Gloucestershire won the West Country derby by seven wickets, after Somerset spent four hours coaching across the depths of their county to the Brightside County Ground, Bristol.
Due to an all day clean up job, after an M5 collision and oil spill this morning, Somerset did not arrive until after the scheduled 6.30pm start time. It is safe to say Somerset were still “stuck on the bus” when they were put into bat at the delayed start time of 7.15pm.
Steven Davies and Lewis Gregory fell early, bringing the previous opening pair of Johann Myburgh and Jim Allenby to the crease. Myburgh hit the first maximum of the night off Thisara Perera, followed by the same result the very next ball.
The diminutive South African, who has recently decided he will retire from professional cricket at the end of this season, single-handedly took 24 off the first over of spin – Tom Smith getting the treatment.
Yet he fell soon after, caught and bowled by Benny Howell for a sparkling 42 off just 18 balls, with five fours and three sixes.
The highest wicket-taker in T20 cricket since 2015, Howell picked up another, James Hildreth bizarrely reverse sweeping his second ball straight to Matt Taylor at backward point.
An even more bizarre dismissal came next. Tom Abell panicked after a missed sweep shot rolled barely a metre off his pad, and wandered a few paces down the wicket to watch Phil Mustard run him out!
Tim Groenewald appeared next, in a surprise promotion ahead of Roelof van der Merwe, and soon danced down the wicket to a Smith delivery-stumped for one. Somerset were six down before half their overs were up, maybe wishing they were still stuck on that coach somewhere.
Craig Overton hit some lusty straight blows to bring some respectability to the Somerset score, and Max Waller even made a career best of 17, but 146 was never going to be enough.
Gloucestershire’s win never looked in doubt. Mustard chipped van der Merwe to long on for 29 off as many balls, but Ian Cockbain soon carried on where he had left off.
Michael Klinger took one in the ribs early from Paul van Meekeren, who bowled with serious pace, but it would not perturb the skipper, who soldiered on for 35 before he was bowled by a beauty from van der Merwe. Kiwi Kieran Noema-Barnett struck consecutive sixes off both van Meekeren and van der Merwe, before holing out for 33 off 12, giving the latter his third wicket.
Ultimately however well Somerset bowled, they lost the game with the bat. Jack Taylor sealed the inevitable with a six over cow to the delight of most of the 8000 strong crowd.