Over the weekend of the 20th and 21st May, Somerset VI CC travelled to London Metro to play them twice in two days; one leage and one T20 fixture.
Match reports below:
League Fixture (Kathryn Jelfs-White)
Somerset’s Visually Impaired team began their season with an away double header in the capital after the weather had put pay to the anticipated opener at home.
Saturday saw the league fixture and Sunday began Somerset’s defence of their David Townley Memorial Twenty20 Cup (separate report to follow – no spoilers!)
Somewhat against the usual form, captain Ed Hossell actually won a toss and elected to put London Metro in to bat first. After making the predictable jokes about the cartoon, Somerset strode onto the field at South Park, a venue new to both teams. Ed, brother Rory and Mikey Contreras were the first bowlers to attack on the artificial strip and made a steady start restricting Metro’s openers to 33 off the first six overs. The opening partnership was finally broken in the seventh over thanks to a great low catch from the skipper off Adrian Snellgrove’s bowling.
The next few overs from Rory and Steve Cook saw Metro ticking the scoreboard over slowly but steadily as they found the gaps on a very large outfield which was also extremely bobbly causing the fielders problems with unpredictable bounces and diversions. Ed, Rory, Adrian and Alan Mabey plugged away for a few more overs as Metro had a ton on the board before Rory and Mikey combined either side of drinks in the 10th and 17th overs to remove Andy Law LBW (B1 batters are only half out on the first LBW and fully out on the second so Mikey took the bowling credit).
Somerset kept plugging away and working tirelessly as the 200 came and went until finally Metro’s marvellous opening and blind cricket’s first 10,000 run hitter, Matt Dean, was caught at mid-off by his name sake Matt Davidson off the captain’s bowling for a mighty 147. The away team felt back in the game with the danger man gone and started wrestling back some control in the 26th over as Mikey took two in two with a couple of catches from Ed and Kathryn Jelfs-White. The potential hat-trick ball was a beauty with Metro captain Rory Field getting an under-edge that sadly hit the deck before keeper Heidi Linegar could get there, despite the lightening reactions to make the attempt.
Magic Mikey took his fourth wicket in the 28th removing Mo Ghalib with an impressive catch by Rory bravely running in over dodgy ground from the deep to make the great grab at square leg, finishing on 4/55. A few minutes later Metro decided that 289/6 was sufficient and declared, leaving the visitors 30 overs to chase down their score.
After tea Ed and Matt set about the response but sadly Matt was bowled in the third over and Ed caught in the fourth and despite the fierce sunshine things began to look gloomy. Adrian and Rory settled the ship for the next six overs and things began to improve until both were out within three balls of each other, Adrian finishing top scorer with 26 runs.
Several small partnerships developed throughout the Somerset innings but only for a few overs at a time as they struggled to get anywhere near the required run rate and soon decided to hanging on for a draw was the only option. The middle order came and went and the stage seemed set for heroics from the tireless tailenders Adam White and Dave Ridgway who make an art of survival at the death but sadly it was not to be as Dave was left stranded within touching distance of a commendable draw with mighty Mo finishing with figures of 7/25.
The actual result does not tell the full tale. Although the record books will show a loss by 133 runs, Somerset very nearly held on for a draw with the last wicket falling with only nine balls remaining! A really creditable effort in tough conditions from a team that never knows when it is beaten and always maintains a high level of intensity and togetherness that is a credit to the sport.
T20 Fixture (report by Alan Mabey)
Somerset (164-6, 19.5 overs; Crisp 55, E Hossell 47) beat Metro (163-4, 20 overs, Ghalib 86*) by four wickets
The calm head of Mikey Contreras steered Somerset to a four-wicket victory over Metro to see them advance to the quarter-finals of the T20 Cup. A late wobble had threatened to derail the Cidermen, but Contreras’ unbeaten three saw Somerset sneak over the line with a ball to spare in a thrilling contest in the capital.
Metro were the happier side at the interval, recovering from 26-3 to post a challenging 163-4. Mo Ghalib led the way for the Londoners with an enterprising 86 not out from just 55 balls, with Nick Ebbeck providing fine support in an 111-run fourth-wicket partnership, chipping in with 35.
Somerset were left to rue failing to capitalise a dream start. Matt Dean, fresh from scoring 146 against Somerset the day before, hit Rob Crisp’s first ball to mid-wicket where Ed Hossell took an outstanding catch. Crisp was especially relieved, having dropped Dean running in from extra cover the over before. Steve Cook trapped Andy Law lbw for a duck before Crisp struck with the first ball of his second over: Prem Sellathurai picking out Rory Hossell at mid-on.
Ebbeck and Ghalib worked the gaps well as they patiently set about the rebuild, before Ghalib in particular looked to increase the scoring rate, helping himself to seven boundaries in total. Ebbeck eventually took one risky run too many, Rory Hossell the man with the throw and a speedy bit of work from Crisp at the bowlers end completing the dismissal. Crisp was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with 2-16 from his four overs, whilst Ed Hossell also bowled well without reward for 0-22 from his allocation.
After tea, Ed Hossell and Crisp strode to the crease, making a tentative start in the face of a hostile opening spell from Ghalib, fresh on the back of taking 7-25 the previous day. However, the pair soon settled into the task at hand. The conditions weren’t the easiest for run scoring, but the duo picked the gaps well and ran very intelligently between the wickets, turning ones into twos and twos into threes.
At 114-0 in the twelfth over, Somerset looked like they were cruising, but the returning Ghalib had Hossell caught at square leg for 47 from just 34 deliveries. Crisp passed his fifty before picking out Matt Dean in Ghalib’s next and final over for 55 from 47 balls. Ghalib ended up with 2-10, capping a fine all-round display.
Matt Davidson and Adrian Snelgrove both departed fairly soon after, using up sixteen balls for one run between them, giving Metro the belief that they could turn this game around. Rory Hossell had other ideas, showing great composure to pick the gaps and also running very sharply between the wickets, a feature of Somerset’s innings. With eight needed from the final over, disaster struck as Hossell was run out for an invaluable 26 attempting the second run to get back on strike. Alan Mabey was run out next ball returning for the second run, leaving Somerset needing four from three balls. A two from Contreras, a wide, and then a single were enough to send the defending champions through, in what was a gripping contest right until the end.
Somerset will play the winners of Kent and Northamptonshire in the quarter finals.