Somerset v Warwickshire, Taunton, 1st day

Westwood makes Somerset pay

Tim Wigmore

August 15, 2014

Comments: 3 | Text size: A | A

Warwickshire 334 for 9 (Westwood 129, Overton 3-59, Gregory 3-97) v Somerset
Scorecard


Ian Westwood stood firm as wickets fell around him, Somerset v Warwickshire, County Championship, Division One, Taunton, 1st day, August 15, 2014
Ian Westwood held Warwickshire together in Taunton © Getty Images
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A cursory glance at Warwickshire's score might suggest that Somerset had ample reason to cheer. This is Taunton, after all, and, though the pitch is more competitive than many recognise, a first day score of 334 for 9 is seldom one that would leave the bowling side feeling perturbed.

It is also to Somerset's great credit that, with a month to go of the season, a significant chunk of a hearty crowd felt obliged diligently to check upon the progress of the Division One leaders Yorkshire. This time last year, Somerset were rather more concerned with the fate of Derbyshire and Surrey at the other end of the table.

Yet that only made five squandered chances - three eminently catchable - all the more frustrating. On a wicket that was unusually green, explaining Marcus Trescothick's decision to insert Warwickshire, Somerset may regret their fecklessness. It has been a recurring theme of an otherwise admirable campaign: one suspects that a revised Championship table, supposing that all teams had taken every catch, would show Somerset proudly perched at the table's head.

A single moment would have given Somerset particular cause for regret. Ian Westwood, counter-punching after Varun Chopra's airy drive to the fourth ball of the day, offered a regulation catch to Lewis Gregory at gully on 24, cutting Peter Trego. Gregory spilled the chance, and then bumped into Nick Compton to compound his woe.

Westwood would not depart until he had made another 105 runs - he was eventually snared in an almost identical position, with Gregory now the bowler. In between times, Westwood had contributed an innings of skill and defiance, defending assiduously while brutally pulling anything short in length. It was a worthy way for Westwood to end a two-year wait for a first-class century.

Without it, Warwickshire would have been in a royal mess and their own Championship hopes - they began the day only four behind adrift of Somerset - swiftly evaporating. After Will Porterfield played on to Gregory, both Jonathan Trott and Sam Hain - or Trott present and Trott future, as some would have it - fell in quick succession.

Jones decides against cricket career

  • Chris Jones, the Somerset opening batsman, has announced his retirement from first-class cricket at the age of 23. "After much thought, and deliberation, I have decided to call time on my cricket career," Jones said in a statement. "While it has been a relatively short career, I feel very privileged to take so many memories and friends with me. Somerset has been a massive part of my life for the past 10 years and so it's, inevitably, very sad to be leaving at the end of the year. I, however, feel now is the right time to leave to pursue other avenues of interest in my life."
  • Jones made his first-class debut for Somerset against Lancashire four years ago, just before beginning an economics degree at Durham University. Last year, he scored 130, his only first-class century, against the Australian tourists days after being awarded a first from Durham. Because of university commitments, he had to wait until 2014 to enjoy an uninterrupted county season. In eight first-class games this year, Jones scored 339 runs at an average of 28.25, including a vital 87 in the victory over Northamptonshire last month.

It was a rather uncharacteristic Trott innings. He cut his first ball for four, steered a full toss through third man for another boundary, second ball, and then scampered a quick single. If it was un-Trott like, it still felt ominous for Somerset.

But that was reckoning without Craig Overton. A brutal lifter outside offstump demanded Trott's edge - it was not a loose shot, but a ball that no batsman could refrain from playing at. Any bowler would cherish getting Trott out in that fashion - especially a player who still describes himself as a batting allrounder.

It all served as a reminder of what a tremendous prospect Overton is. His Championship tallies for the season - 306 runs at 34; 35 wickets at 27 apiece - hint as much. He is still developing pace and learning to marry it to accuracy. In time, the prospect of both Overton twins - Jamie's frustrating season continued as he was named 12th man after a spell back at Devon - bowling in tandem will be a salivating one.

Hain's dismissal, to an airy cut, was a product of pressure: he took 34 balls over his seven. When Tim Ambrose, reprieved at first slip by Trego, then flashed loosely against him - Trego was the second bowler of the day to claim the wicket of a batsman he had previously dropped - Warwickshire were 144 for 5.

Such a score rarely triggers Warwickshire panic, such is the strength of the club's lower order. But with Chris Woakes detained by England and Keith Barker missing the game with an elbow complaint, it was a lower order that felt unusually vulnerable. To deplete Warwickshire's bowling, Boyd Rankin and Chris Wright were also absent, the latter with a stress fracture in the back that will rule him out for the season.

If the situation had a whiff of crisis about it, Rikki Clarke has made an art out of crisis management. Alongside Westwood, he steered Somerset nearer a position of parity, benefiting from a tricky dropped chance by Overton at third slip.

Another venomous delivery from Overton was the cue for another exuberant celebration, but again Somerset were left frustrated. With a physique that looks as if it could be transferrable to rugby, Richard Jones biffed George Dockrell for a couple of straight sixes, benefitting from a missed chance from Marcus Trescothick off Trego. As the shadows of the evening sun lengthened, Jeetan Patel and Oliver Hannon-Dalby looted the tiring Somerset bowlers.

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Posted by   on (August 16, 2014, 6:45 GMT)

The game is interestingly balanced. Perhaps Warks got a few more than they should having been 5 down. But, as Iain points out their bowling is very weak. Can we take advantage and go big? If we can posted 500 odd with the weather gods smiling on us we could force the win. Really need the big man up top to get his fifth ton of the season. Also really excited about abell playing. By all accounts he was been scoring runs for fun in the seconds for a couple of years. I think his potential rise and Jones' consistently mediocre performances have led Jones to hang up his boots. In three years of fairly regular games for Somerset Jones never pushed on. I had hoped the to against Oz was a benchmark of what as to come, but it was never repeated. Anyway, all the best for the future it is shame to go so young

Posted by Paul_Somerset on (August 15, 2014, 23:26 GMT)

There are more than a few worse batsmen than Chris Jones still making a living as cricketers.

He never had it easy, opening the batting when one or two others perhaps ought to have stepped up. And he leaves with a century against the Australians to his name.

Posted by android_user on (August 15, 2014, 22:30 GMT)

Thanks for the write-up, great to hear the story of the day. Will be interesting to see how Warwickshire bowl, without their first-choice 4 seamers.

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