After two days of the West Country Derby, Somerset have gone a long way towards churning their rivals into the Bristol dirt. They followed up their mammoth 591-7 declared by reducing Gloucestershire to 119-4 at the close
Tom Abell scored 142, his tenth first-class century for Somerset . He was well backed up by Lewis Gregory’s 89 off 84 balls. This was almost embarrassingly easy for Somerset who sat below their hosts in the Division One table before this game.
Gloucestershire’s two loanee bowlers were not helped by some poor fielding all round. Most costly was the sitter dropped at second slip by Miles Hammond. Straight in the breadbasket, easy height, and out, Abell on 52 got a life and stopped walking off with the fumbled juggle, Zak Chappell the unfortunate bowler. 320-4.
Dom Goodman confirmed he had an ankle injury walking around in his ski jacket in 17 degrees before play. But it was still rather odd to see Paul van Meekeren, Josh Shaw, Jared Warner and Naseem Shah playing a second team T20 for Gloucestershire at Taunton Vale today rather than the first team match in Bristol. As it was they were soon down another player when Graeme van Buuren, the skipper, walked off with a right shoulder injury having dived to try and stop a sumptuous Abell boundary through the covers just after that Hammond drop. He is unlikely to bat tomorrow.
As Marchant De Lange smoked 53 off 21 balls with six sixes v Glos 2s at Taunton Vale, Somerset eventually eked out a fourth batting bonus point in Bristol with a Steve Davies shot through cover before he was caught behind off Brad Wheal for 37. 351-4 after 107 overs. They were not going to get 50 off three overs for the fifth batting point, but they soon put the accelerator on anyway.
World Class Willow deliveries for van Buuren, Dent and Zafar Gohar may perk up Gloucestershire’s spirits, but the new bat delivered to Lewis Gregory saw a six into the sight screen as his first scoring shot. He was soon past 3000 first-class runs just before Tom Abell reached his 10th first-class century for Somerset! And another against the West Country rivals (he tonned up here last year). 202 balls and 13 fours.
A misfield at point allowed him through for one off Jacob Bethell’s very part-time spin – his first first-class bowling in just his second first-class game.
Gregory could have joined his skipper with 100 after lunch but ran himself out coming back for three on 89 (10 fours, four sixes). The game had become slightly farcical by this point, spinners bowling down the leg-side to three leg-side boundary riders and Gregory either leaving or trying to clear them. Abell perished this way unselfishly for 142 when he could easily have surpassed his career best (150*) set just a few weeks ago at the Oval.
Even the out of form (with the bat) Craig Overton managed 35 not out – one swept six too many lost under wheels in the car park saw Abell bring his men in just after 3pm at 591-7.
And would you believe it, George Scott fell lbw first ball to Peter Siddle….
David Payne the sub fielder – another man Glos could really have done with bowling at Bristol today was replaced by Tom Lace – called back from the Vale and the seconds T20 before he got a bat.
Marcus Harris and James Bracey looked to be getting the Gloucestershire innings back on an even keel but that was before Jack Leach got to work. In 13 overs, he spun out not only Harris and Bracey but also Miles Hammond.
Ryan Higgins and Jacob Bethell added 31 but Gloucestershire are still a massive 472 runs behind. The Barbados born 18-year-old Bethell is on loan from Warwickshire for just this game. He’s reporting back to Edgbaston for T20 duty next week.
All Division One teams batting first reached 500 in their first innings in this round! It’s going to be hard for Rob Key, Ben Stokes, Brendon McCullum and co to pick a top six based upon so many batters scoring easy runs in another very dry April-May in County Cricket.
In the meantime, Gloucestershire will do their best to bat for a draw over the next two days with only a forecast of some rain on Sunday to encourage them.