Somerset v Essex, Flt20 Quarter-final, Taunton July 24, 2012

Hildreth fifty helps Somerset through

Ivo Tennant at Taunton

Somerset 175 for 6 (Hildreth 58) beat Essex 148 (ten Doeschate 47) by 27 runs

Somerset, given the fillip of having their adored captain back in their side, will contest FLt20 finals day for the fourth year in succession. They have not won this competition since 2005, so there will be nerves aplenty when they take to the field at Cardiff on August 25. "I am very aware of what has happened over the past few years," said Marcus Trescothick. He could hardly have forgotten.

It seemed that Somerset, put in by James Foster, had not made a sufficiently imposing total, not at Taunton. Essex needed 176 to win and they had both Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara back for this quarter-final. Yet, the catching of the former apart, both looked enervated by all that fielding and a heavy defeat at The Oval. By the time they had been to the crease and gone, the total was 53 for 5. Although Ryan ten Doeschate struck 47 off 24 balls, the highest score of their innings, in truth the match was over.

Mark Pettini was held at wide mid on; Bopara, having bowled two overs for 24, went for a duck at short midwicket; Owais Shah aimed across the line and was caught at third man; James Franklin was run out by Lewis Gregory's strong arm on the third man boundary; James Foster was held low and athletically by George Dockrell off his own bowling; and Graham Napier horribly skewed an attacking shot of some description.

True, 20 runs came off the 18th over, bowled by Alfonso Thomas, whom South Africa have had their eye on a little too late in his career, and 29 were needed off the last two overs, which was not out of the question. From the first ball of the penultimate over, David Masters was bowled by Gregory, stumps splayed with a certain finality, and ten Doeschate followed, caught at deep square leg.

All this after Craig Kieswetter, a century maker in his last two innings, had tried to clear the pavilion off the first ball of the match and was held by Cook at long off. Trescothick, warmly greeted as he sprinted from the dugout - his affection for Somerset compares with that of Colin Cowdrey's for Kent and Graham Gooch's for Essex - and there were glimpses of his old self in three stroked fours, through the covers and backward of square, before he flicked too uppishly to short long leg.

Unlike Jos Buttler and Albie Morkel, James Hildreth eschewed the notion of trying to clear the stands. Instead, he collected ten fours through his good eye and a little improvisation before he was run out by Tim Phillips attempting a second run to deep square leg. His innings of 58, the one half century in this match, came off 36 balls. Maybe, given his form, Nick Compton should have been playing. A pity that Somerset should feel the need to employ Richard Levi, and for that matter Morkel, in his stead.

Still, the Somerset followers - a crowd of 6,700 for this match on the hottest day of the year in the Westcountry - will embrace anyone who appears for them. In contrast with the weariness of Cook and Bopara, they will have an energised Trescothick leading them for the remainder of the season. Surely this trophy cannot be beyond their clutches for a fourth year in succession?

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  • Samuel on July 26, 2012, 11:03 GMT

    Munkeymomo - Hildreth finally seems to have gotten T20 this year hasn't he? For such a naturally fluent player he's always struggled slightly in the shorter forms of the game strangely, so it's good to see him batting brilliantly this year. I think he's just reminded the selectors he's around still, and we might see him in a Lions squad or two before the end of the season.

  • Satish on July 26, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    Nick Compton? As far as i saw him in tv, he has only one boundary shot is T20 and that is scoop.. Apart from that, he can maximum score a single.. Somerset has far better T20 players than him for sure.. With Treaco back, they can easily pick Suppiah in for Compton.. Battingwise, Suppiah is better than Compton in this format and his bowling will only be a advantage..

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2012, 23:34 GMT

    Surprised they dropped Suppiah to bring in Gregory, normally Suppiah will give you 3 tight overs, tbh I'd rather have Meschede over Gregory, but would have Suppiah for finals day it being a spnning wicket at the Swalec, Levi has been a bit disappointing for me, just like Pollard was with the bat last year, not consistent enough. Somerset la la la!

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2012, 22:00 GMT

    I see finals day is the day after the first Eng-SA ODI. I assume somerset will get Morkel, Kieswetter back. Assuming they do and get to the final the next problem will be the Champions league. Both Morkel and Levi play for IPL teams that are in so Somerset will not have either of them for that.

  • Sukwinder on July 25, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    The first ball of the match and Kies did a ridiculous thing although he came from back to back hundreds! Hope he doesn do the same on the final day! Sussex is the team to avoid though! Thomas has to get his act right in the final overs!! Great to see tresco back and lead the side!

  • Mark on July 25, 2012, 7:46 GMT

    Ivo,true Nick Compton has been in imperious form this year, but he scores too slowly for T20! I would much rather have Morkel in the side anyway, did you not see how well he bowled? As for Levi, he is a better fielder than Compton and scores faster, so he is in. Hildreth has had yet another brilliant year, and taking Somerset to finals day is well deserved for him. In truth, Essex were outplayed by Somerset bowling, which was much better, save for some long hops from Max Waller and some wide stuff from Thomas, whereas Phillips, Bopara and Franklin were all quite poor with the ball for Essex. Ryan ten Doeschate should have batted higher up the order, he is better than Franklin, Foster, Cook and Pettini in t20. All in all, good game for a Somerset fan, unlucky Essex (though it is always nice to see James Foster lose).

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2012, 7:36 GMT

    > Maybe, given his form, Nick Compton should have been playing

    No, really. No. He has had many chances at T20 level this season and hasn't produced the goods once. I'd have rather let a youngster like Meschede play than NC. I do agree that Levi is a waste of money, a poor fielder and not a particularly skilful batsman.

    I'm sure for most Somerset fans, myself included, I'd happily loose again if we could clinch the LVCC for the first time.

  • John on July 25, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    Good win but still many things to wonder about. I thought it was a bit of a gamble to keep Gregory on when he was going for runs and had Essex not been so many wkts down we could have been in big trouble. Great inns from Hildreth and great to see Tres back. He looks extremely happy out there and I hope that is a true reflection of how it is for him. BTW what was CK all about?

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