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Another big score from Hildy can't prevent Somerset defeat

Another impressive innings from James Hildreth couldn’t prevent Somerset from tasting defeat for the first time in this season’s Royal London One-Day Cup.

Luke Wright scored 105 off 87 balls as Sussex Sharks ended their opponents unbeaten start to the season with a 75-run win at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

Max Waller and Tim Groenewald both claimed three wickets but Wright was the main contributor as the visitors posted a total of 341 for seven after winning the toss.

In reply, Somerset made 266 all out with Hildreth top-scoring with 87. Matt Renshaw made 55 on his List A debut for the County and Steve Davies scored 56.

Danny Briggs turned the match in Sussex’s favour, removing Hildreth and Craig Overton in the 40th over, with the outcome in the balance. Ishant Sharma was the most successful bowler with three for 47.

It was Somerset’s first defeat in any form of cricket this season.

After Luke Wells had fallen cheaply to Craig Overton, Wright collected his first maximum off the same bowler and was soon timing the ball well on a true pitch in bright sunshine.

He found an able partner in Harry Finch and the pair accelerated in good style, putting on 107 in 16 overs before leg-spinner Waller ended the stand by dismissing Finch lbw for 35.

Visiting skipper Ben Brown fell for only eight, but Wright helped to take the total past 200 before falling to a well-judged catch by Tom Banton at deep mid-wicket off Waller.

Laurie Evans contributed a bright 43 before also departing leg-before to Waller, whose handy mid-innings spell brought three for 52 from ten overs.

Sussex needed a big score in the conditions and they got it thanks to Wiese and Burgess whose half-centuries were full of aggressive shots.

During the interval, in the region of 1000 children took part in a special parade on the pitch as part of Somerset’s sixth annual Schools day after which both sets of players and the whole of the Cooper Associates County Ground observed a minute’s silence to mark the anniversary of the Manchester bombings.

Somerset would have fancied their chances at the halfway stage but the home side lost Johann Myburgh and Peter Trego, captaining the side in the absence of the injured Tom Abell, with only 24 on the board, both to Oli Robinson.

Hildreth, a centurion in the previous game against Glamorgan, again looked in fine form and Davies was unlucky to play a ball from Abi Sakande onto his stumps. When Tom Banton fell Somerset were 101 for four.

Hildreth went to fifty off 62 balls and Renshaw hit the ball sweetly to reach a half-century off just 36 deliveries before being caught behind flashing at a wide ball from Wiese.

The departure of Hildreth proved decisive. He was caught and bowled by Briggs off a leading edge and when both Overton brothers went in quick succession Sussex were as good as home despite Roelof van der Merwe remaining unbeaten on 34.

After the match Somerset Director of Cricket, Andy Hurry said: “I think we have to give great credit to the Sussex team and to Luke Wright for the way that he looked to approach the game. He scored a good one-day hundred. Then at the end Weise and Burgess came in and scored a lot of runs quickly.

“There are some lessons for us to take away from today but I was impressed with Max Waller, who put in a good solid performance today.

“At our best we are much better than that, but our measurement is the performance we put in against Glamorgan on Sunday, so there is something for us to take away from that, which is important.

“From a batting perspective they came at us hard and made it tough for us. I don’t think we were ever out of the game until the wickets started tumbling at the end and we have got a lot of depth in our batting.

“You have got to pay tribute to both James Hildreth and Matt Renshaw and the the way that Steve Davies started, but we just needed someone to go on and stick with them and build the innings.

“It was another great knock from Hildy and I hope that the England selectors have been watching him, not only in this format but also in the red ball as well. He is in great nick, is a great player of spin and has performed well in the county game for a number of years.

“Today’s result isn’t the end of the world. It’s one game of cricket and we are going to play against a lot of good teams in this competition. I’m sure there may be a few more obstacles in the way on this journey, but fair play to Sussex and how they approached the game today.”

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