Happy Birthday Somerset CCC!
Whatever happens in our Royal London One-Day Cup Quarter Final against Worcestershire Rapids, it is a big day for Somerset County Cricket Club.
On this day back in 1875 the Gentlemen of Somerset played against the Gentlemen of Devon in a two-day match at The Fortfield in Sidmouth.
The Gentlemen of Somerset went on to win the match by eight wickets but more importantly, the players met after the game and resolved that Somerset should have it’s own County Cricket Club.
Originally the idea of those who had formed the County Club was not to have a home ground, but to take their matches to different grounds around Somerset. When the team played in Taunton they chose Fullands School as the venue, which at the time was one of the best in the region.
The Somerset team remained nomadic until 1881, when Taunton Athletic Club opened a sports centre on the Priory Fields next door to the River Tone, which soon became the home to the County Club.
Somerset played their first ‘home’ match during 1882 and during that year one of the teams to pay a visit were the Australian tourists.
Initially Somerset did not enjoy First Class status, but after winning the ‘Second Class Championship in 1890, First Class status followed in 1891 and since then the Club has enjoyed a long and colourful history.
Whatever the fortunes of the team on the field, the Club has remained at it’s Cooper Associates County Ground home, which it has owned since it was first acquired by the then secretary Henry Murray-Anderdon, just before the start of the 20th Century.
Down the years Somerset has had many colourful and influential characters playing with the Wyvern on their chest including: Lionel Palairet, Sammy Woods, Jack White, Arthur Wellard and Harold Gimblett, who all left their mark on the Club before the 2nd World War. However it was not until the late 1970′s and early 1980′s that Somerset won our first trophy, but when we did the Club enjoyed a golden era, winning five competitions in as many years.
The young side that had been brought together under the watchful eye of Brian Close included Ian Botham, Viv Richards and Joel Garner and were captained by Brian Rose.
Following the ‘Glory Years’ the Club’s loyal supporters had to wait a further 18 years before they enjoyed the sweet taste of success again, which they did in 2001 when Somerset lifted the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy. Further success followed four years later when the Club won the Twenty20 Cup and now with a team full of exciting talent, the Club that was formed in Devon all those years ago could be on the verge of another golden era!