Captain Tom Abell took 4-52 and enforced the follow on as Somerset took 12 wickets today, but the players shook hands at 4.30pm to finish professional cricket at the Cooper Associates County Ground for 2023.
A special farewell from the home fans to Jack Brooks, Steve Davies, George Bartlett, CEO Gordon Hollins and Head Groundsman Scott Hawkins-thanks for all your services to the club.
On Jack Brooks’ final appearance with the new ball at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton, he kitted us out with headbands in the commentary box.
The aged Somerset seam quartet saw Brooks and Gregory take the new ball and particularly the latter bowl one of the best spells I can remember him bowling. The pitch that Kent chose to put Somerset in on, not looking anything like as flat as when Somerset scored 404-4 declared over the past three days.
His figures read 3-21 after six. 44-4 after 13 before Josh Davey then Test bowler Neil Wagner came in with a double change. The former Essex left-arm seamer was expensive early (0-32 off three), but did provide a tough chance for Banton, Denly shelled at third slip. Skipper Abell had no choice but to take the Kiwi off.
And captain fantastic Abell broke the 54-run partnership in his first over! 110-5 at lunch on day four.
74 balls it took for Denly to reach 50, his eighth four a streaky one taking him to his first half-century since a T20 76 at Chelmsford in June. It also a season’s best Championship score, surpassing the 45 he made vs Warwickshire at Canterbury in July.
Marcus O’Riordan looked good for his 35, but Davey trapped him lbw before 2pm, 156-6.
After Abell surprisingly trapped Denly lbw for 73, two further wickets fell on 200. Two in the over for Tom Abell- a double wicket maiden.
The final wicket fell perfectly at 3.10pm, Abell getting past a Hogan swipe to bowl him for 19, 4-52 his second best first-class bowling figures and his first Championship wickets of this season. Thus the 20 minute tea interval came between the two Kent innings, no overs lost. Kent 15 shy of a batting bonus point-could that be crucial in the relegation battle?
Jack Brooks did get a second ‘final bowl with the new ball at Taunton,’ 41 overs for Kent to see out for the draw they really did not deserve, but the three days of rain before today gave them a good chance of getting, even with their fragile batting order under the pump again.
Davey, with a rare bowl from the Marcus Trescothick Pavilion End, had Muyeye well held by Abell diving across Umeed at second, from third slip, 34-1.
The over after Wagner got the second breakthrough – Compton caught behind for six, 44-2, Somerset turned to spin. No, not Lewis Goldsworthy (first innings centurion and genuine left-arm spinner) nor Andy Umeed (One-Day Cup and Championship wicket-taker) but Tom Banton who did not get a bat or keep wicket all week. He bowled the last over of the match, the last over of professional cricket at The Cooper Associates County Ground for 2023. It was a maiden- then the players shook hands.
Best of luck to Somerset’s TKC, driving up the M5 as we speak, hopefully in an England shirt tomorrow!