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Somerset County Cricket Club is one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the Englishmarker domestic cricket structure, representing the historic county of Somersetmarker. Its limited overs team is called the Somerset Sabres. The club has its headquarters at the County Cricket Groundmarker, Tauntonmarker. First-class games are also played at the Recreation Groundmarker, Bathmarker. Former grounds include Yeovilmarker, Weston-super-Maremarker, Fromemarker, Glastonburymarker, Wellsmarker and the Imperial Tobacco Ground in south Bristolmarker.

Honours

First XI honours

  • County Championship (0) - ; shared (0) -
  • Gillette/NatWest/C&G/Friends Provident Trophy (3) - 1979, 1983, 2001
  • Sunday/Pro 40 League (1) - 1979
  • Twenty20 Cup (1) - 2005
  • Benson & Hedges Cup (2) - 1981, 1982


Second XI honours

  • Second XI Championship (2) - 1994, 2004; shared (0) -
  • Second XI Trophy (0) -
  • Minor Counties Championship (2) - 1961, 1965; shared (0) -


Earliest cricket

Cricket probably reached Somerset by the end of the 17th century. It is known that the related sport of "Stow-Ball" aka "Stob-Ball" was played in the county during the 16th century. In this game, the bat was called a "stave". See Alice B. Gomme : The Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland.

The earliest confirmed reference to cricket in Somerset is a match on 13 July 1751 that was played in memory of the late Frederick, Prince of Wales who was a noted patron of the sport. The first officially organised club to be recognised in Somerset were Lansdown Cricket Club, formed in 1825, although a Bath cricket club seems to have preceded it with a similar collection of enthusiasts from around 1817–1824. With a limited number of other organised clubs to play, fixtures were few and far apart in the founding years, with matches being played against Clifton, Sidmouth and Teignmouth. Lansdown placed Somerset in the cricketing world, and played a number of matches against 'England XI' in various forms.

In 1865, the first attempt at a county side was made with the formation of Yeovil and County Cricket Club. They performed poorly in their opening matches against local club sides, and on one occasion, even lost three players to their opposition the day before the match was scheduled to begin. In spite of these problems, they did play a 'county' fixture, against the Gentlemen of Devon; the match was abandoned due to rain. The first recorded occasion of a Gentlemen of Somerset side playing comes five years previously however, when a Somerset side travelled down to Culm Vale to take on the Gentlemen of Devon, this match also resulting in a draw.

Origin of club

The formation of Somerset CCC was on 18 August 1875 by a team of amateurs called the Gentlemen of Somerset at a meeting in Sidmouthmarker, Devonmarker immediately after a match against a local side. Somerset is the only one of the present first-class counties in English cricket whose county cricket club was founded outside the boundaries of the traditional county.

There are alternative versions of when Somerset's first first-class match took place, and matches in 1879 and 1881 are central to the statistics of W. G. Grace – see the article on Variations in first-class cricket statistics. If those games are discounted, then Somerset CCC played its initial (undisputed) first-class match against Lancashire CCC at Old Traffordmarker on 8, 9 and 10 June 1882 and joined the (then unofficial) County Championship. This first-class status lasted for only four seasons: after the 1885 season, Somerset failed to arrange sufficient fixtures with the other first-class teams to be accorded first-class status.

That remained the case until 1891. But in 1890, following a successful recruitment policy at universities by the club's first full-time secretary, H. E. Murray Anderdon, Somerset played 13 non-first-class games, some of them against counties that were first-class, and won 12 of them, tying the 13th with Middlesex CCC. For the 1891 season, Somerset was then able to arrange 12 matches against first-class counties and so force its way back into the Championship, which was now an official competition.

Club History

Pre-First World War

Somerset CCC 1892


In Somerset's second season, 1892, they finished third, but it was to be 66 years before they finished as high again. Bottom of the table 12 times (plus one shared wooden spoon), they enjoyed over many decades a reputation for cheerful inconsistency. Until the Second World War, the team regularly comprised a number of more or less talented amateurs and just a handful of professionals.

Famous names from the pre-First World War period included the England players Sammy Woods, Lionel Palairet and Len Braund; the fast bowler Tom Richardson also played for the county once after his retirement from Surrey. In 1908, Woods persuaded the England rugby union international John Daniell to become captain with the team at a low ebb, and Daniell stayed, mostly playing as captain and often acting as secretary too, for almost 20 years.

Between the wars

In the first season of the County Championship after the First World War, 1919, Somerset finished fifth in the table, the highest since 1892. But that was the highest position in the inter-war years, and mostly the side finished at or below halfway down the table, though there were no more bottom places in this period.

The team continued to be a mix of a few highly talented amateurs, a few good professionals, with the side often made up with amateur players who appeared in only a few games. Among the amateurs, the west Somerset farmer Jack White, who succeeded Daniell as captain in 1927, played for England as an off-spinning all-rounder and also captained the Test side in Australia in 1928-29. The briefest Test match career of them all was "enjoyed" by another amateur, Jack MacBryan, whose only game for England was the rain-ruined match against the South Africans in 1924, in which he neither batted nor bowled. Of the professionals, fleeting international careers were enjoyed by the hard-hitting batsman Harold Gimblett, whose entry into first-class cricket was the stuff of legends, and by Arthur Wellard, fast bowler and a mighty smiter of sixes.

Post-Second World War

In postwar cricket, the happy-go-lucky Somerset attitude was no longer sustainable, and the side finished bottom of the Championship for four consecutive seasons from 1952. With the strong possibility of going out of business, drastic change was inevitable. Somerset recruited heavily from other countries, taking Colin McCool and Bill Alley from Australia, and from other counties. In 1958, under the captaincy of the first professional cricketer to captain the team, Maurice Tremlett, the side again finished third, and this was repeated in 1963 and 1966 under different captains, Harold Stephenson and Colin Atkinson, who would later become headmaster at Millfield Schoolmarker.

There was a further dip in fortunes towards the end of the 1960s, but, though County Championship success continued to elude the county, Somerset finally found in the 1970s the makings of a successful one-day team under the combative, inspirational captaincy of Yorkshireman Brian Close. A trio of world class players, Viv Richards, Joel 'Big Bird' Garner and the England all-rounder Ian Botham made the team for the first time in its long history a formidable trophy winning proposition.

The real success came after Close had retired. Under the captaincy of left-handed opener Brian Rose, Somerset won their first ever silverware by taking the Gillette Cup and the Sunday League in 1979. In the same 1979 season, Somerset's newfound ruthless streak provoked controversy in the Benson & Hedges Cup limited-overs competition when Rose declared the Somerset innings closed in the match against Worcestershire, in an attempt to safeguard passage through to the quarter-final on run rate: the county was subsequently disqualified from the competition at a special meeting of the Test and County Cricket Board. Rose also captained the side to the Benson & Hedges Cup in 1981 and 1982, and the renamed NatWest Trophy (formerly the Gillette Cup) in 1983.

Controversy returned to Somerset in the mid-1980s. With the successful side ageing, new captain Peter Roebuck led the move to make changes and the overseas stars Viv Richards and Joel Garner were sacked, replaced by the New Zealander Martin Crowe. Ian Botham resigned from Somerset in protest and moved to Worcestershire.

Recent years

Success has been elusive in recent years, although New Zealand born Andy Caddick and opener Marcus Trescothick have proved major pillars of the England Test team and overseas stars such as Jamie Cox have given sterling service for the club, resulting in their appearance in the NatWest Trophy in 1999 and the C & G Trophy final in 2001 and 2002, winning in 2001 over Leicestershiremarker. In 2001, the team finished second in the first division of the County Championship, its highest-ever placing. But true to its contrary traditions, the county was relegated to the second division at the end of the following season.

Under the guidance of Director of Cricket Brian Rose, the team has adopted a youth policy, which Rose accepts will lead to a succession of good and bad results in the short term. To balance the youth policy, for two seasons the club was led by high profile overseas stars Ricky Ponting and Graeme Smith to enable coaching of the young group of players. In July 2005, as perhaps a portent of better times to come, the county was the surprise winner of the third Twenty20 Cup, beating Lancashiremarker in the final at The Ovalmarker.

The 2006 season was up and down in results, but in June 2006 Rose announced the signing for six weeks of the Australian cricket team opening batsman Justin Langer, while countryman Dan Cullen was on duty with Australia A. Langer responded by hitting the highest score in the county's first-class history, but without him the team struggled in both short and long versions of the game, failed to repeat their Twenty20 success and languished at or near the bottom of both County Championship and Pro40 second division tables.

In 2007 Langer, having returned to the team, was named captain. Cameron White was the other overseas player. Somerset's season began brightly, including a county-record 850/7 declared against Middlesex in their first Championship match, but a few weeks later Somerset were on the wrong end of a huge total when they conceded 801/8 declared to Derbyshire. However, they recovered well from this set-back and achieved promotion, returning to Division One of the Championship for the first time since 2002, after beating Essex at Chelmsford with five sessions to spare. They were also promoted to Division One of the Pro40 league.

While 2008 was an improved season, 2009 brought marginally less success. Langer announced his retirement from all forms of cricket at the end of the 2009 season, making the 2009 Champions League Twenty20 in Indiamarker his last competitive competition for the club.

Squad

Players with international caps are listed in bold.
No. Name Nat Birth date Batting Style Bowling Style Notes
Batsmen
2 Marcus Trescothick Left-handed Right arm medium pace Club captain
25 James Hildreth Right-handed Right arm medium-fast
?? Robin Lett Right-handed Right arm medium-fast
?? Richard Timms Right-handed Right arm fast-medium
?? Nick Compton Right-handed Right arm off break
All-rounders
7 Peter Trego Right-handed Right arm medium pace
8 Alfonso Thomas Right-handed Right arm fast-medium Kolpak registration
13 Ben Phillips Right-handed Right arm fast-medium
23 Arul Suppiah Right-handed Slow left-arm orthodox
58 Zander de Bruyn Right-handed Right arm fast-medium Kolpak registration
Wicket-keepers
9 Craig Kieswetter Right-handed
15 Jos Buttler Right-handed
Bowlers
1 Charl Willoughby Left-handed Left arm fast-medium Kolpak registration
18 David Stiff Right-handed Right arm fast
24 Max Waller Right-handed Right arm leg break
26 Mark Turner Right-handed Right arm medium-fast
29 Michael Munday Right-handed Right arm leg break
?? Murali Kartik Left-handed Slow left-arm orthodox Overseas player


Noted players

  • Bill Andrews — fast-medium bowling partner of Arthur Wellard, later coach and committeeman
  • Bill Alley — Australian all-rounder who joined Somerset when 38 and stayed for a dozen years
  • Colin Atkinson — mid-Sixties captain, and later headmaster at Millfieldmarker school
  • Ian Botham — all-rounder who played in over 100 Tests for England from 1977 to 1992
  • Len Braund — all-rounder of Edwardian times who played 23 Tests for England
  • Andy Caddick — former England centrally contracted frontline bowler
  • Brian Close — former Yorkshire and England captain who joined Somerset after leaving Yorkshire
  • Jamie Cox — has been described as one of the best players never to have played Test cricket for Australia
  • Martin Crowe — New Zealand Test batsman who was Somerset's overseas player after the sacking of Viv Richards and Joel Garner.
  • Joel 'Big Bird' Garner — West Indian international fast bowler
  • Sunil Gavaskar — Indian Test player generally considered one of the greatest-ever opening batsmen
  • Harold Gimblett — cavalier-style opening batsman whose debut brought him immediate fame
  • Sanath Jayasuriya — Sri Lankan Test opener who played for part of the 2005 season, known locally as "The Batman"
  • Colin McCool — Australian whose robust batting bolstered the county in hard times during the 1950s, also a legspin bowler. His son Russel made one appearance in the 1980s
  • Lionel Palairet — England opening batsman known for his stylish batting
  • Ricky Ponting — Australian captain, considered a modern great
  • Viv Richards — great West Indies Test batsman, later knighted
  • Tom Richardson — played once for the county after his retirement from Surrey.
  • Peter Roebuck — former captain, captain England A and respected cricket writer and broadcaster.
  • Brian Rose — captain of the successful 1980s side, now Director of Cricket
  • Graeme Smith — South African captain and Somerset captain for most of the 2005 season, his last game was the Twenty20 cup final at The Ovalmarker
  • Marcus Trescothick — former England opening batsman, awarded an MBE after the 2005 Ashes victory
  • Arthur Wellard — England fast bowler and a renowned big hitter as a lower-order batsman
  • Jack White — a farmer who played for England as an off-spinning all-rounder with some success
  • Peter Wight — prolific and stylish batsman, later a first-class umpire
  • Sammy Woods — an Australian who played for both Australia and England and still holds some of the county's batting records. He was also an English Rugby Union International.


Records

First-class

Team

  • Highest Total For: 850/7d v Middlesex at Tauntonmarker, 2007
  • Highest Total Against: 811 by Surrey at The Ovalmarker, 1899
  • Lowest Total For: 25 v Gloucestershire at Bristolmarker, 1947
  • Lowest Total Against: 22 by Gloucestershire at Bristolmarker, 1920


Batting



Most first-class runs for Somerset

Qualification - 15000 runs
Player Runs
Harold Gimblett 21142
Peter Wight 16965
Bill Alley 16644
Peter Roebuck 16218
Roy Virgin 15458
Frank Lee 15243
Mervyn Kitchen 15213
Maurice Tremlett 15195


Highest Partnership for each wicket

Wkt Runs Partnership Opponent Ground Season
1st 346 Herbie Hewett & Lionel Palairet Yorkshire County Ground, Tauntonmarker 1892
2nd 290 Jack MacBryan & Dar Lyon Derbyshire Town Ground, Burton-on-Trentmarker 1924
3rd 319 Peter Roebuck & Martin Crowe Leicestershire County Ground, Tauntonmarker 1984
4th 310 Peter Denning & Ian Botham Gloucestershire County Ground, Tauntonmarker 1980
5th 320 John Francis & Ian Blackwell Durham UCCE County Ground, Tauntonmarker 2005
6th 265 Bill Alley & Ken Palmer Northamptonshire County Ground, Northamptonmarker 1961
7th 279 Richard Harden & Graham Rose Sussex County Ground, Tauntonmarker 1997
8th= 172 Viv Richards & Ian Botham Leicestershire Grace Roadmarker 1983
8th= 172 Adrian Pierson & Steffan Jones New Zealanders County Ground, Tauntonmarker 1999
9th= 183 Chris Greetham & Harold Stephenson Leicestershire Clarence Park, Weston-super-Maremarker 1963
9th= 183 Chris Tavaré & Neil Mallender Sussex County Ground, Hovemarker 1990
10th 163 Ian Blackwell & Nixon McLean Derbyshire County Ground, Tauntonmarker 2003


Bowling

  • Best Bowling: 10/49 Ted Tyler v Surrey at Taunton, 1895
  • Best Match Bowling: 16/83 Jack White v Worcestershire at Bath, 1919
  • Wickets in Season: 169, Arthur Wellard, 1938


Most first-class wickets for Somerset

Qualification - 1000 wickets
Player Wickets
Jack White 2165
Arthur Wellard 1517
Brian Langford 1390
Ernie Robson 1122


List A

Team

  • Highest Total For: 413/4 v Devon at Recreation Ground, Torquay, 1990
  • Highest Total Against: 357/3 by Warwickshire at Edgbastonmarker, 1995
  • Lowest Total For: 58 v Essex at Chelmsfordmarker, 1977 & 58 v Middlesex at John Walker's Ground, Southgate, 2000
  • Lowest Total Against: 60 by Kent at Tauntonmarker, 1979


Batting



Most List A runs for Somerset

Qualification - 5000 runs
Player Runs
Viv Richards 7349
Peter Roebuck 6871
Peter Denning 6792
Richard Harden 6275
Marcus Trescothick 5915
Brian Rose 5708
Keith Parsons 5225
Ian Botham 5049


Highest Partnership for each wicket
Wkt Runs Partnership Opponent Ground Season
1st 241 Sunil Gavaskar & Brian Rose Kent St Lawrence Groundmarker, Canterburymarker 1980
2nd 302 Marcus Trescothick & Craig Kieswetter Gloucestershire County Ground, Tauntonmarker 2008
3rd 269* Peter Roebuck & Martin Crowe Hampshire County Ground, Southamptonmarker 1987
4th 189 Chris Tavare & Graham Rose Devon Recreation Ground, Torquay 1990
5th 179 Viv Richards & Ian Botham Hampshire County Ground, Tauntonmarker 1981
6th 123 Jamie Cox & Aaron Laraman Derbyshire County Ground, Derbymarker 2004
7th 151* Ian Blackwell & Robert Turner Sussex County Ground, Tauntonmarker 2005
8th 95* Dennis Breakwell & Keith Jennings Nottinghamshire Trent Bridgemarker, Nottinghammarker 1976
9th 75 Brian Langford & David Doughty Glamorgan Cardiff Arms Parkmarker 1963
10th 50 Derek Taylor & Hallam Moseley Essex County Ground, Chelmsfordmarker 1981


Bowling



Most List A wickets for Somerset

Qualification - 300 wickets
Player Wickets
Hallam Moseley 309
Ian Botham 300


Twenty20

Team

  • Highest Total For: 250/3 v Gloucestershire at Taunton, 2006
  • Highest Total Against: 227/4 by Gloucestershire at Taunton, 2006
  • Lowest Total For: 104 v Gloucestershire at Taunton, 2007
  • Lowest Total Against: 123 by Glamorgan at Taunton, 2005


Batting



Most Twenty20 runs for Somerset
Qualification - 500 runs
Player Runs
Justin Langer 982
Marcus Trescothick 872
Matthew Wood 859
James Hildreth 776
Peter Trego 661
Cameron White 593


Highest Partnership for each wicket
Wkt Runs Partnership Opponent Ground Season
1st 132* Marcus Trescothick & Craig Kieswetter Glamorgan County Ground, Tauntonmarker 2009
2nd 186 Justin Langer & Cameron White Gloucestershire County Ground, Tauntonmarker 2006
3rd 120 Matthew Wood & Carl Gazzard Worcestershire County Ground, Tauntonmarker 2005
4th 76 Cameron White & Keith Parsons Worcestershire New Road, Worcestermarker 2006
5th 101* Cameron White & James Hildreth Worcestershire New Road, Worcestermarker 2006
6th 77 James Hildreth & Wes Durston Diamond Eagles Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadiummarker, Hyderabadmarker 2009
7th 67 Omari Banks & Ben Phillips Northamptonshire County Ground, Northamptonmarker 2008
8th 50 James Hildreth & Alfonso Thomas Deccan Chargers Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadiummarker, Hyderabadmarker 2009
9th 31 Wes Durston & Steffan Jones Gloucestershire County Ground, Tauntonmarker 2003
10th 15 John Francis & Thos Hunt Warwickshire Edgbastonmarker 2004


Bowling



Most Twenty20 wickets for Somerset
Qualification - 20 wickets
Player Wickets
Charl Willoughby 32
Alfonso Thomas 31
Gareth Andrew 28
Ian Blackwell 23
Arul Suppiah 20


Centre of Cricketing Excellence

In line with the club's youth policy, the club has a well developed Centre of Excellence. The Centre of Excellence is an indoor facility and offers coaching for both the County side, the youth team as well as cricket and sports training for all located in the region. Developed under the England and Wales Cricket Board's principles and in conjunction with Sport England, its purpose is to spot and develop cricketing talent and improve overall sports fitness in the region.

It was used as the venue for Marcus Trescothick's benefit dinner which was hosted by TV and radio star Jeremy Kyle.

See also



References

  1. Foot (1986), p12.
  2. Foot (1986), p13.
  3. Foot (1986), p14.
  4. Foot (1986), p15.
  5. Foot (1986), pp15–16
  6. Foot (1986), p17
  7. Foot (1986), p27
  8. Foot (1986)
  9. Swanton (1986), p394.
  10. Foot (1986)
  11. Swanton (1986), pp510–517.


Bibliography



External sources



Further reading

  • H S Altham, A History of Cricket, Volume 1 (to 1914), George Allen & Unwin, 1962
  • Derek Birley, A Social History of English Cricket, Aurum, 1999
  • Rowland Bowen, Cricket: A History of its Growth and Development, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1970
  • Roy Webber, The Playfair Book of Cricket Records, Playfair Books, 1951





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