Somerset come out on top in local derby
Jack Brooks held his nerve to help ensure that Somerset claimed the local bragging rights in this Vitality Blast derby clash against Gloucestershire at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
Rapid half-centuries from Rilee Rossouw and Lewis Gregory plus a stunning penultimate over from Peter Siddle paved the way, and the veteran seamer ensured that the visitors didn’t get the 24 needed off the final over as Somerset came out on top by seven runs.
On a gloriously sunny evening, the hosts recovered from a slow start to run up 184 for six, Rossouw smacking 54 off 45 balls, with three sixes and five fours, while Gregory hammered 60 from 36 deliveries, clearing the ropes five times.
Mohammad Amir (two for 25) and Benny Howell (two for 31) were the pick of bowlers for Gloucestershire, who made a promising start in reply, but were eventually restricted to 177 for eight.
Ryan Higgins hit 43 and Benny Howell 42, but the visitors lost their way in mid-innings, and Siddle claimed three wickets in the penultimate over as Somerset turned an exciting game in their favour.
Somerset got off to the worst possible start after being put in and slipped to 0 for one as Mohammad Amir opened up with a wicket maiden. Will Smeed was the man to fall.
By the end of the third over Somerset were four for one.
Tom Banton and Rossouw upped the pace, only for Banton to fall for 23 in the sixth over, which ended with Somerset on 43 for two.
Tom Abell chipped one back to Howell, who bowled with a clever variation of pace, line and length.
Tom Lammonby fell to miscued shot off Zak Chappell and at the halfway point of their innings his side had posted only 69 for four.
Rossouw cut loose with two sixes and a four off Ryan Higgins in going to a 33-ball fifty, but when he fell to Howell in the 13th over, Somerset needed a hero.
They found one in Gregory, fresh from a confidence-boosting LV= Insurance County Championship century against Surrey. The all-rounder cleared the ropes off Tom Smith, Chappell, Howell and Matt Taylor, whose 19th over cost 23, to boost what was looking a below-par score.
The highlight of Gloucestershire’s fielding was stunning one-handed boundary catch by Miles Hammond to dismiss Ben Green.
Hammond soon signalled his side’s intentions with the bat, hoisting the first ball of their reply from Siddle over mid-wicket for six.
Hammond went for 19 when he miscued a catch to wicketkeeper Banton off Jack Brooks, but by then Gloucestershire had raced to 33 off 3.1 overs.
At the end of the six-over powerplay, the visitors had 51 for one on the board and looked well-placed.
However, Somerset then applied an impressive mid-innings squeeze as spinners Roelof van der Merwe and Lewis Goldsworthy shared six overs for just 42 runs.
James Bracey (30), Glenn Phillips, Ian Cockbain and Jack Taylor all fell between the eighth and 13th over, the last of them to a stunning one-handed boundary catch by Rossouw at long-on.
Higgins and Howell briefly raised Gloucestershire hopes, the latter hitting sixes off successive balls from Green, before Siddle’s experience saw him effectively close out the match in the 19th over, before Brooks applied the finishing touch.
At the close of play, Lewis Gregory said: “It’s always nice to win when we’ve got a pumping full house like we had tonight. The atmosphere at the end was amazing and that’s why we play the game. “To have got some runs this week and to have contributed to a win tonight is pretty special.
“We know that this is a high-scoring ground, but it wasn’t quite the surface that we’ve played on so far this year. We thought 184 was a decent score and we knew that if we put a squeeze on we could come out on top. They got a couple of partnerships going but Sidds’ last over was fantastic.
“The standard of fielding was silly again tonight and Rilee’s catch was incredible. I was watching at long off and I thought the ball was sailing into the stand. For him to make that one stick was amazing. Everyone stuck at it really well today and it was a great evening.”
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