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Somerset secure a draw at Hampshire after dramatic final day

The Somerset tail secured a draw in a last session thriller at Hampshire in the Specsavers County Championship.

Hampshire had declared on 95 for five during the rain break to set up the thrilling, topsy-turvy, finale as they set Somerset 131 to win in 31 overs.

Captain George Bailey’s decision appeared to be impeccably judged as Gareth Berg took two wickets in an over.

The fast bowler was helped by a stunning diving catch by James Vince in the covers to get rid of Marcus Trescothick and three balls later Adam Hose was caught behind by Lewis McManus.

The new pink ball appeared difficult to play as it swung and seamed, with play and misses a regular sight.

James Hildreth was the next to depart as Kyle Abbott finally got his first wicket of the match with a well-produced full delivery. Wickets continued to fall as Eddie Byrom stuck around for a 28-ball 15 before Ian Holland bowled him – the medium pace bowler’s fifth wicket of the match.

Tom Abell followed in the next over as he attempted to play a reverse sweep, but only looped up to Rilee Rossouw at first slip.

Steven Davies had been elevated up the order to open in the hope of quick runs and he provided an excellent 47 from 40 balls. He played one shot too many though and drove Holland on the up to Bailey in the covers.

Tim Groenewald and Lewis Gregory blocked out 7.5 overs before the latter was lbw to Berg. Groenewald then edged Abbott behind with seven balls to spare but Josh Davey and Craig Overton survived with the nerves jangling as Somerset reached 88 for eight at the close.

The draw leaves Hampshire level on points with Yorkshire, but above them in third due to their win at Headingley earlier in the season, while Somerset remain seventh.

Earlier, the afternoon session had progressed the game nicely with the remaining Somerset wickets of Davey and Jack Leach falling in 37 balls.

Hampshire, who boasted a 64-run first innings lead, then proceeded to lose two wickets of their own.

Openers Jimmy Adams and Dawson falling before the tea interval – the former run out from point, with the England international clean bowled by Groenewald.

Vince and Rossouw put on 33 in quick time – with the pair finding the boundary more comfortably than anyone else in the match. Gregory had the South African edging to first slip  where Hildreth spectacularly caught low to his right.

Then Vince, caught behind cutting, and Bailey, foolishly run out in a mix up with Sean Ervine, fell in consecutive balls. But as the rain fell, Hampshire elected to declare for the second time in the match but they could not force a positive result with the game eventually ending in a draw.

Somerset Director of Cricket Matt Maynard: “We knew it would be a challenging task and only one of our batsmen felt and looked at ease out there and that was Steve Davies. Everyone else struggled to hit the ball. To be fair they applied the pressure and we are down on confidence.

“The likes of Eddie Byrom and Hildy tried to get the ball away and that was their undoing in the end and likewise Steve. We tried to give it a go but realistically it wasn’t going to be possible once it got over six an over.

“It’s nice to get the draw but overall we’re disappointed with our batting performance in both innings again.”

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Next MatchSomerset V Derbyshire Falcons

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