Somerset v Essex
Bob Willis Trophy Final
Lord’s – London, Wednesday 23 – Sunday 27 September
Somerset: Ben Green, Tom Lammonby, Tom Abell (c), George Bartlett, Eddie Byrom, Steven Davies (wk), Lewis Gregory, Craig Overton, Josh Davey, Jack Leach, Jack Brooks.
Essex: Nick Browne, Alastair Cook, Tom Westley (c), Dan Lawrence, Paul Walter, Ryan ten Doeschate, Adam Wheater (wk), Simon Harmer, Aaron Beard, Sam Cook, Jamie Porter.
Umpires: Rob Bailey & Russell Warren
Match Referee: Dean Cosker
Toss: Essex, who elected to field
Result: Match Drawn – Essex win on first innings scores.
Day Five Highlights
Day Five: Close of Play
Essex added another red-ball crown to their collection when their draw with Somerset was sufficient to give them the inaugural Bob Willis Trophy but they had to thank stonewall efforts from Ryan ten Doeschate, Paul Walter and Adam Wheater to see them through.
Challenged to make 237 runs to win in 81 overs, Essex reached the close on 179 for 6 in a tense and conclusion to the first-class season.
Under the regulations of the competition, should a positive outcome not be achieved in the final, the side holding first innings lead are declared Champions and that ensured that another prize would go into the Chelmsford trophy cabinet.
Essex had scored 337 for 8 in reply to Somerset’s first innings 301 all out and the West Country side started the final day holding an overall 191 runs advantage with three second innings wickets intact.
They added 45 in 8.1 overs without losing a wicket before the anticipated declaration arrived.
Somerset needed to bowl Essex out if they were to deny Tom Westley’s men their latest prize and although the target looked generous, the loss of four wickets before 100 had been posted and with 45 overs still remaining set up a tense conclusion.
Nick Browne and Alastair Cook put on 25 in just over 7 overs but then Browne and Tom Westley fell in seven balls to Lewis Gregory and Craig Overton respectively.
Cook, who batted magnificently in the first innings to score 172 that took his tally of career runs beyond 3,000 at Lord’s teamed up with Dan Lawrence as the pair continued to chase down the target.
But having carried the score to 68 and taken his personal aggregate to 563 runs in the competition with an innings worth 31, he was adjudged caught behind off Gregory.
Lawrence though was gradually warming to the task in front of him and had made 35 with 5 boundaries he was just beginning to take charge when the introduction of spinner Jack Leach brought his downfall.
With his seventh delivery, the England bowler brought Lawrence forward, struck him on the pad and was given the decision to leave Essex 98 for 4.
His departure brought a change of approach with the 2017 and 2019 County Champions now opting for the draw rather than victory on their way to another major red-ball title.
The restrained Walter was joined by ten Doeschate for an hour during which 33 were scored at 2 runs an over as they stabalised and applied themselves. Both showed the perfect temperament and character as their resolution frustrated Somerset for 16 overs before Walter, whose defiant innings worth 21 runs and spanning 84 balls and 2 hours, became a second lbw victim of Leach
Now 131 for 5, and survival the name of the game, ten Doeschate was joined by the gritty and unflappable Adam Wheater as the pair demonstrated determination and grafted skillfully and dug in valiantly for the cause.
When the final hour commenced, Essex were 157 for 5 but despite the efforts of Somerset skipper Tom Abell who rotated his bowlers regularly in an attempt to find another breakthrough, ten Doeschate and Wheater played circumspectly rarely venturing to break into aggressive mode.
Ten Doeschate did eventually succumb but only in the penultimate over when, 4 runs short of a deserved half-century, he got a leading edge to a Leach delivery and skied the ball to mid-wicket to end an invaluable innings lasting 162 minutes.
The last over of the match was sent down by Gregory but Simon Harmer blocked the first three balls before Abell called off the pursuit leaving the excellent and faultless Wheater to earn the final plaudits for his contribution that brought him 14 serene runs in 103 minutes at the crease.
So the kings of red-ball cricket collected their third major trophy in four years and first under the captaincy of Westley who took over from Ryan ten Doeschate this season.
Understandably there is no certain indication of what domestic cricket will look like in 2021 but whatever the format and schedule, Essex will certainly be leading the way to find the successful formula once again.
Day Four Reaction: Jamie Porter
Day Four Highlights
Day Four: Close of Play
Jamie Porter has put Essex into a strong position as they shape up for the final day’s play in this Bob Willis Trophy clash at Lord’s where Somerset will resume on 227 for 7 and a lead of 191.
The 27-year-old pace bowler took 4 for 51 including a spell of three wickets in 21 ballas at a cost of 9 runs to restore the initiative to the 2019 County Champions after their opponents had been 155 for 1 at one stage and seemingly set for a substantial second innings total.
Porter though had other ideas and claimed the wickets of Ed Byrom, George Bartlett and Lewis Gregory in a destructive spell after tea having accounted for Tom Abell before the interval.
Yet Porter had already made his mark on the day’s proceedings when, as a night watchman, he helped Adam Wheater put on 37 runs for the 7th wicket an alliance that ensured Essex a first innings lead by the time his hour-long stay at the crease was ended.
Essex still required 31 runs to overhaul the Somerset first innings score of 301 when play began but assisted but an early helping up 10 extras, they closed down the deficit before Wheater took successive fours from Craig Overton and two overs later Porter followed with another boundary this time via a perfectly executed off drive.
Four more extras ensured Essex a first innings lead before Porter was out for 13 and then Harmer departed for a duck to leave Essex on 303 for 8 but Wheater and Aaron Beard composed an unbroken 34 runs stand taking Essex to the closure point of their innings at 120 overs and a total of 337-8.
Trailing by 36 runs on first innings, the Somerset openers made excellent progress posting the highest first wicked partnership for the county in the competition this season.
They had reached 105 before Green guided a ball from Beard into the hands of Alastair Cook at first slip to depart for 41 but his opening partner Tom Lammonby continued to play masterfully.
For the third time in as many matches in the competition this season, the 20-year-old reached his century, this one from 134 balls with 15 boundaries. But around him wickets fell cheaply with Porter having Abell caught at mid-wicket for 15 before racing in to encourage Byrom to drag a ball onto his stumps and then having Bartlett caught by Tom Westley at mid-on.
Lammonby had advanced to 116 when Harmer trapped him in front of the stumps to leave Somerset 187 for five and one run later, Porter picked up the wicket of Gregory with the assistance of a superb two-handed slip catch by Alastair Cook. A second wicket followed for Simon Harmer who encouraged Steve Davies, on 19 to edge to slip where Cook collected his third catch of the innings.
That ended a stand of 36 as Somerset recoiled to 224-7 and three runs later bad, light stopped play for the day with a loss of 6.1 overs.
Porter has so far taken 4 for 51 from 19 overs, Harmer 2 for 79 from 28 and Beard 1 for 28.
Essex will hope to wrap up the innings early tomorrow to leave themselves the best part of the 90 overs available to round off the season with the victory and a trophy.
Day Three Highlights
Day Three Reaction: Tom Westley
Day Three: Close of Play
Alastair Cook stroked his way to 172 as he produced an innings of the highest quality to put Essex on the cusp of a first innings lead in their Bob Willis Trophy clash with Somerset at Lord’s.
At the close, Essex had reached 271 for 6 and 30 runs adrift of their opponents after the former England captain had played one of his finest performances on behalf of his county.
He was in imperious form and the longer he stayed at the crease, the sweeter his bat sounded as he cut and drove with exemplary timing and effect.
His half-century arrived from 100 balls with 8 boundaries and he took a further 64 balls to reach three figures having collected another 10 fours. Relentlessly, he kept his score ticking along facing a total of 251 deliveries as he moved onto 150 that embraced 24 boundaries.
Many of those were superb cover drives during an innings in which he recorded his 67th first-class century and 24th for his county.
His magnificent effort worth 172 runs came to an end shortly before the close when he flirted with a ball from Lewis Gregory outside off stump and was caught by Craig Overton at second slip ending his stay at the crease lasting 5 hours and 19 minutes and 289 balls.
Early in the day, Nick Browne fell to Gregory for 8 but that paved the way for Tom Westley to figure in a substantial partnership with Cook worth 170 runs as the Essex skipper prospered to post his highest score of the season in the competition.
Playing with sound and selective technique, he posted a merited half-century from 128 balls and completed with the seventh boundary of his innings when he whipped a ball from Tom Lammonby off his legs and through to the boundary.
But he was to depart two deliveries after tea when, having scored 51, he was caught at short mid-wicket off Lammonby to leave Essex 197 for 2.
Somerset though were encouraged with two more wickets in as many deliveries when Dan Lawrence went for 6 and Paul Walter first ball that reduced Essex to 208 for 4.
Ryan ten Doeschate teamed up with Cook but it was the effects of the second new ball that allowed Somerset to regain a foothold in the game. The new cherry was taken with the score 257 for 4 and ten Doeschate and Cook had completed a 50 stand spanning 115 balls but shortly after, both then both departed in a matter of 9 balls.
Cook went first on 264 and then two runs later, ten Doeschate went back when facing Overton and was leg before for 21.
Nightwatchman Jamie Porter though survived 23 balls for 5 and he and Adam Wheater – still to get off the mark – will resume in the morning as Essex look to gain a first innings lead that could yet be crucial in settling the outcome of this decider.
Day Two Highlights
Day Two Reaction – Anthony McGrath
Day Two: Close of Play
Sam Cook returned finished with figures of five for 76 as Somerset were bowled out for 301 before bad light prevented Essex from facing remaining three overs in the days allocation.
A partnership of 127 between Ed Byrom and Craig Overton underpinned the Somerset total with the former striking 117 during a 5 and a quarter hours stay at the crease whilst Overton hit 66 to frustrate the Essex bowlers for more than three hours.
The Somerset pair came together after Cook had collected his third wicket of the innings when Steve Davies flirted with a delivery outside off and edged a catch to wicket-keeper Adam Wheater, a dismissal that left Somerset 139 for five and the initiative with their opponents.
However, the excellent Zimbabwe-born Byrom and Overton played effectively and without due concerns although Cook and Porter did pass the bat on a number of occasions.
The 23-year-old Byrom moved to three figures with a straight drive off Cook completing his milestone performance four balls after lunch and Overton moved sweetly to an 85-ball half-century to retrieve the earlier position of concern for their side on a day when the weather again took a hand.
The duo had carried the score to 266 for five when the second new ball was taken and that was to prove both batsman’s downfall starting with Overton.
The new ball was just four deliveries old when Jamie Porter struck him in front of his stumps and 8 balls later, Byrom’s substantial contribution was ended by Cook when he too struck the pads to receive the affirmative decision from the umpire.
Lewis Gregory clubbed a 6 over the mid-wicket boundary when facing Cook, but he paid the price when he too was adjudged leg before to give the bowler his fifth wicket of the innings.
Three wickets had now fallen in 19 deliveries and although Josh Davey defied the Essex bowlers as the total inched past 300, the re-introduction of Simon Harmer at the Nursery End saw the spinner round off the innings with the wickets of Jack Leach and Jack Brooks in successive deliveries.
Cook finished with five for 76 from 32 overs ten of which were maidens, Harmer returned 2 for 36 from 20 overs and Porter 2 for 85 from 29 overs.
Openers Nick Browne and Alastair Cook made their way to the middle but before they faced the opening delivery of the Essex reply, the umpires conferred and decided the play could not continue because of bad light on a day when 40 overs were lost to the weather.
Day One Highlights
Day One Reaction – Sam Cook
Day One: Close of Play
Sam Cook returned figures of 2 for 38 whilst there was a wicket apiece for Jamie Porter and Aaron Beard on a rain-affected day when the four stoppages to the inclement weather claimed 46 overs, as Somerset reached the close on 119 for 4 in the Bob Willis Trophy Final at Lord’s.
Cook claimed openers Tom Lammonby and Ben Green before Ed Byrom stood firm, reaching an unbeaten half-century shortly before play drew to a close after yet another interruption by rain.
Essex won the toss and put their opponents into bat and immediately had their opponents in trouble when Cook trapped Lammonby in front of his stumps with the ninth ball of the match to give the bowler his 100th first-class wicket.
The first Somerset runs were gathered when skipper Tom Abell collected two boundaries from Porter’s second over and together with opener Ben Green, he started to repair the early damage.
He had reached 19 with his fourth boundary but was then brilliantly caught by wicket-keeper Adam Wheater who took the catch inches off the ground from a leg-side Beard delivery that also struck the thigh pad.
That left Somerset 34 for 2 and 18 runs later, Cook struck again with a superb delivery when he bowled Green through the gate for 24 with a ball that nipped back to give the bowler figures of 2 for 17 at that stage.
Byrom, who picked off the loose delivery, played with mature good sense and George Bartlett set about rebuilding the innings and by lunch, had composed a 38-run partnership.
Rain delayed the resumption but when the action did get underway and with the floodlights on, only 10.5 overs were possible between lunch and tea when a turgid pattern of play saw Porter and Cook concede just 4 runs in the first six overs with five maidens.
With the total on 94 and the scoreboard almost seizing to a halt, Porter brought the operators into action when he induced a fateful edge from Bartlett and Alastair Cook took the catch at first slip.
Bartlett departed for a 47-ball 12 before Steve Davies ended a sequence of 37 consecutive ‘dot’ balls from the Essex pace pair when he collected a boundary off Porter.
Another boundary off Porter, this one to Byrom, brought the total past 100 but shortly after, rain returned to send the players off for an early tea.
After another delay of more than an hour, play restarted and Byrom was able to complete his hard-earned half-century with a straight drove from Sam Cook, the ninth four of his 82-ball innings.
But three balls later, play was concluded for the day with Byrom on 51 and Davies 13 not out. Sam Cook has taken 2 for 38, Porter 1 for 33, Beard 1 for 38 and Simon Harmer 0 for 10 from his 6 overs.
Play is scheduled to resume in the morning at 10:30am.