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Hildreth hundred leads Somerset to victory

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James Hildreth and Steve Davies once again showed their class as their partnership built the foundations for Somerset’s victory over Derbyshire in the Royal London Cup at the Cooper Associates County Ground today.

Somerset began the defence of the trophy with a six wicket win after the pair rolled back the years and shared 120 for the third wicket.

Hildreth was particularly impressive as he amassed 110 runs in a vintage innings.

After being put in by Somerset Captain, Ben Green, the visitors were all out for 298. Fynn Hudson-Prentice, who made 93, and Brooke Guest (74) hit career-best List A scores, while 18-year-old seamer Sonny Baker claimed three for 46 on his competitive Somerset debut.

In reply, Somerset made 299 for four, winning with two overs to spare. Davies led the way with an imperious 72-ball innings of 94, before Hildreth took centre stage.

A crowd of well over 3,000 saw Derbyshire reduced to 36 for three at the start. Baker, a product of Devon age-group cricket, had Harry Came and Tom Wood caught behind in a five-over spell of two for 14, while Jack Brooks accounted for Billy Goldleman, caught at fine leg.

Guest and Hudson-Prentice exercised understandable caution and at the halfway stage of the innings had taken the score to 117 for three.

Hudson-Prentice took advantage of anything short to reach his half-century off 60 balls, while Guest cleverly picked gaps in the field to move to fifty from 67 deliveries.

The stand of 142 was a Derbyshire List A record for the fourth wicket against Somerset. It ended when Hudson-Prentice was caught and bowled by Green, having hit 10 fours and two sixes.

After Anuj Dal had been run out by Brooks, Guest was caught at cover off seamer Kasey Aldridge, making his List A debut, to make it 224 for six.

Alex Thomson contributed 24 and last man Ravi Rampaul boosted Derbyshire’s score with three sixes before the last wicket fell in the final over.

Despite the early loss of Plymouth-born debutant Sam Young, caught behind down the leg side looking to glance off-spinner Thomson, Somerset were soon in charge on a true pitch.

Davies took three fours off an over from Rampaul and looked in great touch. However, George Bartlett pulled a short ball from Hudson-Prentice to Dal at deep square.

Hildreth began well and when Davies moved to an effortless fifty off 46 balls, with five fours and a six, home supporters were in high spirits.

The pair continued to flourish, bringing up a hundred partnership from 98 balls before Hildreth went to a typically attractive half-century off 62 deliveries.

Davies fell to a catch in the deep, having struck 12 fours and a six, but Hildreth brought up the 200 with a pulled six off Ben Aitcheson in the 35th over. He found an equally positive partner in Lewis Goldsworthy, who celebrated his List A debut with a mature 57 not out, off 66 balls.

Hildreth required treatment for cramp and batted with a runner in the later stages of his innings, but it didn’t stop him reaching three figures with a six over cover off Rampaul before falling with just 23 needed.

After the impressive victory, Green said: “We couldn’t have really started this competition any better. The experienced players really showed their class today and it was great to see Lewis get us over the line.

“We were staring down the barrel of 320-plus at one point, but we took a few wickets and managed to drag it back. Sonny Baker played very well and he’s an amazing talent. He showed everyone what he can do today.

“We pride ourselves on being a real family and it’s been really easy for the youngsters to settle in and feel welcomed. They are a big part of this team and that served us well today.

“The boys performed outstandingly today and hopefully the wins will keep coming.”

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01/07/2022 18:15 - Lord's