Tom and Will set up dramatic Somerset victory


Tom Banton reminded the cricketing world what he is capable of as Somerset won a dramatic Vitality Blast clash against Hampshire Hawks at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

The 22-year-old smashed his way to a superb 77 from just 37 balls and shared a fifth wicket partnership of 58 with Will Smeed as the hosts fought back to claim the win by seven runs.

Smeed also showed his potential once again as he made an unbeaten 63 as the home side posted 172 for nine after losing the toss. Scott Currie was the pick of the bowlers, claiming four for 31.

Hampshire replied with 165 for eight, Colin de Grandhomme’s bludgeoning 66 backed by 37 from D’Arcy Short. However, Marchant de Lange bowled his four overs for just 13 runs.

After James Hildreth had fallen early, Devon Conway marked his Somerset debut with a cover-driven four, only to fall in the same over, the third of the match, bowled by de Grandhomme.

It was 47 for two at the end of the six-over power play, Banton having got into his stride with two sixes and a four off de Grandhomme in the fifth over.

Two more maximums followed off the same Currie over as Banton showed the quality which has already earned him England recognition in white-ball cricket.

When Lewis Goldsworthy was caught at cover off Currie and Mason Crane bowled Tom Lammonby, Somerset were 63 for four.

Banton went to his fifty off 22 balls, finding a reliable partner in Smeed as the pair added 58 in seven overs.

A switch-hit six and two fours with the same shot further stamped Banton’s innings of the highest class. He was eventually caught at long-off in the 15th over, sent down by Currie.

By then teenager Smeed was going well, striking two sixes and four fours on his way to 39-ball half-century.

Despite the early loss of James Vince and Tom Prest, Hampshire raced to 58 for two at the end of six overs as Short and de Grandhomme cut loose in impressive fashion.

Short cleared the ropes twice in the same over before de Grandhomme launched a massive six over mid-wicket in cracking 18 off four balls. The pair had added 78 in 6.2 overs when Short holed out to long-on off Goldsworthy’s left-arm spin. He had faced 27 balls, hitting two sixes and three fours.

A late cut for four off Waller took de Grandhomme to an impressive fifty off 27 balls. The experienced New Zealander then took three boundaries in the 15th over before falling to a catch at deep cover by Craig Overton off the bowling of Lewis Gregory. By then his side needed only 35 for victory.

It proved too many as de Lange bowled his heart out and Waller pinned Lewis McManus for a duck. The tide had turned and Somerset went on to claim a dramatic win.

After the victory, Tom Banton said: “That was quite emotional. We didn’t get as many as we would have liked and things haven’t been they way that I’ve wanted them to be in the last few games, so this was pretty special and it means a lot.

“All the bowlers bowled superbly and I couldn’t be happier for everyone. It’s been a hard 18 moths for everyone, so to see everyone back here cheering means so much to all of us. We can’t thank the Members and supporters enough and it means the world to me to have won this game.

“I used to open the batting with Smeedy when we were at school, so it was great to bring back a few memories.”

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