Somerset win in the Championship for only the third time this season, and in doing so retain their Division One status for 2023 and jump up to sixth in the table.
To our shock, they did not declare with the 401-run overnight lead, but this over-caution to ensure the game could at worst be drawn did not come back to bite Tom Abell as Northants subsided to 109 all out, needing just 30.4 overs to be bowled out by the walking wounded Somerset bowling attack.
Perhaps muddled by what target he should set the opponents over 400, Abell fell to the first ball from the River End; Ben Sanderson inducing a feint tickle behind, though this should not take away from his sublime batting yesterday in his 181-run-partnership with Tom Lammonby.
Lammonby (110) had a few golf swings before also perishing to Sanderson as we were distracted by a feline friend in the commentary box-SCCC’s Brian the Cat. George Bartlett managed 17 off 12, but Gregory’s 29* off 11 balls the highlight of 60 runs in seven overs this morning.
On his last day as bowling coach before heading to Zimbabwe next month, Steve Kirby sent some bluffing figures from the changing room à la Eoin Morgan receiving signals from the analyst during the T20I series against South Africa in 2020, for no reason, just the last day of the home season craic.
These jovial figures made no difference though as Abell eventually declared on 337-4 with a 461-run lead. 87 overs left in the day.
Emilio Gay and Will Young saw off the first 4.5 overs, but at 14-0 Craig Overton swooped and underarmed the stumps down in his follow-through-the third run out of the match-Gay gone for 11.
Full and straight from Overton also did for Procter for a pair in this match. A rough match for the left-hander who surprisingly did not bowl all game either.
Josh Davey soon joined the party, Josh Cobb caught behind for one. Then the biggest wicket fell-Northants’ skipper and New Zealand test opener Young edging Overton to his skipper Abell at second slip. 15-4.
Overton with 2-9 and a run out in four overs.
With Gregory still struggling, Abell bowled himself after 10 overs, and soon had Ricardo Vasconcelos lbw for 19, leaving Northants 49-5 at lunch.
Tom Taylor again impressed with an entertaining 25 off 23 balls but he did not last as long as in the first innings.
Aldridge bowled a beauty to get Lizaad Williams caught behind for 10 and soon after had Sanderson caught behind for eight.
At 14.07 all was done and we could enjoy a long chat with the Jason Kerr and Andy Hurry, a rousing thank you speech from CEO Gordon Hollins and a few celebratory ciders in the Long Room followed by many-a-side Somerset CCC staff football with a few of the players on the hallowed turf. (Yes I celebrated like I scored 100 when I tapped in from five yards in front of the Colin Atkinson Pavilion). Some way to end the home season in the sunshine.
On Monday Somerset play at Canterbury where we expect Kent to prepare a flat, draw-favouring pitch as bonus points would be enough to keep them up even with a Warwickshire win vs likely runners up Hampshire.
Lewis Gregory will not play next week, Jack Brooks may come back in or else perhaps Torquay paceman Sonny Baker.