Somerset secure home semi-final
Somerset 251 for 5 beat Essex 211 by 40 runs
Somerset assured themselves of a home semi-final in the Clydesdale Bank 40 with a 40-run Group C win over Essex at Taunton.
But it was victory at a price as skipper Marcus Trescothick injured an ankle while batting and looks set for a lengthy lay-off as his team chase a first ever County Championship title, as well as the 40-over crown. Peter Trego (51), Chris Jones (45 not out) and James Hildreth (41) were the mainstays of Somerset's 251 for five after winning the toss. Tom Craddock was the pick of the Essex bowlers with two for 38.
In reply, the visitors managed 211 all out, Jaik Mickleburgh top-scoring with 56 and Graham Napier making 41. There were two wickets each for Alfonso Thomas, Steve Kirby, Arul Suppiah and Craig Meschede.
Trescothick had made only 10 at that start of Somerset's innings when he was hurt turning quickly when sent back by opening partner Trego attempting a quick single. He had to be helped from the field and later emerged from the dressing room on crutches. Trego went on to a 53-ball half-century, with six fours, and Murali Kartik (29) helped him take the score to 68, having been promoted in the role of pinch-hitter.
Hildreth hit four fours before being caught and bowled by Craddock and Jones, on his one-day debut for Somerset, needed to exercise some caution as he and Meschede (17) guided their side towards a competitive total. Thomas then struck a quick blow, trapping Mark Pettini lbw in the second over of the Essex reply. But Adam Wheater (33) hit straight sixes off Suppiah and Meschede as he and Mickleburgh added 78 for the second wicket.
From then on wickets fell steadily, Meschede removing Tom Westley and James Foster to catches by former Gloucestershire wicketkeeper Steve Snell - signed on a short-term basis by Somerset, whose two keepers Craig Kieswetter and Jos Buttler were away with the England Twenty20 squad.
Napier did his best to launch a victory bid from 161 for seven, hitting a big six off Kartik in scoring his runs off 38 balls. But when he was pinned leg before by Thomas with 55 still needed Somerset were on the brink of their ninth group win. Snell is also likely to keep wicket for them on the opening day of the Championship clash with Hampshire at Taunton, starting on Wednesday.