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Somerset start season with stunning win

A last-wicket stand of 62 between George Bartlett and Jack Brooks turned the game and set Somerset up for a 74-run Specsavers County Championship win over Kent at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

Having resumed their second innings on 171 for seven at the start of the final day, the hosts slipped to 181 for nine, just 143 ahead.

However, Bartlett (63) and Brooks, who marked his Championship debut for Somerset with a breezy 35 not out, took the total to 243 all out, leaving Kent a tricky target of 206.

It never looked possible as Lewis Gregory claimed three for eight before lunch as the visitors slumped to 41 for five. They were eventually bowled out for 131, Gregory ending with five for 18.

When Craig Overton and Josh Davey fell early in the morning session, newly-promoted Kent looked to be closing in on a morale-boosting victory over last season’s Championship runners-up. However, Brooks went on the counter-attack, hitting five fours and a six in his 31-ball innings, while Bartlett moved to the only half-century of the match, compiled with excellent temperament off 94 balls.

By the time Bartlett was last man out, all the momentum was with Somerset and the bowlers wasted no time in capitalising.

Sean Dickson fell to the first ball of Kent’s second innings, edging to third slip off Gregory, who followed up by sending back Daniel Bell-Drummond and Zak Crawley in a superb seven-over spell from the River End.

Brookes weighed in with the key wicket of Matt Renshaw, caught by Gregory at third slip with only a single on the board, while Craig Overton had Heino Kuhn lbw for a duck.

It was 43 for five at lunch and the inspired Gregory struck again in the second over after the interval, Overton taking his second catch at third slip to send back Ollie Robinson.

Alex Blake and Darren Stevens added 37 for the seventh wicket before Overton, bowling around the wicket, had Blake caught behind for 20 with 124 still needed.

Harry Podmore fell lbw, aiming to play Brooks through the leg side, to make it 93 for eight. Matt Milnes fell for ten to a catch at first slip by James Hildreth, giving Gregory a deserved fifth wicket.

Stevens eventually ran out of partners as Claydon gave a low catch to Hildreth off Davey.

Somerset take 19 points from the game while Kent gained just four.

At the close of play Lewis Gregory said: “Momentum is a massive thing in cricket and the partnership between George and Jack at the end of our second innings probably helped us get off to such a good start when Kent batted.

“Taking a wicket with my first ball was a bit strange. It built on what George and Jack had done and we fancied our chances because the wicket was doing a bit all through the game.

“It’s great to start the season with a win and particularly having had to fight so hard for it. We know there will be more tough sessions over the course of a long season, but we have the character in the team to bounce back from them.”

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Next MatchSussex V Somerset

24/04/2019 11:00 - Hove

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