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From the Archive: Highest First Class Score for Marcus

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Throughout the winter we have been going back through our archives to shine the spotlight on former players, memorable matches and outstanding performances.

Today we go back to May 2007 to revisit the highest ever First Class score by one of Somerset’s all time greats; Marcus Trescothick.

At the end of 2006 Somerset County Cricket Club was in a period of transition.

The Club had just finished bottom of the Second Division of the County Championship and things needed to change. Ahead of the 2007 season the Club announced that Justin Langer would be joining the Club as Captain in a bid to turn around Somerset’s fortunes.

It was also a period of change for Marcus Trescothick.

The man from Keynsham had returned early from that winter’s Ashes tour following a recurrence of a stress related illness and his international future was uncertain.

Optimism was high going into the 2007 campaign, but what does Marcus remember about that year?

“We were a pretty good side at the time,” he said. “We progressed pretty well that year and you’ve just got to look at the names in the side. There was a great deal of experience in the likes of myself, Justin Langer and Andrew Caddick, who’d all played a good deal of international cricket. Then there was Ian Blackwell, Craig Kieswetter, Charl Willoughby and Cameron White, so it was a very good side.”

On May 8th 2007, Marcus and Neil Edwards walked out to bat at Northampton in the County Championship after Northamptonshire Captain David Sales had won the toss and elected to field. Over the next two days, Somerset’s talisman would bat for over 500 minutes and claim his highest ever First Class score of 284.

In the context of his career, given what had happened over the course of the winter, how important was this innings for him?

“It was massive for me,” he said. “What I do remember is that it was a tough start to the season for me with everything that had gone on and I was trying to get back into international contention. I needed some runs at the top of the order to do that, so it was nice to get a big score like we did.

“It was all about finding my feet again and getting back into the normality of playing the game. It was about enjoying cricket for the right reasons like I used to, forgetting everything that had happened before and just getting back to playing the game that I had loved whilst I was growing up. The key was getting comfortable again, getting away from all the palaver that had happened and getting back to being the player that I felt I could be.

“When you get a big score and then go on to get a monster it’s a very special feeling because it gives you a real boost. I remember that I was concentrating really well that day and sometimes you just have those days when everything is really solid for a long period of time and this was definitely one of those times. Looking at the scorecard now, I see that I faced 379 balls. That’s a mammoth time over the course of a day and a bit.”

How important was the arrival of Justin Langer to the turn around in Somerset’s fortunes and to your career at the time?

“His introduction was really important,” said Marcus. “It’s nice to have somebody who is very experienced and very supportive. It was a very good team that really looked after each other but Justin played a big part in turning the Club around in that period.”

How good was that Somerset side of 2007? Was it one of the best he played in?

“We had Blackwell at six, Trego at seven and Kieswetter at eight and then three very fine bowlers after that,” explained Marcus. “When you look at the side it’s no wonder that we dominated the Second Division like we did that year. I think we would have been very competitive if we’d been in the First Division that year. We had a lot of bases covered back then. Caddy was still going very well and Charl’s bowling was very strong as was Steffen Jones’. The batting line up was really dominant and I think five different players got over 1000 runs that year in the competition. That’s a pretty good effort! I don’t think I’ve played in many county sides that have got that amount of experience. Justin had over 100 Test appearances, Caddy played over 60 Tests and I played 76. That’s a massive amount of international experience, which won’t have been replicated in many teams I wouldn’t have thought.”

Did Marcus know he was on for a big score right from the outset?

“It was one of those days when I’d gone out and my concentration was bang on the money,” he said. “It was clearly a good pitch because we got 641, they got 400 and that was the end of the game. My record at Northampton has always been pretty good as well, but sometimes you just have those days when you just know that everything is ready to go and it all clicks into gear. I’ve had other great moments and other periods of time when everything’s on point, but when you get a really big score it’s very pleasing.”

Somerset cruised to the Second Division title that year, finishing more than 50 points clear of second placed Nottinghamshire. During his long career, Marcus won several trophies with both Somerset and England, so where does the 2007 Second Division title sit amoungst his many honours?

“It’s not quite held in the same regard as last year’s Royal London One-Day Cup win or the T20 win in 2005 or the C&G Trophy victory in 2001 because at the end of the day your finishing 10th in a competition. Having said that, it was still a mammoth effort to win a four-day competition over the course of the whole summer. That takes a huge amount of effort. We had a good team and it’s still something that very much I cherish.”

Marcus explains that he still looks back fondly on his 2007 season, during which he scored 1315 runs and a remarkable average of 62.61.

“When my time playing for England finished, I really enjoyed coming back and succeeding for those few years afterwards. I took pride in trying to be the best and reaching the standards that I’d set myself. It was nice to be able to have a period of time where I could play well.”

Images courtesy of Getty Images

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