Archive Photo Special: Part One

Over the course of the winter months, we have been delving into the archives in order to unearth some interesting photographs from throughout our history.

Some of these images won’t have been seen for decades, so we hope you enjoy this series of articles which will take you down a visual memory lane.

The image at the top of this article was taken on May 25th 1913.

The picture features Somerset trio (l to r) Jack White, Massey Poyntz and Bruce Hylton-Stewart and was taken at the Private Banks Sports Ground, Catford ahead of the Club’s three-day County Championship match with Kent.

The hosts won the toss and elected to bat, making 233 in their first innings62.5 overs. Edward Humphries top scored for Kent whilst White was the pick of the Somerset bowlers, claiming seven for 83.

Despite 42 from Percy Hardy, Somerset were all out for 146.

Second innings centuries from Wally Hardinge (105) and James Seymour (118) had helped Kent reach 389 for five when the declaration came.

Despite Poyntz passing the 2000 First Class run mark when he reached six, Somerset were always up against it and were all out for 122 as Kent eased to victory by 354 runs.

Indeed, the 1913 season was a difficult one for Somerset as the Club finished bottom of the County Championship, whilst Kent claimed their fourth title. Although Somerset finished 93 points behind the champions, the Club played 12 less fixtures.

The County Championship structure at the time was as follows:

  • Five points were awarded for a win.
  • Three points were awarded for “winning” the first innings of a drawn match.
  • One point was awarded for “losing” the first innings of a drawn match.
  • Final placings were decided by calculating the percentage of possible points.

This picture of an 18-year-old Ian Botham in full flow was taken on August 14th 1974.

The fixture was the 60-over Gillette Cup semi-final at Canterbury. Once again, the opposition was Kent and once again Somerset were not victorious.

After winning the toss, Kent captain Mike Denness elected to field.

Derek Taylor top scored with 49, Jim Parks made 21 not out and Botham made a brisk 19 but Somerset were dismissed for 154 in 58 overs.

Despite a brace of wickets for Botham and for Bob Clapp, the hosts reached their total with three wickets to spare in the 53rd over.

This picture of Sammy Woods is believed to have been taken in 1900.

Woods was born in Sydney, Australia in 1868 and first came to England in 1883 to complete his education.

He first played for Somerset in 1886, before the County gained First Class status and took a wicket with his maiden delivery. Two years later he played three games for the Australian touring side in England.

Woods went to Cambridge University in 1887 and for the next four years he dominated the Light Blues attack, taking 38 wickets in the Varsity Matches he appeared in with a best of seven for 60 in 1891.

He was a member of the Somerset side that played in 1891, the opening season as a First Class county.  From then until 1910 Sammy Woods was a member of the side, captaining them in 1894 and 1906.

He was a fiery bowler, especially in his younger days and once took all 10 wickets for Cambridge University in a First Class match. He was also a forceful batsman and in 299 First Class matches for Somerset he scored 12,637 runs at 25.07, which included 18 centuries.  He scored 1000 runs in a season for Somerset on four occasions and had a best of 215 against Sussex in 1895.  He also took 556 wickets for the County at an average of 24.05 and had a best of eight for 51.

Woods was an all round sportsman and in addition to playing Test cricket for both England and Australia, he played rugby for Blackheath and the Barbarians as well as captaining the England XV.  He also played hockey and football for Somerset.

This image is from a 1981 John Player League match between Somerset and Warwickshire at Taunton.

This was at the height of Somerset’s Glory Years period, during which the Club was the most feared one-day side in the country.

This particular match saw Viv at his destructive best.

The 40-over game was reduced to 28 overs per side and the brilliant West Indian came to the crease with his team on four for one. That quickly became 24 for three, but Viv played superbly and his score of 101 ensured that Somerset posted a competitive total of 211 for six.

Such was the firepower in the Somerset attack at the time, that the Taunton faithful had no doubt that victory was possible, and so it proved.

Warwickshire slipped to 50 for four, and although Philip Oliver made 55, the visitors were limited to 153 for seven as Somerset won by 58 runs.

Joel Garner (three for 28) and Hallam Moseley (three for 30) were the pick of the bowlers, but it was Viv Richards who really turned the tie in Somerset’s favour that day.

Somerset would eventually finish second to Essex in the competition that year.

This final photograph shows crowds of supporters gathering outside Lord’s ahead of a three day County Championship match between Middlesex and Somerset in May 1948.

This was a memorable match, but sadly not for Somerset supporters.

Middlesex captain, George Mann won the toss and elected to bat against a Somerset side that included the likes of Harold Gimblett, Maurice Tremlett, Wally Luckes and Arthur Wellard.

The visitors had the best of the early exchanges and two wickets for Bertie Buse saw Middlesex slip to 54 for two. Unfortunately, that was as good as it got for the visitors because William Edrich and Dennis Compton put Somerset to the sword.

Compton made a superlative 252 not out, beating his previous best in County Championship matches of 235, whilst Edrich more than ably supported him with 168 not out as Middlesex declared on 478 for two.

Although Norman Mitchell-Innes made 65 and Tremlett made 40, Somerset were dismissed for just 194 and the hosts enforced the follow on.

The visitors fared somewhat better second time around and half centuries from Eric Hill, Miles Coope and Buse at least ensured that Middlesex would have to bat again. Somerset were eventually all out for 310.

However, Compton and Jack Robertson saw their side to 29 without loss and a win by 10 wickets.

We hope that you have enjoyed this look through the archives, and we look forward to you joining us again soon for part two.

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