.
Our thanks to Mike Ablett for scoring so well and those good men who stood as Umpires for us during the season. Perhaps next year we can look forward to some convivial teas that will indeed put the icing on the cake of our enjoyment of Seniors cricket.
Somerset Over 60’s 2XI Captain’s Review 2021
2021 saw a welcome return to a full season of cricket. The Covid pandemic was still dominating headlines but we, as ‘double-jabbed survivors’, were simply grateful for a return to cricketing action.
The playing record doesn’t really indicate anything other than an average season. Losing 2 of the first 3 matches to the weather and losing the first 3 matches of the season didn’t bode well. With heavy defeats to Oxfordshire and Wales, a dramatic narrow defeat to Worcestershire, snatched from the jaws of victory and the season, by the halfway point was already beginning to appear distant and disappointing. Fortunes ahead were uncertain particularly as injuries -mainly to bowlers, took their toll throughout the remainder of the season. With 18 different bowlers called on at various stages, such was the depth of Somerset’s resources that a bowler-led turnaround of results during the second half, with 5 convincing victories from the next 7 group matches, meant Somerset finished 3rd in the regional group.
In the national knock-out stage we earned a home fixture in the Vase quarter-final vs Cheshire who were ruthlessly despatched in a win by 8 wkts, inside 34 overs. Semi-final opponents Yorkshire Ridings were similarly treated with defeat by128 runs. Somerset therefore qualified for the National Vase Final v Middlesex played at the impressive Southgate CC where we ran out comfortable victors by 54 runs. How fortunes had changed in the second half of the season.
Cricket however is a team game but mention must be made of the following outstanding individual contributions: Evie Griffith amassed 500 runs (at an average of 83) including 2×100’s (one in the final) and 2×50’s. In only 6 appearances, Steve Sheppard’s astonishing bowling spells of 5-5-0-5 vs Cheshire and 9-5-7-3 v Yorkshire Ridings were instrumental in Somerset reaching the final.
The Final’s Day contained special moments; too many to recall, however these few especially remain: the luck of winning the toss and inviting Middlesex to ‘suffer’ in the stifling 30-degree Caribbean-like heat for the first half of the match; Griffith’s magnificent 79-ball century. After two overs both Middlesex openers calling for helmets in the face of Keith Graddon’s hostility; Morris’s match-turning 2-in-2 wonder-over, returning final figures of 4-32.
My thanks go to all 24 players who represented the 2’s this season; stay/get fit for the next one. Thanks also to the unsung heroes: Umpires -Chris Norton, Steve Dove, Dave Phillips, Steve Miller. Scorers -Tom Gibbard, Chalky Whyte. Finally, Steve Pursey for his tireless behind the scenes administrative tasks, to enable us to play each week, in what has been a particularly testing pandemic-dominated season for him.
Somerset Over 60’s FRIENDLY Captain’s Review 2021
The Seniors Friendly XI provides additional opportunities for players not selected for either the Over 60s or Over 70s to enjoy regular cricket as well as providing a way in for our welcoming new players. There has been a successful rotation of players available for games, with 32 different players representing this side, 17 eligible 70+ players and 15 eligible only for the 60’s.
2021 marked the first full season of fixtures for the Friendly XI. The team was successfully overseen by Steve Pursey and John Skinner.
There were 14 fixtures, spanning the season. Four games were lost to the elements, and of the remaining 10, there was one win, one tie, six losses and two were abandoned.
Generally, the opposition proved stronger than Somerset; Wiltshire, Wales and Dorset especially so. The friendly XI can feel proud that they held their own against much stronger opposition. The bowlers especially deserve praise for persistence.
Derry West was the Friendly XI star batsman, amassing 259 runs at an average of 51.8. Steve Pursey scored 149 at 29.6. There were fifties for Nigel Manley, Andrew Taylor and Brian Hamer.
Steve Crompton was the leading wicket taker with 10 wickets at 26.4, including the best return of the season, 3 for 30 against Dorset. Harry Humphries chipped in with 6 wickets.
Alan Rogerson deserves a mention for his fielding. Paul Fairman, Graeme King and John Skinner shared keeping duties.
Overall, the Friendly XI had a good first season with some great team and individual performances despite the obvious gap in ability in some games. Next season may see the emergence of an Over 60s 3rd XI but the intention is to retain a Friendly XI fixture list to ensure as much regular cricket is available to as many current and new players wishing to participate