Rogers rues 'unforgivable' bowling as Somerset escape with a draw
Durham 256 (Jennings 116, Gregory 4-58, Groenewald 3-54) and 223 for 4 (Jennings 105*) drew with Somerset 179 (Onions 4-62, Rushworth 3-70)
The point about fire alarms is that they go off while the fire can still be put out. Somerset's players skedaddled away from the Riverside before lunch on Wednesday with a draw in their results column and eight points gained from the match. Durham received ten points for their efforts. At which point even the most passionate former inhabitant of the Stragglers' Bar might offer a polite cough and a wry smile. The reassuring thing for Somerset supporters was that Chris Rogers would understand that reaction only too well.
Heavy overnight rain and a mid-morning shower put paid to any chance of play on the final day of this match. Somerset's skipper admitted that, on balance, his relief at not having to face Chris Rushworth and Graham Onions outweighed his disappointment at losing two days' cricket.
"We want to challenge ourselves and we want to get better but it was probably a relief to us in many respects because we were behind in the game and it was going to be hard work, particularly against Rushworth and Onions in that last innings," said Rogers. "On the other hand, it would have been a useful opportunity to see where we're at."
The more caustic West Country critics might be quick to tell Rogers where they think his team is "at" but they might be wisely advised to listen to what else he had to say. For example, here is his assessment of Somerset's performance in a game in which they were bowled out for 179 and in which Durham were 53 for 1 after ten overs in their first innings and - the real horror show - 72 for 0 after 11 overs in their second.
"Our fielding was top class and our attitude was top class but we disappointed with the new ball and that's pretty unforgivable at Durham in the first game of the season. But the guys who had that ball in their hands will know that and they will get better. We found it hard with the bat and lost wickets in groups. Then we were shown that it was possible to stick around by our Nos. 7 and 9."
Given the limitations placed on Rogers by the fact that his comments were for public consumption, there is not too much skipper-speak in them. If he described the new-ball bowling as "unforgivable" outside the dressing room one wonders what adjectives he attached to it in private.
Rogers is a fighter and he wants to lead a team of players with similar dispositions. He will be delighted to welcome the Overtons back for the game against Surrey at The Oval a week on Sunday. This is him on the challenge of facing Durham's seamers on the first evening and second morning of this game.
"I loved being back in the fight. To be up at Durham against Rushworth and Onions is probably as tough as it gets and I thought I was coming out at the other end of it when I was run out. These things happen. There were a couple of glances at Peter as I was walking off but I've done it to other people too, so you just have to cop that on the chin."
And so he did. But he will not be deceived by that return of eight points. One imagines there are some things Rogers will take on the chin and others which he will refuse to accept.
"I've learned a lot about the guys and there is plenty to work on," he said. "There is a lot of talent in the squad but how they put that into practice out in the middle is going to be our challenge. Every game's going to be tough but it comes down to us. We didn't get it right in this match but it's a long season."