Three Somerset Over 60s teams

Somerset Seniors Cricket provides the opportunity for those who, while progressing in years, have lost none of their enthusiasm for the game. We have Three Somerset Over 60s teams, all competing in national competitions and you can read reviews of previous season’s below. We are always welcoming of new players, so please contact us If you are interested in playing in the coming season.

Looking to find out more?

If you are interested in playing, or are just wanting to find out more about seniors cricket at Somerset, please do get in touch.

2024

2023

Like most counties our pre-season friendlies were called off due to a very wet April so we lacked match practice.

Got off to a good start winning at home against Wiltshire using a get out of jail card with Wiltshire collapsing from 110-4 to 118 all out chasing 168.  Lost at Worcester by 20 runs with ex-pro Martin Weston scoring 80 and bowling well.  Won at home against Devon by 3 wickets.  We then lost three on the trot before winning at home against Cornwall by 3 runs.

Our fourth and last win was away to Devon where they amassed 358 and somehow, with a brilliant team spirit, we scored 359 (two Devon players scored centuries and we had Simon Hogg scoring 99 and Graham Bishop, Everton Griffith and Barry Maggs scoring quick half centuries.

We finished our league fixtures with a heavy defeat at home to Wales meaning that we would be away for the quarter final. Oxford away was the fixture for the QF where we scored 247-10 and our hosts won by 6 wickets finishing on 248-4.

With a more settled side we could have done a little better and maybe got a home draw in the knock-out stage of the second tier competition. To compete in the National knock-out stage I feel is one step too far for us but we will keep trying no matter who is representing us.

“Average performance”……..”could do better”……, which reminds me of my many school reports! However, despite reaching a third consecutive National Final, this season is possibly judged albeit harshly, against the high standards of the previous two seasons. But this time finding ourselves in the unfamiliar role of runners up, being soundly beaten by a superior Worcestershire team on the day.

Statistics don’t always reveal the full story; but they do reveal some real home truths. Of the 8 group matches played, we were comfortable victors both home and away, over Cornwall and Devon, two sides we’d usually expect to beat. We lost both home and away to Oxfordshire and Worcestershire (but should never have lost the second game) who both deservedly finished above us in our group. With both home and away matches against Wales and Gloucestershire falling foul of the weather, the final group position of 4th out of 7really does add up to an average season.

Unlike in previous seasons, our main problem was with the bat, where only 4 batsmen scored 200 or more runs. But an undoubted strength of our side this season, as in previous seasons lay with the ball in hand, where we could regularly bowl sides out. However only 3 players recorded 10 or more wickets and we only knocked over the sides who finished below us in the league stage.

Throughout the campaign, there has always been a strong competitive spirit in our side, especially evident in the Vase quarter-final, drawn away at Cheshire. It is fair to say that despite Cheshire’s home advantage there is an expectation for hosts to be sympathetic to visitors when sourcing a ground to reduce travel time and costs. A four-hour journey to the northernmost tip of the Wirral, didn’t appear to be in accordance with recommended guidelines for such a knockout fixture, despite the fine facilities available at Upton CC. Losing the toss also didn’t help our cause and a sub-par total of 177-7 on a sluggish but drying wicket, probably had the home side taking tea in pretty good spirits. In reply Cheshire set off at a gallop and appeared in control of matters in by now, much improved batting friendly conditions. However following a self-inflicted 6 week absence from cricket, the introduction of Chris Garwood, put the emergency brakes on the home sides progress such that on completion of his 9-over spell with figures of 0-21 just indicate how well Chris bowled, despite his 6 wides! A perfect match-influencing effort. Along with more miserliness from Dave Wilcox 0-27 from his full spell, the pressure was now turned on an edgy home side. Key wickets fell including 2 run outs, enabling Somerset to creep home by 5 runs still with 5 wickets in hand; victory by the narrowest of margins. The beer was sweet and the return journey appeared faster!

Travelling again for a semi-final v Sussex to the picturesque ground at Fernhurst, this looked like a clear opportunity to chase a total as the wicket was dry, hard and true and unlikely to change in nature as overheads were excellent throughout the day. On winning the toss an immediate dilemma: key opening bowler Adrian Procter, with scorer Chalkie as passenger, was still on the road, dutifully following satnav on a mysterious route via Brighton! A hasty decision to bat first was made.

Openers Barr and Brooker looked imperious in caressing the ball to all parts, posting a 50 partnership in no time. However both fell in quick succession when well set and rebuilding, albeit on a good wicket presented some problems. David Noyes with 60 held things together enabling us scramble to 200, which felt about 20-30 short of what was probably par.

In response Sussex’s skipper raced to 34 in an opening partnership of 44 from 6 overs, applying a somewhat unconventional, successful but quirky technique. With both opening bowlers having been relieved of duty after 8 overs, the introduction of the spin twins Morris and Wilcox dramatically altered the Sussex innings. Wilcox was first amongst the wickets bamboozling the Sussex captain with a flighted straight one, whilst Edwin whirled away making very fine use of perfect local conditions -the sun behind him to complete his 9 overs with remarkable 1-15. The game took a further dramatic twist when Wilcox managed to take 3 more wickets ending his fine spell with 4-30 Clearly ‘pace off’ was the key and Sussex finished 10 runs short in another gripping conclusion. Yet another very satisfying victory on the road.

The less said about the final v Worcestershire the better, suffice to say that we took a heavy defeat against by the better side on the day, with no player in the Somerset ranks performing with much credit. Sometimes these unexplained blips can occur, but for Somerset with previous experience of finals victories, it simply wasn’t to be and sadly brought an end to our attempt at a hattrick of successes.

It has again been a pleasure and an honour to play and lead all those who represented Somerset O60’s 2nd X1 this season and I wish every success to the new cohort in 2024.

This was the 3rd XI’s second league campaign, and showed an improvement over 2022. Of the nine league games completed, we won 5 and lost 4, finishing 4th in the South West 3rd xi table, and therefore through to the Cup ‘proper’ with an away fixture against Kent. After a long trip to Bromley the game was abandoned without a ball being bowled. This gave us a home replay at Kilmington & Stourton, in which we were totally outplayed by Kent. Sussex were the eventual winners of the cup.

Derry West captained the first game v Warwickshire, playing a captains innings of 54* after Simon Cruickshank had taken 3 for 23 in restricting Warwickshire to 136 for 9. One win. Title contenders??

Steve Pursey captained the next three games which resulted in a loss v Oxfordshire but victories against Bucks and Worcestershire. A feature of all 3 games was the batting of Andrew Carson, who top scored in all 3. Chris Langley impressed on his debut with 5-3-9-2 and Steve Jolliffe scored the first of his two fifties. We were looking good and would have been 2nd in the table except for the 20 penalty points imposed on us by the league for playing an ineligible player. This oversight fortunately made no difference to our final position in the table.

Alan Rogerson offered to take the defibrillator and captain the side for the following week’s friendly v Wales, and was subsequently voted by the dressing room as the replacement captain for the remainder of the season.

Unluckily for Alan the first two games were against the two strongest teams, Wales and Oxfordshire. We were convincingly beaten in both games, but there was a half century for Iain Locke. Next up, was the game of the season at Edgbaston Nursery ground. As we turned up for the game we felt privileged to be playing on such a lovely track with proper seating for the crowds, and four full time groundsmen in attendance. Warwickshire posted an imposing 276 for 5 which we knocked off with 2 overs to spare, with fifties for the Steves – Jolliffe & Pursey.

A loss to a Worcestershire side that fielded ex Worcs pro Martin Weston was no disgrace and featured 64 from the 3rd xi’s top scorer of 2023 Rick Hutchinson. Buckinghamshire were our last opponents of the league campaign. We needed not only to win, but Gloucestershire needed to lose and collect two points or less for us to make the Cup. Bucks posted 200 for 6 (exactly the same score they posted in the previous fixture!). Rick Hutchinson scored 71 and Chris Langley 53 as we won with over 10 overs to spare. And then the news that Gloucestershire were bowled out for 87 and picked up just two bowling points. We drew top seed Kent in the Cup. We lost to Kent, but it all worked out well for Gloucestershire, because they went on to win the 3rd xi Vase.

Both our games against Gloucestershire were lost to the weather.

Twenty eight different players represented the 3rd xi in 2023. Rick Hutchinson topped the batting with 282 runs at 47.0 and Andrew Carson scored 218 at 43.6. Chris Langley also scored 153 in his 3 games at an average of 76.5. Harry Humphries took 9 wickets at an average of 30.00 while Trevor Pratt took 4 wickets at 27.75.

The 3rd xi is able to give an introduction to Seniors cricket for new players, while also accommodating those not selected for the 2nd xi and those narrowly missing out on 70’s selection as well as a hardcore of regulars to enable a competitive edge.

Steve Jolliffe (9), Alan Rogerson (9), Harry Humphries (9) and Rick Hutchinson (7) played the most games and formed the backbone of the side.

Many thanks to Chris Norton for yet another years faultless umpiring and to Tom Gibbard for his detailed scoring.

All in all a reasonably successful season and prospects for the 2024 season look good.

2022

Strictly in terms of results, the 1st team season was a disappointing one but there was no disgrace in losing our matches against the much improved teams from Cornwall, Wales and Gloucestershire. We enjoyed comfortable victories over Devon, twice, and Wiltshire, with our return fixture being lost to the heatwave.

With all our matches being played on good wickets, we were never close to being bowled out and our top four batsmen all scored fairly heavily, supported by others when the opportunity arose. However, there were certainly occasions, particularly when chasing a target, when we needed to be more positive with our attacking shots and more aggressive with our running between the wickets.

All our bowlers performed really well at times but we often spent long periods bowling at good, positive batsmen on excellent surfaces. I suppose we needed to be more consistent as individuals and as a group but our fielding could certainly have been better at times to support the bowlers.

Many of our difficulties came as no surprise as, sadly, due to long term injuries and unavailability we were deprived of most of our powerful middle order batsmen, some of whom would have given us more variety and options with the ball together with a few decent throwing arms.

However, there were many excellent individual performances during the course of the season and it was extremely encouraging that so many players that didn’t feature during the previous season did so well. Our fifty-nine-year-old ‘youth’, Hugh Bellamy was second in our list of run scorers behind captain, Simon Hogg and Adrian Procter, who had not featured for the 1st team since 2016, was our leading wicket taker, just ahead of the ever reliable duo, Phil Stevens and Nick Virgin. It was also good to see Ali Barr, our 2nd XI vice-captain playing all season in the first team, opening the batting with such confidence.

A big thank you to our umpires and particularly to our exceptional, ever-present scorer, Mike Ablett.

The 2022 season fell in to 3 stages:

Stage 1: the first 6 games, during which we were undefeated having stolen a thrilling tie from our first match of the competition against Wales.

Stage 2: the next 6 games, during which, following some indifferent form, we had a run of 3 wins and 3 defeats, to conclude the group matches and finish second to Wales.

Stage 3: the knock-out phases, during which we enjoyed a convincing away quarter-final win against Hertfordshire (Nationally ranked no.1) A narrow but deserved home semi-final win against Wales, followed by a thumping National Final victory over Lancashire at Stroud CC to conclude a very successful season.

To conclude: a whole variety of reasons contributed to an absence of consistency in selection this season, which would usually underpin successful team/squad progress. 34 different players were called on to represent the 2’s, with an average of 4 team changes each week, which indicates the depth and talent of playing resource within the Somerset Seniors. The quality and number of players available towards the end of the season presented particularly tough selection decisions, especially for the final, a situation not experienced earlier in the season. Dave Wilcox and Derry West, who had both played the majority of earlier matches, were omitted for the final. Despite understandable disappointment, I am grateful for the manner in which they accepted the decision and that both were supportive of the team throughout the final and to join the post-match celebrations.

Highlights:

Rick Hutchinson: batting at 7, undefeated 39 in 44 balls helping us crucially squeeze past Gloucestershire in the 44th over, in his only game for the 2’s!

Devon: being reduced to 11 for 4 wkts in the 16th over at Wembdon

Hugh Brooker: his maiden seniors’ century, 101no v Devon at Exmouth in his 2nd match

Steve Sheppard: his selection for England O70’s. 2’s leading wicket taker with 17 wickets from only 9. His match-winning all round performance of 5-10 in the quarter-final defeat of Hertfordshire, following his crucial earlier knock of 22 runs off 20 balls. A truly skilled performer and remarkable athlete.

Andy Ashfold: scoring 409 runs in his 6 matches, including a superb undefeated 123 in the National Final v Lancashire & sharing a match-winning opening stand of 206 in 38.2 overs, with newcomer David Noyes, who was probably disappointed he fell short of his personal milestone, falling for 87.

Sung & Unsung heroes: thanks to all the players, but thanks too must be extended to the (almost) ever present umpiring of Chris Norton (he missed 1 match) and scorer Chalkie Whyte for their valuable and unstinting support.

The first season for the 60’s 3rd xi was deemed a success despite a 6th place finish in the table. We played 10, won 4, lost 5 with 1 game abandoned. There had been reservations as to whether we could get a side out, let alone compete. Surprisingly we started with an easy victory against Buckinghamshire, 62 for Neil Johnson. An abandoned game v Wales and a comprehensive victory over Warwickshire (Harry Humphries 4 for 12) and we were top of the table!  Injuries and absences in the 1st and 2nds were beginning to impact on 3rd xi selection though. We were thrashed by Gloucestershire. Two more heavy defeats followed against Worcestershire and Oxfordshire and then disaster struck as the 2nd xi needed 6 of our players for the away game at Cornwall and we had no choice than to concede our game v Warwickshire. We were penalised 20 points, and bottom of the table Warwickshire were gifted 20 points. A further heavy defeat to Wales left us near the bottom of the table. Four games to go and we won 2, lost to Gloucestershire and the Worcestershire game was cancelled because of the heat. The two victories were against Buckinghamshire (Andy Ashfold 115*) and Oxfordshire (David Noyes 103*, Andrew Hannam 3 for 17 – both on debut). Gloucestershire racked up 298 for 3 at Keynsham, but despite half centuries for Rick Hutchinson and Roger Gale in the reply, it was 57 runs too many for us.

 

So a final position in the table of 6th, which possibly could have been 3rd if not for the conceded game. We gained an instant semi-final place against Middlesex at Southgate CC after Suffolk conceded. Middlesex racked up a ‘gettable’ 247 for 4 but despite losing wickets at regular intervals, Neil Johnson never gave up, scoring 96 as we lost by just 18 runs. Ironically Middlesex then lost the Vase final to Buckinghamshire, who we had beaten twice!

 

 Neil Johnson (228) was the leading run scorer followed by Rick Hutchinson (197). Harry Humphries (10) and Steve Pursey (9) were the leading wicket takers. Thirty-five different players represented the 3rd xi during the season, everyone playing a vital role in helping our first season become a success.

With so many new players joining Somerset Seniors this year, 2023 looks very promising for the 3rd xi.

 

Big thanks to our regular umpire Steve Dove and our scorer Brian Eaves.

Get in touch

If you’d like to speak to us about our seniors cricket, please contact us using the short online form below. By doing so, we’ll also keep you informed of new initiatives, competitions and club opportunities. You can unsubscribe at any time.

If you have any questions about filling in the form, please email us at info@somersetcricketfoundation.org. For full details on how we collect, use and store your personal information; please see our Privacy Policy.