Somerset's Greatest XI: Openers

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 opening pair.

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

Jimmy Cook

Jimmy Cook was quite simply a run machine, and in the three seasons that he was with Somerset he scored over 7,500 First Class runs for the County.

In his first season (1989) Jimmy accumulated 2241 First Class runs, which included eight centuries at an average of 60.56.

In 1990 he was appointed as vice captain to new skipper Chris Tavare and performed even better for Somerset, amassing 2608 runs, with nine centuries, at an incredible average of 76.90. He was the first batsman in the country to reach 1000 and 2000 runs and in May of that year against Glamorgan at Cardiff he had reached 313 when Tavare declared the Somerset innings on 535 for two.

Cook’s final season (1991) was even better and saw him score 2755 First Class runs at an amazing average of 81.02, which included 11 centuries, a new Somerset record, beating the previous best set by Bill Alley 30 years earlier in 1961.

Harold Gimblett

Harold Gimblett’s story is one of a farmer’s son from Bicknoller who went on to become Somerset’s highest ever First-Class run scorer.

In 329 matches for Somerset between 1935 and 1954 he scored 21,142 runs at an average of 36.96, and hit 49 centuries.

It all began when the 20-year-old, who had made his mark locally for Watchet and the Somerset Stragglers, was given a two week trial at Taunton. The powers-that-be at Somerset were not too impressed, but they allowed him to finish off his fortnight stint and paid him his 35 shillings (£1.75) plus bus fare to get home.

On the last day, Harold packed up his gear and was getting ready to depart when Somerset found themselves a man short for their three-day game against Essex at Frome. Harold was called back into the office and told that if he could get himself to Frome on Saturday morning, then he would be playing for Somerset.

Harold didn’t have a car so Somerset arranged for the 20-year-old to be picked up at Bridgwater at 9am by ‘keeper Wally Luckes.  The trouble was that he had to get to Bridgwater and the only way he could do so was by bus. Everything seemed to be conspiring against him because he missed the early morning bus along the North Somerset coast to Bridgwater but managed to meet up with Luckes after a kindly truck drive gave him a lift.

He made a century on his debut and the rest, as they say, is history.

Lionel Palairet

A talented all-round athlete, Lionel Palairet captained Oxford to Varsity glory, earned a blue in the three-mile event, was a first class shot, an exceptional billiards player and played football for Corinthians. He was also a keen and successful golfer and fisherman.

He made his Somerset debut in 1891 and would go on to score nearly 14,000 First Class runs at an average of 35.79. He scored 27 centuries including a best of 292 against Hampshire in 1896.

He would usually wear a trademark Harlequin cap whilst batting.

He passed 1000 runs in a season of five occasions, captained the side in 1907 and was elected president of the Club in 1929.

Following his death in 1931, his obituary in The Times described him as “the most beautiful batsman of all time”.

Marcus Trescothick

Marcus Trescothick made his debut for Somerset in 1993 and went on to represent the Club for 27 seasons.

During that time he scored more First Class centuries (52) and more List A runs (7374) than any player in the Club’s history.

The man from Keynsham scored 19,654 First Class runs for Somerset at an impressive average of 41.11. He also holds the record for the most First Class catches (445) for the County.

As well as excelling on the domestic front, Marcus also had a fine international career.

His 76 Test matches saw him plunder over 5800 runs at an average of 43.79. He was equally destructive in limited overs matches and his 123 ODI’s saw him amass 4335 runs at an average of 37.37.

He has captained his Country, won an Ashes series, played in a World Cup and won trophies with the County that is so close to his heart.


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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