Marquee gets seal of approval from players

The Somerset players stepped inside the marquee at the Cooper Associates County Ground for the first time this week and it has received a unanimous thumbs up.

Marcus Trescothick may be preparing for his 26th season at Somerset but batting outside on the grass in a marquee in February was a brand new experience for him.

“We are still in February but you can’t really tell the difference between the pitch we have been playing on and the normal square,” he said. “It’s a little bit green and damp as you can imagine, but it’s brilliant for practice.

“It’s a little bit different but really warm. To get outside on grass is quite special at this time of year, so it’s good that we have decided to go down this road.

“I’ve been around for a long time but I’ve never batted inside a marquee before, so it’s great to try something different. I lost my stumps once and got another on the knee roll, so it was tricky at times. We’ve had a week off and it takes a little while to get back into things, but this is a nice way to do it.”

Somerset Club Captain Tom Abell, who has just returned from a spin camp in India with the Academy cricketers, was certainly impressed with how the first morning in the new facility had gone.

“It’s been a really good practice this morning,” he said. “The wickets are a little bit green, but that’s the sort of preparation we want looking towards April. It’s great to be able to get outside and try to implement what you’ve been working on with the bowling machines in the indoor school and put it into practice. It just feels so good to get outside on the grass again.

“It’s only a month until we start our first game so it really feels like the start of pre-season for us. The squad have had a week off to re-charge the batteries and now we are pretty much into pre-season. Everyone is in a pretty good space and just looking forward to spending time working in the marquee.

“The conditions were very different out in India, where there was plenty of spin. There wasn’t so much in it for the spinners here this morning though!

“I had a great time working with some of the coaches in India and that will be invaluable to me in my game against spin, but these are very different conditions and present different challenges.”

Tom added: “We have all been working very hard through the winter on various aspects of our games and this is providing us with a good test.”

James Hildreth was also having his first experience of batting in a marquee and afterwards said: “It was brilliant to get outside on the grass. Normally at this time of year we are working in the indoor school, so this made a very welcome change.

“You see other counties going out to Dubai or to the Caribbean but I’m not jealous of them at all because I’m just loving it in the marquee. It’s awesome.

“It’s so much better than being indoors. It’s warm and the pitch is slow with lots of grass on it, which you’d expect because they’ve got to keep it going for a long period of time. However, it played quite well which is what you want as a batter.

“It really does feel like the pre-season has started already which is crazy, because it’s still mid February.”

James added: “It’s a really good transition to go from facing bowlers in here to getting match practice in the middle.”

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