Somerset v Nottinghamshire, Taunton, 4th day August 5, 2013

Compton focuses on survival

David Lloyd at Taunton

Somerset 188 (Meschede 59) and 141 for 2 (Compton 70*) drew with Nottinghamshire 378 (Mullaney 75, Hussey 68, Fletcher 58)

One team made almost all the running in this match but at least Somerset - with Nick Compton back near to his resolute best - avoided what would have been a devastating defeat on the eve of their FLt20 quarter-final against Surrey.

A brief but spectacular downpour ended the contest two and half hours early but Nottinghamshire's enthusiasm had already been blunted by Compton's excellent unbeaten 70.

Even given the hosts' vulnerability in Championship cricket, it was asking an awful lot of Nottinghamshire to force a win after the loss of 108 overs to bad weather earlier in the match. And with Andre Adams off the field because of a hamstring injury, their only real hope was another Somerset implosion.

There were not many spectators at the County Ground on Monday but it is safe to assume that a majority of those present feared the worst, from a home perspective, when their team was made to follow on 190 runs behind.

Steve Kirby, out to the morning's second ball, could not be blamed for the perilous position. But, somehow, the No. 10's dismissal - prodding a catch to silly point after pushing forward at spinner Samit Patel and then thumping his bat into the ground with real fury - seemed to sum up Somerset's despair.

A draw, earning just six points after Sunday's victory for bottom of the table Derbyshire and with eighth-placed Surrey now having a game in hand, was nothing to celebrate. But a defeat might have done irreparable damage to morale with five matches remaining.

Thanks principally to Compton, but with some valuable help from Marcus Trescothick, Chris Jones and James Hildreth, Notts were never given much more than a sniff of a victory that would have strengthened their challenge to move away from the lower reaches of the table.

And when a storm of tropical, if not near biblical, proportions broke with 38 overs remaining, Somerset's mission was looking manageable. The two teams took tea but they might just as well have taken straight to their cars.

"It was a match saved and it's better than losing," Compton said, once hands had been shaken on the draw. "It was nice to show a rearguard action after our first innings, when we simply didn't get enough runs. When you are trying to stay in the first division you need to get big first-innings scores."

Notts' 378 looked a bit over par while Somerset's 188 had been horribly short of competitive - several of the home batsmen, Compton included, having gifted their wickets.

"I think speaking specifically for myself that was one of the worst shots I have played in a long time," admitted Compton, who has had to pick himself up from the crushing, and unexpected, disappointment of being omitted from England's Ashes plans. "I think our concentration was a lot better in the second innings."

Somerset's future in Division One remains far from certain. And the same is true of Compton's career at Taunton, the opener having so far declined to sign a new contract. He said he is likely to reach a decision in the next couple of weeks while stressing the importance of remaining in the top tier.

"It's very important to stay in the first division," Compton said. "I've made it known I'm very keen to get back into the England fold. All of us here want to be playing first division cricket. It's a first division club, that's why I came here [from Middlesex in 2010], and days like today, with people showing fight and sticking their hands up, is what it's going to take to stay up.

"I'm not sure about my future. I've had my head down focusing on my career and I want to make sure the England selectors don't forget me. So my mind hasn't really been on it but I will make a decision in the next couple of weeks or so."

Compton's county can only hope he decides to stay. It will take more than hope, though, to keep them in Division One.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on August 6, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    @OMM: Small fry who actually produce players.

  • Ohhhh on August 5, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    Buttler and Compton should head to Edgbaston or Lords. Both teams need a decent young keeper-batsman and a talented opener (Rogers can be pushed down to 3 for Middlesex). Plus they might actually get recognised, as everyone knows Somerset are small fry!

  • John on August 5, 2013, 21:15 GMT

    @Derek Grabham on (August 5, 2013, 18:57 GMT) But it's the batsmen (most of the ones you mentioned) who have been failing time and time again this season in the CC - even in the game we won vs Derbyshire. Yes we could do with more penetration in our bowling at times but with the exception of Alviro (who's missing at present) and Nick who's not reached last season's heights - how much/often have the other names contributed with the bat in the CC this season?

  • Dummy4 on August 5, 2013, 18:57 GMT

    Successful championship cricket is paramount to any County cricket side as it is the stepping stone to the England XI side as Compton was saying in this article. Somerset must be aware of this and needs to bolster their bowling attack as I have said earlier this season, we need 20 wickets to win matches, get Steyn or Morkel, not top quality batsmen (we have enough of those, we have a side full of good batsmen like Trescothick, Hildreth, Petersen, Buttler, Trego, Kieswetter, need I say more), we need top quality bowlers. so for 2014 season, put your thinking caps on please for Somerset cricket's sake!!! Or Nosworthy, you will be out by the Somerset public revolt!!

  • Dummy4 on August 5, 2013, 18:07 GMT

    Well played Nick, good to see you reaching a not-out!

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