George and Lewis get Somerset back on track
A fifth wicket partnership of 80 between George Bartlett and Lewis Goldsworthy got Somerset back on track on day two of this LV= Insurance County Championship match against Middlesex at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
It was also a day that saw James Hildreth became the fourth highest First Class run maker in Somerset’s history.
The 36-year-old batsman went past Bill Alley’s tally of 16,644 while contributing 39 to his side’s first innings total of 178 for four and now lies behind only Harold Gimblett, Marcus Trescothick and Peter Wight.
Earlier, Middlesex had moved from an overnight 308 for six to 357 all out, Robbie White falling for 92 and Josh Davey claiming three of the wickets in the space of an over.
There were two victims each for Steve Finn and Tim Murtagh when Somerset replied before the hosts fifth-wicket pair left honours pretty even.
The day began with White, unbeaten on 70, and Luke Hollman adding 24 before Craig Overton uprooted Hollman’s off stump with his score on 16.
White had moved to 81 and the total to 338 for seven off 108 overs when rain interrupted play at 11.50am. The action resumed at 1.20pm with two incident-packed overs.
White took two fours and a three off the first of them, bowled by Tom Abell, to put his side within a single of a fourth batting point.
However, his hopes of a maiden First Class century were dashed when he edged Davey’s first ball of the following over to Hildreth at first slip.
The crestfallen White dragged himself off, having faced 224 deliveries and hit 13 fours. Two balls later Steve Finn fell lbw, having survived an equally confident appeal first up, and Somerset had their third bowling point.
With one run still needed for a fourth batting point, Tim Murtagh swung two boundaries to third-man, before being caught there to give Davey a third wicket.
Somerset’s reply had reached eight without loss when a lighter shower brought a 15-minute interruption. when play resumed, both openers fell quickly as Tom Lammonby edged a catch behind off Finn and Tom Banton was pinned lbw by Murtagh.
Hildreth looked in good touch as he and Abell took the score to 86 for two at tea, the latter surviving two slip chances in the same Tom Helm over, Max Holden and White the guilty fielders.
Hildreth had overtaken Darren Stevens as the leading run-maker among players still operating in the domestic game when fencing at the first delivery after tea from Murtagh and being caught behind.
Abell then chipped a full ball from Finn to mid-wicket and departed for 41. With the floodlights on, George Bartlett, on 13, was dropped by Sam Robson at second slip off Martin Andersson.
Drizzle and light issues brought a further break at 120 for four. A 6pm resumption of 15 overs saw Bartlett progress serenely to 43 and 20-year-old Cornishman Goldsworthy move stylishly to 34, an innings rich with promise.
At the close of play, James Hildreth said: “I’m not sure I have enough years in me to overtake Harold Gimblett and Marcus Trescothick, but I’m only a few hundred runs behind Peter Wight, so I can target third place behind two absolute Club legends.
“To be forever linked with those two would do for me. I guess it shows I’ve been in the game a long time, making as many runs as possible for the club I love.
“We have a battle on in this game, but George Bartlett and Lewis Goldsworthy batted brilliantly against top bowlers and will want to continue their partnership tomorrow. If they do, we have the batsmen to come who are capable of matching or getting past the Middlesex score.”
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