History

A brief history of Somerset

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Formed 1875
First-class debut 1882
Admitted to Championship1891
County Championship Best - Runners-up (Div One) 2001
Gillette/NatWest/C&G 1979, 1983, 2001
Benson & Hedges 1981, 1982
Sunday League 1979
Twenty20 2005

Somerset County Cricket Club was first formed in August 1875, following a match at Sidmouth between the Gentlemen of Somerset and their Devon hosts, won by the visitors.

Originally the idea of those who had formed the club was not to have a home ground, and to take their matches to different grounds around Somerset. When the team played in Taunton they chose Fullands School as the venue, at the time one of the best grounds in the region. Somerset remained nomadic until 1881, when Taunton Athletic Club opened a sports centre on the Priory Fields next door to the River Tone, which soon became the home to the club. The county played their first 'home' match during 1882, and the touring Australian's visited Taunton for the first time that same year.

Initially Somerset did not enjoy first-class status, but after winning the 'second-class championship' in 1890 hoined the Championship in 1891 and since then the club has enjoyed a long and colourful history, with many ups and downs, both on and off the pitch. Whatever the fortunes of the team on the field the club has remained at its county ground home, which it has owned since it was first acquired by the then secretary Henry Murray Anderdon, just before the start of the 20th century.

Over the years Taunton has played host to the talents of Somerset legends including Lionel Palairet, Sammy Woods, Jack White, Arthur Wellard and Harold Gimblett, who all starred for the county prior to World War Two. Despite their best efforts Somerset did not claim their first trophy until 1979, when they ended the hoodoo in great style by winning the Gillette Cup and the John Player League in the space of two days. The later 1970s and early 1980s were halcyon days for Somerset, as they claimed five competitions in as many years with a young side that had been brought together under the watchful eye of Brian Close and included the charisma of Ian Botham, the power of Viv Richards and the speed of Joel Garner.

A public fall-out in 1987 when a decision was taken not to retain Garner and Richards led to the departure of Botham as well, and the club took more than a decade to recover, their next success coming when they won the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy in 2001, but further success followed four years later when the South African Graeme Smith captained them to the Twenty20 Cup in 2005. However, despite these successes Somerset remain one of four counties never to have won the Championship.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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