Somerset v New Zealand: A brief history.
International cricket returns to the County Ground on Friday when we welcome New Zealand to Taunton for a 4-day Tourist Match.
There is a long history between Somerset and the Black Caps and the two sides have met on 13 occasions with the first of these dating back to 1927. That initial meeting was a 3-day match (as were the following 10 matches between the sides) which took place at Clarence Park in Weston-super-Mare and saw Arthur Wellard make his First Class debut for the County. Unfortunately for Somerset the tourists triumphed by 94 runs in just two days.
New Zealand returned to the region to take on Somerset in 1931 at the Recreation Ground in Bath. Somerset were able to ensure a draw thanks in no small part to Jack Lee’s 98 in the County’s first innings total of 244.
The two sides met for the first time at the County Ground in Taunton in 1937 and despite a century from Frank Lee and half centuries for Harold Gimblett and Geoffrey Bennett plus a six wicket haul for Bill Andrews the Tourists triumphed by 7 wickets.
Somerset have yet to taste victory against the Black Caps but there have been some outstanding individual performances in these encounters. In 1973’s draw Peter Denning made an impressive 85 not out whilst Dennis Breakwell took his 150th First Class wicket. 1978 saw another draw, the highlights of which were unbeaten centuries from Peter Roebuck (131*) and Breakwell (100* which remains his highest First Class score). Denning was in the runs again in 1983 as his 99 helped Somerset achieve yet another draw despite the presence of Kiwi legend Richard Hadlee. Although the Tourists won by 5 wickets in 1990, Somerset fans were treated to big scores from Chris Tavaré (156), Richard Harden (104) and Jimmy Cook (117).
In 1994 a Rob Turner century (104*) and 84 from Andy Hayhurst plus a five wicket haul for Mushtaq Ahmed forced the Tourists to follow-on but a century from Martin Crowe in their second innings saved a draw for New Zealand.
The first 4-day encounter between the sides came in 1999 and Somerset amassed a first innings total of 554 thanks to Greg Kennis (175), Steffan Jones (105) and Adrian Pierson (66). New Zealand were kept in the game by a century from Craig McMillan whilst Geoff Allott and Dion Nash ripped through the Somerset second innings. Nathan Astle (88*) and Chris Cairns (74*) then saw their side over the line to a 6 wicket win.
The last time Somerset took on New Zealand was in 2004 for a 50 over match ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy. Cairns was again the match winner as he smashed his way to 108 in his side’s total of 275 all out. Michael Parsons was the pick of the Somerset bowlers with 6 for 30 from 10 overs. Despite 58 from Keith Parsons, Somerset fell short of their required total as the Black Caps won by 105 runs.
Some of the greatest names in Somerset’s history have been unable to beat the touring New Zealand side. Can the class of 2015 achieve what no other Somerset squad has done and win against the World Cup runners up? We will know the answer soon and you could be there to see it!
There are still tickets available for this match and they can be purchased by clicking here
The match runs from the 8th to the 11th May and prices start at just £20 per day for adults and £5 for under 19′s.
Alternatively you can purchase a 4-Day Pass for just £50 for adults and £20 for under 19′s.
As well as the cricket, there will also be a special Thatchers Cider Festival for the duration of the match.
There will be a number of different ciders available over the course of the game and entry to the event is free with matchday tickets and Platinum Membership.