Specsavers County Championship Division One at Taunton, Sep 23-26 2019
203 & forfeit
(18 ov, target 63)
141 & 45/1
Match drawn
• Paul Edwards at Taunton

Somerset force Essex to fight for draw to seal title on dramatic final day

Jack Leach, Roelof van der Merwe give hosts a glimpse of a miracle before Sir Alastair Cook restores order for Essex

Match centre 
Commentator: Alan Gardner
Scorecard summary
Somerset203(61.4 overs)1st Innings
Simon Harmer5/105(27)
Sam Cook4/26(19)
Essex141(68.2 overs)1st Innings
Somerset0/0(0 overs)2nd Innings
Essex45/1(18 overs)2nd Innings
end of over 185 runs
Essex: 45/1CRR: 2.5 
Tom Westley1 (5)
Sir Alastair Cook30 (48)
Roelof van der Merwe4-0-20-0
Dom Bess7-3-8-1

5.40pm: There we go, the champagne corks pop for one last time on this monumental English summer! Essex are champions again... And they've got another cardboard cutout to help with the celebrations, this time of absent Aussie Peter Siddle. Nice work. That's a wrap from us, as well. Thanks for joining us on the ride - in the words of Vinnie Jones, "It's been emotional." From myself, Matt and Miller, as well as everyone else who has contributed over the last few months, it's goodbye for now. Cheerio!

5.35pm: Time to hear from the captains, starting with Tom Abell: "Obviously went right down to the wire. We gave ourselves a chance this evening but it wasn't meant to be. The supporters have been phenomenal and the atmosphere when we got the ten [first-innings] wickets was amazing. Over a Championship the best team will often prevail, so congratulations to Ryan and Essex. I don't think words can do justice to what Tres means to our team and Somerset as a whole. He's a great player and more importantly a great person as well."

And Essex's Ryan ten Doeschate: "It's been crazy, a lot going around my head. Before we start, can I say Marcus Trescothick, he's been an ambassador for county cricket, he's been great for the game and everyone at Essex wishes him well. T20 was obviously special, we knew it would be a massive battle. We got a bit lucky with the weather and the boys fought so hard, but to come up with two trophies is incredible. You plan your resources but it's very difficult, very taxing to win in two formats. We really cherish these moments, they are few and far between."

A word with (Sir) Alastair Cook: "Bit of an odd 48 hours, with the weather around. We had to decide whether to stick or gamble. But an unbelievable win for our guys. When I got out I thought I was going to bat again. It was tough, tough to start against spin on that. It's about the guys as a proper Essex unit, we enjoy playing cricket together and we've had some success. It's been a privilege to be part of it and that's why I carried on."

That's it, they've shaken hands, and Essex are champions again! Somerset gave it their all but knew the miracle was beyond them... Cook punches the air, cheers and hugs on the Essex balcony, they've completed an extraordinary double over the last few days, the first county to win T20 and Championship titles in the same year. There's honour in the draw for Somerset, who are led off by Marcus Trescothick in his final appearance as a professional. We had some drama but got the expected result in the end; Ryan ten Doeschate and his players head down on to the outfield to receive the Championship trophy for the second time in three years.

"RE Tim Spencer's comment earlier, Essex have two of top 10 run scorers in Div 1 this season," chirps Mike Spencer. "That's Michelin rating. (Yes, Tim's brother keeping Eagle eye out, too)"

Abhijato's back, too: "Be it the World Cup finale, the Edgbaston heroics, the T20 Finals Day Mayhem, or any of the other classic moments in between, we were blessed to have lived through this summer. Godspeed, memories made here, see you down the road for years to come :)"

"May I ask a question? I am new to county cricket can you explain me why somerset forfeit without fearing of lose??" Because a draw was as good as a loss for them, rayyan javed. They to be prepared to lose in order to win, as a certain SK Warne likes to say

van der Merwe to Westley, no run
flighted, around off stump, Westley defends
van der Merwe to Westley, no run
floated up full and wide of the stumps, lets this one go
van der Merwe to Westley, no run
pushed on with the arm, Westley nudges it off his front pad to midwicket

That Bess appeal against Cook was pad first, by the way... Umpire's call on impact, so would have been a tight one, either way

van der Merwe to AN Cook, 1 run
tossed up a bit fuller and Cook clips off his front pad through square leg
van der Merwe to AN Cook, no run
flattish on off stump, defended going back
van der Merwe to AN Cook, 4 leg byes
short and straying down the leg side, Cook misses with a flick but it deflects past Davies off the pad and runs away for four leg byes!

Time for maybe three or four more overs? Van der Merwe continues

end of over 172 runs • 1 wicket
Essex: 40/1CRR: 2.35 
Sir Alastair Cook29 (45)
Tom Westley1 (2)
Dom Bess7-3-8-1
Roelof van der Merwe3-0-19-0
Bess to AN Cook, 1 run
pushed through and nurdled away through midwicket for one more
Bess to AN Cook, no run
fired in quicker on off stump, bat and pad involved... Alex Wharf shakes his head. Was it pad first? Might have been close, if so
Bess to Westley, 1 run
drops short and Westley forces it away off his pads behind square
Bess to Westley, no run
flat offbreak delivered from round the wicket, worked to midwicket

Are we in for some more EPIC madness?? Out comes Tom Westley, 25 needed to win, 15 minutes officially left in the day

Bess to Browne, OUT
Bess strikes, taken at second slip! The presence of Tresco was enough! Somerset have chipped one out, Browne lured forward and only managing a thick outside edge... But is it too late? (Surely, surely it is)
NLJ Browne c Vijay b Bess 10 (50m 55b 1x4 0x6) SR: 18.18
Bess to Browne, no run
Browne reaches forward to defend

Somerset's title might be slipping away... but here's a final chance to farewell Marcus Trescothick, who's coming on in his whites as a sub fielder! Huge applause around the ground. He's donning a helmet, too, down on his knees at gully!

end of over 165 runs
Essex: 38/0CRR: 2.37 
Sir Alastair Cook28 (43)
Nick Browne10 (53)
Roelof van der Merwe3-0-19-0
Dom Bess6-3-6-0

"Tendo's dismissal -- see your comment at 12.6 -- was plainly strategic -- designed to make Somerset think they had a chance, when in fact..." Genius. Never doubted him for a moment, Simon Lewis

van der Merwe to AN Cook, no run
pushed through and defended on the front foot
van der Merwe to AN Cook, no run
plopped on the stumps, Cook is back and fends it down to the leg side
van der Merwe to Browne, 1 run
fired in straight and Browne whips this one away through midwicket for another single
van der Merwe to Browne, no run
flicked off his pads
van der Merwe to Browne, FOUR runs
too wide, full and easy to smash through point on the drive, taking Essex ever closer
van der Merwe to Browne, no run
full outside off, Browne bunts it into the ground in front of silly mid-off

Still around 20 mins left in the day. Somerset needing a(nother) spark of magic here

Match details
The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton
TossSomerset , elected to bat first
SeriesSpecsavers County Championship Division One 2019
Hours of play (local time)10.30am start, Lunch 12.30-13.10, Tea 15.10-15.30, Close 17.30
Match days23,24,25,26 September 2019 (4-day match)
Alex Wharf
Rob Bailey
TV Umpire
Neil Bainton