Rain halts Somerset's victory push
The typical British weather put paid to Somerset’s hopes of winning this LV= Insurance County Championship match against Hampshire on day four at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
Resisting the temptation to declare overnight, the home side sent Tom Banton and George Bartlett out this morning to increase Somerset’s overall lead.
Resuming on 323 for six, the pair added 86 to take Somerset’s lead to 458.
During that time Banton made 51 from just 55 deliveries, whilst Bartlett completed his well deserved hundred. His dismissal on exactly 100 signaled the declaration on 409 for seven, leaving the visitors with a victory target of 459.
The visitors eventually closed a final day curtailed by afternoon rain on 88 for two, with Tom Alsop unbeaten on 23 and Sam Northeast 19 not out.
Ian Holland and Cameron Steel began Hampshire’s second innings positively, but their hopes of batting through the remainder for the morning session were scuppered when Steel fell lbw for 14, playing across a delivery from Lewis Gregory.
Lunch was taken at that point with the scoreboard reading 30 for one. That became 39 for two when Holland, already dropped by Tom Abell at third slip off Davey, was bowled pushing forward to Gregory.
Northeast survived a tougher chance to Abell off the unlucky Davey, having made only four.
However, from then on Northeast and Alsop batted solidly, overcoming a pacey spell from the River End by Marchant de Lange, including several bouncers.
The pair had added 49 when what started as light rain shortly before 3.20pm quickly developed into a downpour.
Umpires Steve O’Shaugnessy and Peter Hartley ruled that play could restart at 5.05pm after an inspection.
By then the 41.4 overs originally remaining in the game had been reduced to 19.4 and the captains decided to shake hands on a draw without further play.
The home side took 15 points from the game to overtake Gloucestershire at the top of the group, while Hampshire claimed 14 and lie in third place.
Somerset now have a ten-point lead at the top of Group Two.
At the close of play Tom Abell said: “Although we haven’t won the game, there are a lot of positives that we can take from this result. It’s an important result in the context of the season.
“We wanted to bat them out of the game and ensure that there was only one team going to win it, and we did that.
“We now have a decent lead in the group, having begun with a points penalty, so there is a great feeling among the group of players. George Bartlett batted brilliantly and Tom Banton was good in both innings, which is encouraging looking forward to the start of the Vitality Blast.”
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