Somerset v Nottinghamshire, LV= County Championship Div One, Taunton, 1st day June 14, 2015

Taylor's £45 touch sinks Somerset veterans


Nottinghamshire 391 for 6 (Taylor 152, Lumb 73, Thomas 4-61) v Somerset

Brendon Taylor made 152 to steers Notts' day © Getty Images

For much of the afternoon at Taunton, Lewis Gregory, Somerset's highly rated 23-year-old seam bowler, cut a bemused figure in the Twenty20 dug-out at midwicket. Out in the middle, his elders and - in the opinion of his coach, Matthew Maynard - betters, were chugging through the motions on a track so placid it might as well have been a cliché.

It was No County for Old Men at the County Ground. Alfonso Thomas, in his 39th year, was the pick of a toiling attack with 4 for 57, three of which came after Nottinghamshire, powered by a brilliant, chanceless 152 from Brendan Taylor, had rocketed past 300; Tim Groenewald, the youngest of Somerset's six bowlers at the age of 31, was flogged for 84 runs in 18 overs.

Gregory claimed he no idea why he was not playing in this fixture. Maynard later confirmed he was paying the price for a profligate display up at Durham last week, where did admittedly leak runs in bowler-friendly conditions.

"You can only learn from playing," Maynard said, somewhat confusingly, "but also you need to take time out to reflect on what you have to do to put it right for the next time."

While Gregory reflected, so too did his 21-year-old team-mate Jamie Overton, both of whom looked considerably sharper than any of Somerset's preferred options while being put through their paces in a lunchtime net on the outfield.

Jamie's motivation for putting in the sort of performance that Somerset so desperately need would presumably have been at an all-time high this week, seeing as his twin brother, rival, and greatest source of inspiration, Craig, has just been called up to the England squad. Instead, he is being sent to play for the seconds in two Twenty20 games this week, because Maynard feels his team is no position to gamble on such youthful impetuosity.

"That's what we did up at Durham and it cost us," he said. "We didn't have that experience to control the game when it was needed. There will be plenty of opportunities for all the youngsters but I am still trying to find out what my best five seam bowlers are, and that's developing more and more which is great."

Somerset's best moment of the day was, in fairness to their veterans' policy, produced by the most senior professional on parade - and it brought to an end the day's outstanding innings. Taylor had just crashed his 20th four of the day to reach his 150 from 199 balls when Marcus Trescothick, 40 this Christmas, pulled off an outstanding one-handed pluck at a solitary wide slip, low to his left and fractionally behind him, to cling onto Taylor's first false stroke of the day.

According to some reports, Taylor had been earning 30p a run before, at the age of 29, ending his brilliant but all-too-brief career as Zimbabwe captain on a high note at the World Cup. That'll be an invoice for £45.60 waiting in Lisa Pursehouse's in-box on Monday morning then.

It was a brilliant display from a batsman in the prime of his form. He added 82 for the first wicket with Steven Mullaney, who set the early tempo with 42 from 60 balls and was visibly aghast to be bowled neck and crop by Abdur Rehman as he reached forward but down the wrong line. It was clear from the ease of the wicket and the pace of the outfield that he had foregone the chance for a monster.

Frighteningly for Somerset, they weren't even up against a full-strength Nottinghamshire team. What Alex Hales would have made of the chance to bat first on this track and against this attack can only be the stuff of speculation, and if he hadn't come off, then James Taylor surely would.

Instead, after Greg Smith had come and gone cheaply, shouldering arms to Thomas for 11, it was left to Michael Lumb to provide Taylor with company, as he marked his first red-ball innings since last September with 73 from 133 balls, including 12 fours and sharing in a third-wicket stand of 155 that, for as long as it lasted, looked certain to take Nottinghamshire closer to 450 than 400.

Thomas can take the credit for reining them in - he was even on a hat-trick when Samit Patel fell lbw first ball - but little else went Somerset's way on a sobering day. A generation that, for five almost-glorious years, could justifiably claim to be the second-best team in the country are now, simply, second-best. Now, what about that youth policy?

Andrew Miller is a former editor of the Cricketer. @miller_cricket

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 15, 2015, 14:31 GMT

    Well at least someone at Somerset has the foresight to give young Michael Bates a reprieve after sorry Hampshire kicked out one of the countries most promising glovemen. Does any one know if he has a contract or just game to game?

  • Graham on June 15, 2015, 12:13 GMT

    Maynard is the latest in a run of remarkably average thinkers as Somerset coach. First-hand experience of Kevin Shine and Mark Garaway was not favourable, Nosworthy had some seriously wrong-headed moments and now Maynard picks ageing trundlers on what was always going to be the flattest of classic Taunton decks. Maybe they can't afford Gregory and Joverton in the same side...but to go without both of them? Gregory is a strike bowler; he will bowl loose ones and his attacking length will often err towards the half volley. But he gets people out. And the one thing you need above all in midsummer at Taunton is wicket takers. Maynard appears to have engendered mediocrity from all except Hildreth and his punt on Allenby, palpably not good enough for Div 1, has failed miserably. Looking like relegation material, sadly.

  • Dummy4 on June 15, 2015, 11:05 GMT

    I was quite hopeful when Maynard was appointed. Unfortunately I can now see why he was a Div 2 coach. What kind of rationale is that for Gregory, have four days to think about it rather than show you've learned a lesson? Let's just play all the old-timers. On a flat track, you need bowlers like Jamie Overton and Lewis Gregory. No doubt if Somerset don't lose this match, we will retain an unchanged team. Div 2 here we come. Maynard out... he's worse than Nosworthy.

  • Chris Ward on June 15, 2015, 10:16 GMT

    Somerset look relegation material. Tres and Hildreth aside they've got no batting, a poor keeper and a weak bowling attack. If they're going to get smacked every week they should at least get their youngsters on the field and ditch all the 30-sonething Kolpaks, none of whom are even any good. Unless Tres hits the form of three or four years ago we have no hope.

  • Paddy on June 15, 2015, 10:12 GMT

    Its a real tragedy for Zimbabwe,that he has decided to hang up his boots ! They should have made an all out effort to retain him.Surprised that some corporate bodies from Zimbabwe have not made any counter offer to compensate him.That would surely have been very good PR

  • Mark on June 15, 2015, 8:46 GMT

    Obviously not aware of the opposition to Somerset in this game then 2929paul? Luke Wood in particular and Jake Ball, looked very quick the other week when beating Sussex, but were wayward in our loss to Somerset at Trent Bridge. They are being persisted with though as another older locally developed pace bowler in Luke Fletcher (without as much pace) has been absent from the championship team this season. There will be ups and downs, and Somerset may score runs quickly today as well but I hope Notts persist with them.

  • Paul on June 15, 2015, 7:16 GMT

    This is the sort of attitude from the Counties that means England don't have any decent young pace bowlers. That all look for the safe medium pace seam option that won't leak runs, rather than young guns that might take wickets and can develop into an attacking bowling unit. It doesn't exactly inspire young cricketers to become fast, attacking bowlers when they see the best way to get in the team is to bowl line and length and keep it tight.

  • Ahmed Naseef Chowdhury on June 15, 2015, 4:11 GMT

    @krustyClown: Taylor's playing on a Kolpak deal. It requires him to not play for his country for the duration of the contract (may be) and while playing, he will be considered as a domestic player instead of an International one.

  • Cricinfouser on June 15, 2015, 2:24 GMT

    Hai friends could any of you clarify my doubt Brendan Taylor has retired from Zimbabwe to play for Nottingham...Why did he retire...He could just play the entire season and go back to Zimbabwe...anyhow they play less cricket..Is there any contractual obligation for these players to honor? Would be pleased if anyone replies..

  • Peter on June 14, 2015, 23:30 GMT

    I was looking at where this Somersett attack was born and there are 3 South Africans, 1 Pakistani, and 1 Australian

    Nice to see the 1 overseas player rule being followed and young English talent being given a chance (not)

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