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Somerset fall just short on dramatic final day

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Somerset came close to pulling off a sensational victory on a dramatic day at the Cooper Associates County Ground, but it was Surrey who came out on top by three wickets in this LV= Insurance County Championship match.

The home side put up a valiant fight on the final day and were left thinking about what might have been.

On a beautiful morning Lewis Gregory made an unbeaten 110 and Peter Siddle added 42 to extend Somerset’s second innings total from 319 for eight overnight to 394 all out.

That set Surrey 193 to win in excellent batting conditions. They slipped to 70 for three before Will Jacks followed his first innings 88 with 62 in a total of 195 for seven. Kasey Aldridge impressed for the hosts, claiming a career-best four for 61.

Surrey take 22 points from the game and Somerset only one, despite their impressive second innings performances.

Under glorious sunshine Somerset’s ninth-wicket pair of Gregory and Siddle battled away for more than an hour and a half at the start of the day, neither looking in any trouble. Unbeaten on 71 at the outset, Gregory carried on where he had left off the previous evening, batting with confidence.

A back-foot  shot off leg-spinner Cameron Steel through the covers for his eighth four brought up his hundred off 166 balls. Siddle looked equally assured as the partnership grew to 91 before the Australian was given out lbw to a full delivery from Dan Worrall.

Last man Marchant de Lange then edged his second ball through to wicketkeeper Jamie Smith to give Worrall his third wicket.

There was time for three overs of the Surrey second innings before lunch, during which Ryan Patel struck two fours off Siddle to help take the score to 21 by the interval.

Patel and first innings centurion Rory Burns continued to be positive at the start of the afternoon session, the latter pulling Gregory over mid-wicket for six.

Everything was looking straightforward for the visitors until a major wobble on 65, begun by Burns, on 25, pulling a catch to fine-leg off Kasey Aldridge.

Without a run added, Patel was brilliantly caught at slip, one-handed to his left by Gregory off the left-arm spin of Roelof van der Merwe.

Jamie Smith could make only four before having his off stump uprooted by Aldridge and, at 70 for three, Surrey were suddenly on the back foot.

Tall seamer Aldridge went past the outside edge several times, but Ben Geddes and Jacks were unmoved, gradually averting any thought of a crisis.

They built steadily until Jacks eased the tension with three fours in an over off van der Merwe, and by tea the pair had added 58 and a further 65 runs were required.

In the final session, Jacks was given a life on 38 when Tom Abell spilled a chance at second slip off the impressive Aldridge, who struck later in the same over as Geddes, on 25, pulled a short ball straight to square leg.

That brought in Hashim Amla, unable to bat higher after a spell absent from the game through illness, with the total 137 for four and 56 needed.

He fell for nine, lbw to Siddle, and when Abell atoned for his earlier miss with a fine diving slip catch to send back Cameron Steel, Surrey still required 32.

Jacks had hit 12 fours when having his middle stump ejected by Siddle, but Jordan Clark and Jamie Overton then saw Surrey to their target, leaving Somerset with precious little to show for a hugely spirited effort.

At the end of the match, Lewis Gregory said: “The lads have showed a lot of fight over the last few days, but unfortunately we didn’t quite have enough on the board. We weren’t quite at the races in the first innings and in the end that’s cost us.

“It’s nice to get some runs, especially when we needed them. Sidds was fantastic out there this morning and it was great to have a good partnership with him. I enjoyed myself out there because I’ve been short of runs and that’s been frustrating.

“It was a nice surface and they’ve got a good bowling attack so we had to graft for every run. We fought hard and if we’d have had 60 more, you just don’t know. You always have to believe because this is professional sport. You go out there every time to win the game.

“We’ve got the squad to win games of cricket, we just need to put a score on the board in the first innings to get us into the game. The first division isn’t easy and we know that we’ve got to improve.

“It’s always disappointing when you lose and we are all hurting right now, but I think the fight that we’ve shown in the last three days has been really exciting. The guys never gave up and kept fighting.”

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Next MatchSomerset V Derbyshire Falcons

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