Season Review Somerset 2022

Season Review Somerset 2022

It’s not a successful season, no, but there have been successes within it” – Andy Hurry

A smiling Somerset Director of Cricket Andy Hurry summed it up as I spoke to him just after Division One status was confirmed at home to Northants: “First and foremost how good does that feel-the emotion around the ground is great as we’re all so passionate about county cricket, we’re stoked about it. It’s not a successful season, no, but there have been successes within it.”

Bowled Abell, caught Overton was the apt way to seal their Division One place for 2023, even if the dismissal type is usually the other way around. The two standout players of the red-ball season getting the job done for their side emphatically on day four vs Northants.

Somerset are not happy to be challenging at the wrong end of Division One but it has been a transitionary season with ageing players naturally fizzling out and exciting youngsters coming in. {More on the likes of Waller/Hildreth/Davies replaced by Goldsworthy/Rew/Aldridge later.}

Championship points wise, it was not just the lack of wins (three – only one more than bottom side Gloucestershire) that was the issue, Somerset continued their recent habit of gaining very few batting bonus points (which are only available in the first innings). Top order failures put pressure on the bowlers to have to try and bowl sides out and on the lower-order batters rescuing the top-six in the first innings to try and scrape to 200. More often than not the batters would perform better in the second innings, but often this was too little too late.

Player of the season:

Tom Abell by far (although could have been different if England did not want to assess Overton’s squash-making ratio skills so much.) Over a thousand runs at over 50 in the main competition including a career best 150* and backed up by five wickets including the last of the season and batting cameos in the T20 Blast. Captain fantastic led passionately by example and his twin tons against Northants in the final home game earned my ‘Golden Apple’ for the CC moment of the season on the recent ‘Bright Cider Life’ podcast.

He also captained England Lions to arguably their most emphatic win against top international opposition ever?! The way South Africa were dismantled by his two Somerset opening bats that day, such that he was only required to ice the cake at the end with the bat, pleased him massively, saying so in a rare home post-match interview after a win! (Somerset barely winning at home in two of the three competitions this year).

Of course, a mention must be given for the heroics of Rilee Rossouw in the T20 Blast – simply phenomenal from a player who underwhelmed for Hampshire and had fallen out of international reckoning before this summer.

‘Not quite Babar Azam or Chris Gayle’ summed up the more polite of most fans’ reaction when he was announced. No one expected him to end with the most runs from a T20 campaign in Somerset history. And he will always be remembered for taking 36 runs off one poor Matthew McKiernan over in the record-breaking quarter-final match against Derbyshire.

Breakthrough Player:

James Rew, though Taunton has so widely known about his talents for many years now this has been his breakthrough year into the first team. From switch-hitting Devon Premier League winners of 2021 Heathcoat CC around Knightshayes in April to becoming Somerset’s first choice wicketkeeper-bat ahead of a County legend with England experience by July. Rew should remain a very exciting six or seven bat for Somerset for the next 15 years, England call-ups and injury permitting. And expect him to play a pivotal role in white-ball games over the coming years too.

He was the standout bat of the Royal London Cup – scores of 114 v Middlesex and 96 in partnership with his main contender for this award Lewis Goldsworthy at Edgbaston showing his wide array of batting skills. Rotation of strike in the Championship is something that will come, but did not matter as he (70 off 135 & 23 off 111) and Goldsworthy (130 off 262 & 73 off 213) also earned Somerset a crucial draw at M6 Southport (Jennings 318) in July.

Goldsworthy and Aldridge get honourable mentions as successful youngsters in slightly different departments, though it would be nice to see the former used with the ball more.

Could have done better:

The whole Royal London One-Day Cup squad. James Hildreth and Steve Davies sadly waning in their 30s. And you would have to say Tom Banton, despite decent opening partnerships with Will Smeed in the T20 Blast, his junior school mate (whose shorts he’s been seen wearing) overshadowed him in T20s this summer. And despite a century at Chelmsford, his housemate George Bartlett nicked his number four-five spot for most of the red-ball season.

Need to work on:

With the top order’s batting woes already alluded to (and not quite as bad as previous years mainly thanks to Mr Abell, though with contributions from most others)…Bowling. Yes, there were lots of injuries, but despite England call-ups and leaving early for the Sheffield Shield season, Overton and Siddle still topped the wicket-taking charts in the Championship. Jack Brooks and Josh Davey both spent too long on the sidelines and were not at their best for long enough whilst Lewis Gregory looks like he may never be able to bowl at his best again – and depressingly he’s the youngest of these three key bowlers.

Ned Leonard’s early season-ending injury was a blow as were Sonny Baker’s back issues, but these allowed Kasey Aldridge ample opportunity to impress as he did, regularly taking 2-fers and that CB 6-fer at Kent last game. But he should improve his economy as a regular hit the deck hard, Liam Plunkett type middle-over seamer and hopefully offer more with the bat (he opened regularly in 2s T20s remember).

What’s next?

Loads of new players already signed. Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Sean Dickson the well-known big signings to fight out with nine contenders for the top six. It’s also great to see left-armer Alfie Ogborne rewarded for his Bridgewater CC, Somerset seconds and Royal London One-Day Cup form.

On announcement of his contract being signed, with little prompt he texted me: “An intense winter ahead at the county ground. More than keen to chase for a few spots in all formats really. Specifically Royal London and county champ.
Fingers crossed I keep progressing well and have a good long career, at this club for as long as possible too.”

Exciting passion for proper cricket from a 19-year-old brought up in modern, short-form cricket.

The other, less heard of signing is that of off-spinner Shoaib Bashir, the 18-year-old. He fared well for Berkshire this year having previously impressed for their under-18s against his future employers. 5-19 in the Royal London National County T20 competition semi-final.

Bashir played twice for Somerset second XI in September, taking 3-51 against Surrey on debut. He followed that up with match figures of 6 -76 against Warwickshire in Taunton.

He’s one of a raft of Somerset players en route to Australia for club cricket this winter.

Tom Lammonby has already had successful ankle surgery and no more signings are really required, just the confirming of Rilee Rossouw (T20), Pete Siddle (all formats) and one other overseas bowler (to replace Overton and Leach whilst with England and the injured/ageing Gregory/Brooks/Davey) required for next season to make a top squad that should challenge for the title.

Season Rating Mark: Overall, 4/10 – just stayed up and no trophy. T20 Blast=8, RLC=2 CC=4


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