Jason hoping his side can make history

Somerset take on Essex in the five-day final of the Bob Willis Trophy this week.

The match gets underway on Wednesday and Somerset Head Coach, Jason Kerr hopes that this can be the first trophy of many for his young and talented squad.

“Obviously at the start of this campaign everyone was wanting to get to the final and I’m delighted that we have done just that,” he said when we spoke to him earlier today in Stragglers Coffee House. “I think the cricket that we’ve played in the competition has been a notch up on last year which shows that we’re growing as a side and that’s really exciting as we look to the future.

“A number of the younger players have really stepped up and shown that they have really bright futures ahead of them and that will certainly stand the Club in good stead for a number of years.

“Ultimately we will try to deliver what we have delivered so far throughout this competition when we get to Lord’s. We’ve played some of the most exciting red-ball cricket that I’ve ever seen Somerset produce. What excites me most about this group is how the skill levels have developed. It’s not just about playing cricket and those experiences, it’s about challenging the standards of First Class cricket. The way that we’ve operated as a team, particularly the bowling unit, has been exceptional and we’ve supported that in the field and there have also been some outstanding individual performances with the bat.”

The group stage matches were played over four days but the final will be played over five. Will that influence the team’s preparation in any way?

“That won’t alter our preparation at all,” Jason explained. “It’s exciting to be involved in the first final of this nature and we’re delighted that we are able to be a part of it. I think at this time of year you’re likely to get interruptions for bad light or inclement weather, so I think that the volume of cricket played over the five days may very well be similar to that of a four-day game anyway.

“This is a really exciting opportunity. There are 16 other counties who would love to be there, and ourselves and Essex have the chance to put on a show at one of the most iconic grounds in the world. It would have been great to have had the final at Taunton in front of the fans and I’m sure Essex would love to play the game at Chelmsford, but to have the final of the showcase red-ball tournament at Lord’s is a first and it’s something we’re incredibly proud to be a part of.”

Does Jason feel that the two best sides in the country have qualified for the final?

“If you look at both sides, they know they can win,” he said. “Essex won the Championship last year and we won the 50-over competition, so we both know how to win. We need to draw on the experience of last year because we know that we have won at Lord’s recently and hopefully that will be advantageous.

“If we look at it statistically over the last few years, it’s been ourselves and Essex pushing for the title. Essex have won two out of the last three, so I think you’d be very hard pushed to find someone to argue against the fact that the two best teams have made it through to the final.”

What would it mean to the team to lift the trophy?

“It would be huge. there’s a big sense of achievement in having got to the final, but we are certainly aware that is only half of the job. If we can get the result that we’re all hoping for there’s no doubt that it would have a huge impact on the South West and reinforce a lot of the good things that we’re doing here at Somerset. It would be the reward that the players, the backroom staff and all the staff who are involved with the Club deserve. Everyone across the whole Club has adapted brilliantly in incredibly adverse conditions. Winning the Bob Willis Trophy would be just reward for the amount of effort that everyone has put in just to get cricket happening this year.”

Does Jason have a message for the Somerset supporters?

I know that the numbers of people watching online will be astronomical and we are extremely appreciative for all the support that we have received from our Members and supporters throughout this year. We are certainly aware of what this would mean to everyone and we will be doing everything that we can to bring that trophy home. The Members and the supporters mean the world to us and we can’t wait to have them back at the Cooper Associates County Ground.”

First two images courtesy of Getty Images.

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