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Somerset Cruelly Denied By Weather

Somerset endured the sort of sporting agony that only cricket can supply as rain prevented them closing out victory over Warwickshire in the Bob Willis Trophy at Edgbaston.

After totally dominating the match, Tom Abell’s side entered the last day needing only to polish off the home side’s second innings. Needing 292 to avoid an innings defeat, Warwickshire, resumed on the final day on 104 for six.

They finished it on 140 for eight to secure a highly unlikely draw.

Somerset bossed the match from ball one. In football terms, they were 10-0 up with ten minutes to play. But this is cricket and, in the bizarre old world of cricket, rain can be the opposition’s star player – and the visitors could only watch in dismay from their dressing-room at the Birmingham End as a string of heavy showers swept to Warwickshire’s rescue.

Only 15.4 overs were possible in the day. Perhaps most infuriatingly for Somerset, the entire post-tea session, in which there was scope for 37 overs was washed out before the call-off finally arrived at 5.13pm.

The groundstaff battled manfully to shift standing water from the outfield and get the ground playable, but it was not to be. For Somerset, the angst stretched beyond simply being denied the victory they deserved. With only two Bob Willis Trophy final places up for grabs, one of the three group-winners will miss out, so the victory points that disappeared down the Birmingham drains could cost them a place in the Lord’s showpiece.

Warwickshire began the final day in need of either some remarkable batting or some serious rain. It was the latter that bailed them out, though some credit must go to seventh-wicket pair Alex Thomson and Henry Brookes who dug in during a bitty morning’s play to consume some time.

The morning brought three sessions of play in which the home side scored 11 without loss in four overs, one without loss in 0.4 overs and 22 for one in 9.2 overs.

The latter burst brought Somerset’s only success of the morning when Brookes (12 from 40 balls), having impressively reined in his attacking instincts, tried to leave a ball from Lewis Gregory but deflected it on to his stumps.

Much to Brookes’ frustration, before another ball could be bowled, the rain returned to expedite an early lunch, at which Warwickshire were 138 for seven.

Further heavy showers kept Somerset waiting until 3pm for a resumption but by 3.02pm they had made another breakthrough. Craig Overton’s third ball rose off a length and Thomson (26, 101 balls, five fours) edged to wicketkeeper Steven Davies.

Somerset sensed the kill but again were sent from the field by rain before they could deliver it. They might have noted with a degree of irony that the 20-minute tea interval passed largely in sunshine. Then the ground was hit by another heavy shower – and another – and Somerset were cruelly thwarted once and for all.

Somerset head coach Jason Kerr said: “I have just said to the players, it is about processes and the cricket you play and we have completely dominated this game and played some excellent cricket and they can take a lot of pride in that.

“We all know you can’t control the weather. It has been difficult to predict over the last couple of days with showers blowing in and when you are in a group format it is tempting to look at tables and other results but we can only control what we do and I was very pleased with everything we did in this match.

“We have got two games left now, against Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, and we go into them in a very good place. We are bowling really well as a unit and finding some form with the bat having put together some significant partnerships in this match.”

Warwickshire first-team coach Jim Troughton said: “It was a poor four days for us. We were outplayed for four days of cricket. We elongated today’s play for as long as we could with the bat, Alex Thomson had batted for a long time, and the weather had helped us out.

“Looking at the fixtures, we knew that this was a benchmark game for us. We knew that Somerset are a strong side and it would be a real test. We are under no illusions that we not have been totally outskilled.

“The attitude that Somerset brought onto the game was far superior to ours.  In our previous two games we were in good positions and didn’t press them home. In this game, Somerset showed us how it should be done. They buried us in the third innings and we have been very lucky to escape with a draw.”

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