Somerset Over 70s provides the opportunity for those who, having possibly progressed through other ‘Senior Sides’ or who are looking to re-engage with cricket in their ‘advanced years’, can join with others in an enjoyable and fulfilling experience, and keep body and mind in better shape.
Somerset Over 70’s Captain’s Review of 2021
In the pre-season friendly vs Wales, despite losing by 8 wickets, Nigel Manley (31) and Bernard Raines (25) showed their intent for the new season. A trip to the New Forest saw Hampshire hit 234-2 and while Steve Chaudoir (42) and Nigel Manley (37) completed an opening stand of 82, we struggled to match the required run rate. Brian Pearson carved out 33no to earn some extra batting points, but a defeat by 73 runs marked our return to the National Competition.
Then followed two of three cancellations due to rain but returning to the fray at the end of May, Richard Newport (84) and Steve Sheppard (73) had Worcestershire chasing leather in a partnership worth 110. Our total of 224 was soon out of reach as Geoff Flynn (3-19) and Steve Edwards (2-19) supported by ‘miserly’ Alan Elkington (1-13 off 9) restricted the opposition to 127-7.
The next two fixtures saw us well beaten by Devon (by 7 wickets) and Wales (by 73 runs) though the ‘Brians’ (Brogden and Pearson) enjoyed a spirited partnership of 93 vs Wales at Newport. The return fixture against Hampshire delivered a close contest and some moments of drama. Our seemingly modest total of 159 was achieved with the aid of Steve Sheppard (53no) and 26 extras. Despite the Hampshire skipper’s efforts (70no) the side folded in the 36th over giving us a win by 16 runs – Alan Elkington and Steve Sheppard claiming 3 wickets each.
Poor weather meant we missed playing Gloucestershire again, and an opportunity to redress the balance vs Wiltshire went adrift with a loss by 4 wickets, despite an 80 run partnership by Nigel Manley (45) and Brian Pearson (41), with Andrew Taylor (50no) and Dave Foster (25no) adding 42 in the closing 6 overs. Steve Edwards took 3-28 but Wiltshire overcame our total with 2 overs to spare. A trip to Worcestershire is usually a pleasant affair and on this occasion the hosts posted 174-4. In response, Andrew Taylor (85no) with some formidable hitting, supported by Steve Sheppard and Brian Hamer, took us within reach of their total but it was left to Dave Foster (13no) to heave the winning shot into the adjacent field with 7 balls to spare.
Seaton was the venue for our second encounter with Devon and while wickets were generally hard to come by (Andrew Taylor leading the way with 3-38), we felt we had restricted them to an under-par score of 150-6. And so it proved to be, with Brian Hamer (50) and Steve Sheppard (31) as the main contributors to our 4 wicket win.
Despite a loss by 8 wickets at home to Wales, there were good knocks by Nigel Manley (33) and Dave Foster (44 which included 7 fours). But the best was left to last, as we moved into the ko stage and were drawn at home to Warwickshire. After an early success, we anticipated a long afternoon in the field as 105 was added before a 2nd wicket fell, to be followed by another 50+ partnership. 204-4 was challenging but (hopefully) not beyond us. Nigel Manley and Brian Pearson built a partnership of 72 but their departure made way for a full-on onslaught courtesy of Bernard Raines (54no) and Steve Edwards (40no) and victory came in the 36th over. Sadly, the season ended more with a whimper than a bang as we declined to take a three day ‘mini-break’ to play Norfolk in the next round.
In conclusion, our first season in the National Competition ended with: Won 5, Lost 5, Cancelled 3 and Conceded 1. Among the players, familiar faces confirmed they were still ‘up for it’ and several new faces made significant contributions, all of which bodes well for the future. As ever, we were extremely grateful to our officials, both ‘on the field’ and ‘in the box’ – with congratulations going to Paul ‘Chalkie’ Whyte who received a ‘Seniors’ cap.