Victory for Somerset on Day Four

Somerset climbed into second spot in the Specsavers County Championship First Division with a 141 run win over Worcestershire on the final day at Blackfinch New Road, despite record-breaking resistance from Alex Milton and Steve Magoffin.

Jamie Overton and Josh Davey looked to have broken the back of the Worcestershire batting by taking four wickets in the space of 15 balls inside the first hour after they had resumed on 50 for two.

Wicket-keeper Milton, standing in for broken rib victim Ben Cox, kept Somerset waiting for the win until after tea with support from Steve Magoffin in a Worcestershire record stand of 136 for the last wicket.

Somerset ultimately sealed the win when Magoffin was dismissed by Craig Overton for 43 shortly after tea to leave Milton undefeated on 104.

Tom Abell’s side moved above Nottinghamshire to become the nearest challengers to title favourites Surrey.

There were many pluses for the visitors throughout the game, but the most heartening sight was the form of Jamie Overton. He has been gradually eased back to fitness via the Royal London One-Day Cup and Vitality Blast and here he bowled with pace, aggression and accuracy. He ended the game with figures of  31-6-143-8 and received superb support from the equally effective Davey with seven wickets.

On the batting front, new overseas player Azhar Ali made an instant impact with a century on his debut while Marcus Trescothick, James Hildreth, skipper Tom Abell and keeper Steven Davies also made sizeable contributions.

Worcestershire had been rocked by the dismissal of Moeen to the final delivery yesterday evening and quickly ran into trouble today. Davey was the first to strike as England Lions batsman Joe Clarke (5) played down the wrong line and was bowled. Then Jamie Overton struck with successive deliveries as Travis Head and Ed Barnard perished to expansive shots.

Head, in his final Championship innings for Worcestershire, had moved onto 46 but then threw his bat at a wide delivery and nicked through to keeper Davies. Barnard then aimed a drive at another tempting delivery from Jamie Overton and this time Trescothick pouched the chance at second slip.

Milton blocked the hat-trick ball but it was not the end of Worcestershire’s woes. In the next over skipper Brett D’Oliveira edged Davey into the safe hands of James Hildreth at first slip. Milton and Ross Whiteley then tried to salvage some pride and looked reasonably secure in defying the Somerset attack for 20 overs.

However, the returning Jamie Overton broke the partnership when Whiteley (39) was caught behind to leave Milton unbeaten on 31 at lunch.

Somerset moved closer to victory after the resumption with Jack Leach striking twice in the same over. Luke Wood (13) drilled the ball to Peter Trego at mid-off and Dillon Pennington (0) drove at the spinner and the ball bounced up off Trescothick kneeling at slip to keeper Davies.

Last man Magoffin accompanied Milton in providing more defiance until the former sliced Craig Overton to backward point.

For the scorecard please click here

After the match Somerset Captain, Tom Abell said: “Full credit to their partnership at the end. They played really well. They didn’t give us any chances, but our bowlers kept coming and we knew that second new ball was going to be crucial. Fair play to Alex Milton on debut. I thought that was an outstanding hundred to give his side a chance.

“Credit to our bowlers because it was tough out there at times and the way we went about it this morning, picking those four wickets up in the first half hour on what was a pretty good wicket, was a fantastic effort. It set the day up for us well.

“We always knew they were going to have partnerships throughout the day, but they came right at the end and made us sweat a little bit but it makes it even sweeter when you get across the line.

“I was pleased with how we stuck together as a team. That’s what we are priding ourselves on this year, fighting through those difficult periods. That’s the most pleasing thing.”

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