Departing Head Groundsman, Simon Lee has won back-to-back ECB Groundsman of the Year awards in the one-day cricket category.

Simon shared the award with Glamorgan Head Groundsman, Robin Saxton after both their white-ball pitches earned perfect marks through the summer.

It was the second successive season that Simon has returned perfect marks in the short formats as Somerset embarked on their run to the Royal London Cup title before narrowly missing out of the quarter-finals of the Vitality Blast.

“It’s nice to keep up those standards,” said Simon after receiving his honour at the awards ceremony at Edgbaston.

“The one thing in one-day cricket that you’re looking for from a pitch is pace and bounce and that’s something I think we’ve been able to establish consistently. You’ve got pace on the ball, so the bowlers are in the game but also so the batsmen can play shots as well.

“Taunton is a smaller ground with a quick outfield and with our true pitches it makes for great one-day cricket and we’ve seen that thanks to the skill of the players.

“I think that breeds better cricket and I think we saw that in our last T20 of the summer (the record-breaking match against Middlesex).”

The Cooper Associates County Ground was also home to Western Storm, who won 10 of their 11 matches en-route to lifting the Kia Super League title for a second time.

New Welsh Fire Women’s Coach, Matthew Mott recently described the ground as one of the best in the world for women’s cricket and Lee believes the characteristics suit the female  game.

“We’ve had a lot of women’s cricket over the last 10 to 15 years and the supporters at Taunton really like it,” Simon said.

“I think the pace on the ball helps the women’s game because it stays quicker a little longer to help the batters get the ball through the infield. The game feels slightly quicker than at other grounds.”

Simon is taking up a new role at the Ageas Bowl this winter and admitted it has been one of the hardest decisions of his life after a decade at his home club.

“I’m a Somerset boy. It is really hard (to leave) actually,” he said. “It is probably the hardest thing about the whole process – leaving home and leaving friends and family and colleagues that I’ve known for a very long time.

“But the right decisions are never usually the easiest decisions. I had to reconcile that in my head because I love Taunton, but the challenge and the timing was really good and sometimes you’ve just got to know when to bite the bullet and now is that time.

“I’m looking forward to a new challenge and see where it takes me.”

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09/07/2022 19:00 - The Cooper Associates County Ground