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SOMERSET'S GREATEST XI: MIDDLE ORDER

Since Somerset County Cricket Club’s inception in 1875, some of the greatest cricketers ever to have graced the field have represented the County.

However, the eternal question is: who would make it into Somerset’s greatest ever county championship team?

We are now giving you the chance to answer that question.

Every Monday for the next few weeks, you will have the opportunity to help select the Club’s greatest ever red-ball XI.

We have compiled a shortlist which will enable you to select our best ever openers, middle order, wicketkeeper, seamers and spinners.

Today we begin by giving you the chance to pick the middle order.

Simply select three batters from the list provided, and the players who receive the most votes will be selected and announced next week.

Peter Wight

 

Born in British Guiana in 1930, Peter Wight was a right handed batsman and an occasional off spinner, who scored 16,965 First Class runs for Somerset during his 13 years with the Club.

He played cricket for British Guiana over the winter of 1950-51, and in 1953 he travelled to Burnley to play in the Lancashire League. That year he was invited to Taunton to play in a three-day game against the Australian touring side. In the first innings Peter was dismissed for a duck but in the second innings he made an unbeaten 109. On the strength of this performance he was offered a contract by Somerset.

In 1954 he scored 1343 First Class runs and for the next 10 seasons he topped 1000 runs. In two of these years he went on to exceed 2000. In 1960 he was the leading run scorer in the country with 2375 at an average of 41.66, which included seven centuries. His occasional off spinners also netted him 62 First Class wickets for Somerset.

After he retired from playing, Peter was appointed to the First Class umpires list.

He then went on to run a highly successful cricket school at Bath, where a young Marcus Trescothick was coached during  his formative years.

James Hildreth

James made his Somerset debut in 2003, playing in nine National League games and the Championship match with Derbyshire at Taunton.

James’s second Championship appearance was against Durham at Taunton in 2004 and he marked it by scoring 101 and 72 against an attack including Shoaib Akhtar. In the same season he represented England Under 19s against Bangladesh, scoring 210 in the second ‘Test’ at Taunton. The previous winter he had played in the Under 19 World Cup in Bangladesh.

He was voted ‘Most Promising Young Cricketer of the Year’ in 2004 by the Cricket Society.

James has played more First XI matches for Somerset than any other player and is currently Somerset’s third highest First Class run scorer having amassed 16,981 runs at an average of 40.81.

Viv Richards

Viv Richards is widely acknowledged as being one of the greatest players that the sport has ever seen.

Born in Antigua in 1952, he was spotted by Somerset Committee Member, Len Creed who was in Antigua in 1973. He relocated to England later that year and made his debut for the Lansdown Second XI at Weston-super-Mare in April. It wasn’t long before he was promoted to the Lansdown First XI where the runs flowed.

He made his debut for Somerset in a Benson & Hedges Cup match against Glamorgan at Swansea and walked away with the Man of the Match award after his 81 not out helped Somerset to a six wicket victory.

That year he scored over 1000 runs in the Championship and by the end of the season he had been called up by the West Indies for their tour of India and Pakistan.

He was a vital part of the Somerset side that dominated one-day cricket in the late 70s and early 80s and he played a total of 191 First Class matches for the County, scoring 14,698 runs at an average of 49.82.

His highest score for the County was 322 which came against Warwickshire in 1985. What is even more remarkable is that all those runs came on one day.

A more than useful bowler as well, Viv claimed 96 First Class wickets for the County with a best of four for 36.

Brian Rose

Educated at the local grammar school in Weston-super-Mare, where he grew up, Brian was selected at county level for both the under 13s and under 15s. He went on to represent England Schools and eventually made his Somerset debut in 1969.

Alongside cricket, Brian embarked on a teacher training course, qualified and then returned to Weston to teach.

However, cricket was his main love and he and that was the route that the left-hander chose when Somerset offered him a full time contract.

Following the retirement of Brian Close, it was Brian Rose who was made captain in 1978. Under his stewardship, Somerset won silverware for the first time and enjoyed the most successful period in Club’s history.

In 251 matches for Somerset, Brian scored 12,342 First Class runs at an average of 33.26.

His class and form for Somerset also saw him achieve England recognition and he featured in nine Test matches and two ODIs for his country.

Peter Denning

Affectionately know as ‘Dasher’, Peter Denning was born and grew up at Chewton Mendip, where his father was the village butcher.

He attended the local village primary school where he excelled at all sports before moving onto Edgarley Hall at Glastonbury.

At Millfield School, where he later captained the side, he came to the attention of the Somerset selectors and played through the County age groups alongside Brian Rose.

He made his First Class debut for Somerset against Glamorgan in June 1969 and was awarded his County Cap in 1973.

He scored 1000 First Class runs in a season for the first time in 1975, after which there were five further occasions that he passed the landmark. The best of these being in 1979 when he hit 1222.

During a career that lasted between 1969 and 1984, Peter played in 269 First Class games in which he scored 11,559 runs, which included eight centuries and a best of 184 at Trent Bridge against Notts in 1980.

VOTE NOW

Last week’s vote

Last week we asked you to select the Club’s greatest ever opening pair.

You voted for Marcus Trescothick and Jimmy Cook.

Marcus received 98% of the vote, whilst Jimmy received 57.2%.

Next week we will be asking you to pick our greatest all rounder.

Don’t miss out on the chance to have your say on who are the best Somerset players of all time!

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