Neighbours spoil Trescothick's party
Somerset 183 for 3 (Compton 58, Patel 3-36) beat Middlesex 161 for 7 (Simpson 47*, Nannes 3-28)
It was all going so well for Somerset: a full-house crowd, lapping up the early evening sunshine and thoroughly enjoying the entertainment as Marcus Trescothick finally found a bit of T20 form and Nick Compton blazed his way to a half-century. And then the neighbours went and spoilt it.
But while a few members of the Taunton faithful might like to point a finger at Gloucestershire's capitulation in Cardiff, the vast majority of those who witnessed this impressive but ultimately academic victory know well enough that Somerset have only themselves to blame for failing to reach a sixth consecutive quarter-final.
A record of six wins from 14 T20 Blast matches hardly screams out "we wuz robbed" - and by losing their last two matches they went into this game needing Gloucestershire, of all counties, to do them a favour with qualification out of their own hands.
It was not to be. But at least Somerset finished with a real flourish in front of 7,000 or so spectators - an opening stand of 105 between Trescothick and Compton laying excellent foundations for a best-of-the-season total of 183 at Taunton before a double wicket burst from Dirk Nannes unhinged Middlesex's reply in mid-innings.
If only. No, not if only the result had gone the other way in Cardiff but if only Somerset had put together more performances like this one. And no doubt those two blokes at the top of the home order were thinking much the same.
Compton's six previous appearances had yielded just 110 runs while Trescothick was so out of sorts (43 runs in eight innings) that it seemed as though he was T20 history, at least for this season, until Craig Kieswetter's serious facial injury sparked a rethink. Instead of watching from the sidelines, Trescothick stepped up as stand-in wicketkeeper earlier this month - and tonight he looked something more like his old self in front of the stumps and gave a more than decent impression of a somewhat portly jack-in-the-box behind them.
Compton it was, though, who set the tempo. Having offered a difficult chance to Dawid Malan in the deep early on, the former England Test opener pulled anything remotely short with vicious power and drove seamer Harry Podmore and spinner Olly Rayner for a couple of handsome sixes on his way to a 36-ball 58.
Trescothick never completely convinced with his timing sometimes awry but by the time both batsmen fell, in the space of four deliveries, the hosts were well on their way to a commanding total - a total achieved despite another encouragingly mature spell from the latest spinner on England's radar, Ravi Patel. Compton rather gifted the left-armer his wicket, aiming a reverse sweep, but Patel saw Trescothick coming to engineer a stumping and then collected a third victim with Colin Ingram holing out.
Middlesex, with only two victories all campaign, were never fancied to chase down this total. They gave it a go early on, with Malan hitting six of his first eight deliveries to the boundary, but Nannes ended any thoughts of an away win - with plenty of help from a jumping and diving Trescothick. The 38-year-old held three catches of the left-arm fast bowler, the best of them a leaping one-hander as Eoin Morgan tried to flip a boundary.