Somerset steamroll Notts to find their wings
Somerset 312 (Allenby 64, Overton 4-56) and 161 (Philander 3-47) beat Nottinghamshire 226 (Patel 56, Overton 4-40) and 114 (Groenewald 4-41) by 133 runs
"Where be that Blackbird to?" begins the Somerset victory song. So far this season they have been unable to locate it but here they grabbed the "gurt big stick" to knock down said bird for a first win of the season, snapping a run of four straight defeats. A lower-order rally turned the day around before Nottinghamshire were blown away after tea for 114.
The ball swung from first ball to last, seamed a bit too, and the bowlers lapped it up to take 22 wickets in the day. Batting was as miserable as the clouds that mostly skirted around Trent Bridge. It was quite a turnaround for the Somerset attack who conceded 405 to lose at home to Middlesex two weeks ago. By contrast Notts, who drew their opening three matches, have now lost two in a row.
Somerset's bleak run looked set to continue at 59 for 6 in their second innings, 145 ahead. But in adding 75 for the final three wickets they set Nottinghamshire 248 to win - a similar target Notts conceded in the fourth innings to lose at Durham last week. But they got nowhere near repeating the feat against Somerset's best bowling performance of the season.
Keeping a full length, both edges were threatened and all of the seamers profited. As did Marcus Trescothick, Somerset's beleaguered captain, who took three catches at second slip, including a stunner to remove Greg Smith. When he held Riki Wessels, seventh out after a patient 30, he knew Somerset's troubles were about to be lightened by victory. They finished the task in the extra half-hour after another fine catch, this from Johann Myburgh diving to his left at backward point.
Trescothick held three more catches than he made runs in the match after recording a pair - only the second of his career and first away from Taunton. It was the start of Somerset's second-innings slide, in a manner of teams who have lost the knack of winning. But as the sun poured through the clouds like butterscotch, Somerset's day began to get sweeter.
Lewis Gregory was a batsman before he became an opening bowler and his 26 not out here was perhaps one of his most significant innings. It helped turn the game back Somerset's way, leading to a victory that could spark alive their season. He struck a six into the New Stand to take the lead over 200 and stayed with wicketkeeper Alex Barrow - in hideous form before this game and batting at No. 9 - and Tim Groenewald to add vital stands of 39 and 25. Twenty-one of the latter were made by the free-swinging Groenewald, perhaps buoyed by his clean hitting against New Zealand last week; his nine wickets in that match would have done no harm here either.
The eighth-wicket affair was fairly comfortable until Barrow, having taken boundaries with a handsome straight drive and a short-arm pull off Gurney, attempted another pull as Gurney went around the wicket and top-edged it to midwicket. There was no Craig Overton repeat act - 55 in 31 balls in the first-innings - but at least Groenewald boosted the total.
It was a fine effort in very difficult conditions. The odd ball also kept a little low and Peter Trego fell lbw to one such delivery; he was seventh man out, having briefly counterattacked with four boundaries.
Vernon Philander signed for Notts for just these days and cleaned up Trescothick for the second time in the match, the opener having lasted only 11 balls in both innings. This was his fourth duck in his last seven knocks. He has been bowled in five of those seven innings and here an inswinger removed middle stump.
It will be clouded by victory but Somerset's top order remains their biggest concern and there were further failures here for Johann Myburgh, edging a drive to third slip for a third-ball duck, and Tom Abell, who was slightly aggrieved to be given out lbw to Luke Wood. Tom Cooper could have no complaints about the same dismissal.
Another lbw decision followed against James Hildreth, who is chasing 1000 first-class runs before the end of May but got only 23 closer. The ball before also produced a huge appeal, for which Philander was given a stern telling off by umpire Tim Robinson.
There will now be a bigger telling off for Notts from their coach Mick Newell. Samit Patel and Jake Ball at least delivered a batting bonus point in the opening overs of the day but ultimately, that was all they had to take.
Alex Winter is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo He tweets here