Fletcher leads the way as Notts hammer Somerset

Notts defeated Somerset by an innings and 160 runs at Taunton to kickstart the final phase of this multi-faceted County Championship season. 

Luke Fletcher (51 then 4-21 and 3-29) roared to the top of the Championship wicket taking charts with 54 scalps, whilst Dane Paterson ably supported him with 3-42 and 4-46. At one point he was 4-5 with six maidens from his 10 overs, before Josh Davey took a liking to him. 

Young left-arm spinner Liam Patterson-White, who made his first-class debut at Taunton by taking a five-fer alongside Ravi Ashwin in 2019, scored 101 from number eight before taking 2-54 in the second innings. He was not required in the first and, but for Marchant De Lange’s late hoiking, would have had much tidier second innings figures. 

In truth, 448 from Notts in the first innings was far too much for Somerset to contend with. If it was not for later order second innings fightbacks from Jack Leach, Josh Davey and the scything De Lange, it could have been even more embarrassing for the home side. 

David Foot’s memorial ceremony with the Cricket Writers’ Club took centre stage at lunchtime yesterday, whilst over pasties today the much-missed Pete Trego appear in the media tent. The tattooed tonker had requested to be on 12th man duties for this game and said “how nice it is to speak to see so many people back here welcoming me back.”

Steven Mullaney had the easiest of decisions as Notts skipper to enforce the follow on, when Somerset’s bowlers could not succeed where their batsmen failed yesterday. Tom Lammonby dug in for a bit longer today, but he and Steve Davies again ‘failed’ – meaning Azhar Ali’s return cannot come soon enough. 

When Tom Abell, Somerset’s skipper and most consistent run-scorer of the year, fell for a hard-earnt 11 off 56 balls in the second innings this afternoon, Bumble would have been starting the car had he, not Trego himself been on comms.

The guttural roar from the not-even-bowling Luke Fletcher, above ten other cheers of delight, showed just how important Tom Abell’s wicket was to the away side.  

Four of the top six averaged 24 or less for this season, encapsulating how crucial Abell’s runs are to this side. George Bartlett should expect to be recalled for one of the failing batsmen for the next match. Plus, of course, Azhar Ali can do more than just stand on the sidelines and watch as he did today. He was out of quarantine too late for Monday, but should open at Scarborough on Sunday. 

Two changes possible, or even likely: even the legendary James Hildreth and Steve Davies’ spots could be at risk. 

The gloomy clouds throughout the past three days was perfect pathetic fallacy for the most abject Somerset performance of the year thus far.  

That I commentated on the Somerset live stream for all of 55 minutes this entire match, and took figures of 8-45 (5-35 and 3-10) in that time, perhaps sums up mine and Somerset’s week! 

I think that’ll do me for the red ball season, back to PE teaching, over and out.

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