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.