Abell confident his Somerset side will win a red-ball trophy before long
TOM Abell insists Somerset are getting close to their long-awaited maiden redball title.
Somerset drew the Bob Willis Trophy final but Essex claimed the crown due to their higher first innings score.
It means Somerset have finished second in either the County Championship or Bob Willis Trophy in six of the last 11 seasons – with the county never tasting glory in the longest county format. But captain Abell is optimistic that the hoodoo over them will wear off soon.
He said: “Having come so close a number of times we certainly believe we are within touching distance and we certainly feel if we play the brand of cricket we have been playing then we will come out on top.
“As tough as it is to take we need to trust what we are doing.
“There are plenty of good things to come out of this season; guys have really stepped up to prove how good they really are.
“Over the course of a championship season the best team will often prevail but with the nature of the competition it does come down to a final game.”
Somerset needed to bowl Essex out on the final day to claim the trophy for themselves, but only managed to take six wickets as the South Group winners held firm on 179-6, having been set 237 to win.
“The overwhelming emotion is certainly one of disappointment,” Abell admitted.
“We experienced coming second to Essex last season and wanted that not to be the case.
“When you come second you always look at the what-ifs, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
“Going into today I felt like we had a great chance of winning the game but it felt like a good contest between two well-matched side throughout the game.
“We knew going into the games the connotations of getting a firstinnings lead and we didn’t manage to do that.”
Somerset managed to dismiss six Essex batsman but 40-year-old Ryan ten Doeschate (46) and Adam Wheater stayed firm for 27 overs, before the latter took them home with Simon Harmer to confirm Essex as the Bob Willis Trophy winners.
Ten Doeschate, who joined the county in 2003, had kept out 137 balls, and Wheater 80 balls, as Essex fell 58 runs short of their target after 80.3 overs.
Essex have now won four trophies in three years, having won the County Championship in 2017 and 2019 along with last year’s Vitality Blast.
Both those four-day titles came under the captaincy of ten Doeschate before he relinquished the role to Tom Westley at the beginning of this season.
Somerset began the day with a
lead of 191, knowing they needed more runs but as many overs as possible to bowl Essex out. They eventually settled on giving their opponents 237 to win in 80 overs, after declaring on 272-7.
They had added 45 runs in 49 balls during the half-hour morning burst thanks mostly to Craig Overton’s 44 not out – which included a huge six over midwicket.
Essex’s bright start to their second innings stalled as Nick Browne and Tom Westley departed in consecutive overs.
Lewis Gregory, who took 6-72 in the first innings, found the former’s edge with his second delivery, before the latter was lbw to Overton. For the rest of the day, runscoring became less of a priority with wicket prevention the main aim.
Sir Alastair Cook was the dangerman as far as Somerset were concerned after his imperious 172 in the first innings.
He scored a calm 31 when he was adjudged to have been caught behind off Gregory.
Somerset spinner Jack Leach celebrates his lbw dismissal of Essex’s Dan Lawrence at Lord’s yesterday