Put into bat, Somerset’s Sam Young and Eddie Byrom were dismissed cheaply again, and James Hildreth was unable to produce his usual fireworks. The in-form Lewis Goldsworthy was stumped off a good piece of bowling by Rehan Ahmed, and opening batsmen Steve Davies nicked off despite being set on 61. At 104/5, Somerset were in trouble.
George Bartlett, whose List A average for this summer stood at 8, and George Thomas, a 17-year old making his List A debut, had a lot to do.
Despite this, the two batters combined for a game-changing sixth wicket partnership of 182, with Thomas bowled after looking every part a batter who has been playing at this level for years for his 75; the two balls prior to his dismissal were dispatched for six.
Bartlett looked to put his struggles behind him by attacking from the first ball. His intent served him well, and with no signs of slowing down, he reached his maiden List A century in 84 balls.
He fell attempting a scoop, but a quickfire 20* from Marchant de Lange and a six off the last ball from captain Josh Davey meant Somerset posted 326/7, their highest List A score against Leicestershire.
However, the last time Somerset recorded their highest List A score against Leicestershire, it was in vain.
Leicestershire started brightly with their opening pair putting on 49 before Harry Swindells was caught off a leading edge. One wicket brought another, with Rhodes LBW to captain Davey for a duck.
Aaron Lilley looked to counter, and did so to a great extent, his 39 coming at a strike rate just under 200; this handed the initiative back to the Foxes, which captain Lewis Hill and his new partner in the middle Louis Kimber graciously accepted. The Somerset bowling went flat, with Marchant de Lange in particular looking off his game. The defending champions made mistakes in the field, allowing Leicestershire to take total control.
Skipper Hill took advantage, leading from the front by posting his second century of the season. Kimber played his part, his 85 a List A high score. Their wickets were only consolation, as Ben Mike secured the points with 31 balls to spare
Leicestershire are now only one point behind Somerset, with both sides needing victories to progress further in this season’s One Day competition.
Speaking to Deep Extra Cover after the game, debutant George Thomas admitted to feeling “lots of nerves walking out,”’ but in front of his Mum and Dad, ‘was excited about the opportunity given to him.’ Thomas demonstrated his maturity when naming ‘celebrating George Bartlett’s century with him out in the middle,’ as his proudest moment of the day.