Somerset progress after dramatic semi-final win


Somerset showed tremendous character and tenacity as they secured a stunning win over Hampshire Hawks in the first Vitality Blast semi-final at Edgbaston.

It looked an impossible task when they slipped to 79 for six, but Tom Abell (50) and Ben Green (35 from 18) brought their team back from the brink after Joe Weatherley (71 off 50 balls) had earlier put Hampshire in the driving seat.

Somerset skipper, Lewis Gregory won the toss and elected to bowl.

The returning Craig Overton opened the bowling and almost made an immediate breakthrough. Unfortunately, the England man failed to hold on to a sharp return catch from James Vince in the opening over with just two runs on the board.

Somerset didn’t have to wait long for the break through though. After an lbw appeal was turned down off his fourth ball, Josh Davey had Toby Albert caught behind for five just two balls later. The opener’s attempted scoop was snapped up by Tom Banton and Hampshire were six for one.

Redemption for Overton was also almost immediate. Vince attempted to cut a back of a length delivery, but could only get a fine edge which was again taken by Banton, and Hampshire were eight for two off eight balls.

Joe Weatherley began to counter attack and two maximums had taken the Hawks to 26, but Davey got one to nip back to Tom Prest and the batsman departed without troubling the scorers.

There was drama off the final ball of the sixth over when Weatherley attempted to slog sweep Davey. The batsman top edged high into the Edgbaston sky and Banton ran around to take the catch. As the Somerset players and fans celebrated extatically, Weatherley was frantically gesticulating to the the umpires. After a consultation between the umpires, a no ball was called due to a fielder being outside of the circle. Somerset were further punished when the resulting free hit was dispatched straight down the ground for a maximum.

By the end of the powerplay, Hampshire were 46 for three rather than 38 for four, but Gregory’s decision to give both of his opening bowlers a three-over blast appeared to have born fruit.

The fourth wicket nearly fell in the 10th over when Ben Green’s slower ball found a leading edge, but Dawson breathed a sigh of relief when a diving Gregory failed to hold on to a difficult chance. However, once again Somerset didn’t have to wait long for restitution as Green struck just three balls later.

The man from Devon changed his pace beautifully throughout the over and Liam Dawson (18) attempted to flick one through the leg side only to be beaten all ends up by a full delivery that angled in and clattered the woodwork. That left the Hawks on 65 for four at the half way stage.

Liam McManus was the next man to go. Lewis Goldsworthy upped his pace and the extra bounce caught the Hampshire batsman by surprise and he feathered it through to Banton at 80 for five in the 13th over.

Weatherley was looking in great touch for the Hawks and reached his 50 from 38 balls. It could have been very different though as his poke to short cover was accompanied by a tremendous amount of indecision, but he was able to scamper through just in time to reach his landmark.

A further miscommunication between Weatherley and James Fuller saw the latter trudging back to the pavilion for 22. A gentle nudge to midwicket saw Fuller set off at speed, but Weatherely wasn’t quite so keen and the run out was inevitable.

Chris Wood came to the crease with only one thing in mind and he contributed 18 of the 19 runs that came from the 18th over, bowled by Marchant de Lange. His impressive cameo was ended when he was bowled by Josh Davey, but not before he had helped himself to 18 runs from six balls. Davey then accounted for Scott Curry (0) and the Hawks were 135 for eight from 19 overs.

Weatherley (71) dispatched de Lange into the stands off the opening two balls of the final over, but the big South African got his revenge when the batsman tried one big hit too many and edged one high to Tom Abell at deep midwicket. Brad Wheal was then run out off the last ball as Hampshire posted 150 all out from their allotted overs.

The Somerset reply got off to the worst possible start.

The scoreboard showed 15 when Banton (6) picked out Prest at deep midwicket off Wheal, and when Roelof van der Merwe was caught by a diving Vince at mid-on, Somerset were 19 for two.

Will Smeed had made 15 when he skipped down the wicket, only to pick out Vince at mid-off, and when Lewis Goldsworthy was run out Somerset were 34 for four from 6.4 overs. That immediately became 34 for five when Tom Lammonby fell lbw first ball to Mason Crane.

Abell and Gregory brought up the Somerset 50 in the 11th over, but when the Somerset skipper was bowled by Dawson for 18 Somerset were 79 for six.

Typically, Abell dug in and reached his 50 from 35 balls, bringing up the Somerset 100 in the process. Unfortunately, he fell shortly thereafter when he skied Currie to Fuller at deep mid wicket and Somerset were 103 for seven in the 17th over.

Ben Green gave his side genuine hope with a superb 35 from just 18 balls until he was caught at long on leaving Somerset requiring 12 from seven balls.

Overton and Davey then saw their side over the line with two balls to spare as the Club’s Members and supporters celebrated their great escape.

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12/08/2022 11:00 - Uptonsteel County Ground