Abell con­fi­dent his Som­er­set side will win a red-ball tro­phy be­fore long

Bristol Post - - SPORT - Alex SMITH

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.

Pic­ture: Alex Davidson/Getty

Som­er­set spin­ner Jack Leach cel­e­brates his lbw dis­missal of Es­sex’s Dan Lawrence at Lord’s yes­ter­day

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