Daily Express

Som­er­set are now ready and more than Abell


- By Gideon Brooks Sports · Cricket · Newport County A.F.C. · Indian Premier League · Taunton · Steve Davies · John Cleese · Twitter · Jack Brooks

TOM ABELL says a blend of youth­ful ex­u­ber­ance and bit­ter ex­pe­ri­ence can com­bine to see Som­er­set finally get their hands on a red- ball tro­phy.

The Ci­der­men go into the five- day Bob Wil­lis Tro­phy fi­nal as un­der­dogs, miss­ing a host of key men, and with a long his­tory of fall­ing at the fi­nal hur­dle.

They have never won a County Cham­pi­onship ti­tle and have fin­ished sec­ond in three out of the last four years – los­ing to to­day’s ri­vals Es­sex in an ag­o­nis­ing rain- af­fected fi­nal round last sum­mer.

Yet de­spite tal­ent leak­ing from the club with Jamie Over­ton and Dom Bess go­ing to Sur­rey and York­shire re­spec­tively, and star bats­man Tom Ban­ton away at the In­dian Premier League, cap­tain Abell in­sisted their time had come.

De­spite the might of Es­sex in front of them Abell in­sisted Som­er­set have a great chance of tak­ing red- ball sil­ver­ware back to Taun­ton.

He said: “I don’t feel we go in as un­der­dogs at all. I have ev­ery con­fi­dence and ev­ery faith in the abil­ity within our squad.

“We have seen that real ex­u­ber­ance of youth through this sum­mer. Some of our younger play­ers have stood up and been counted in pres­sure sit­u­a­tions as well.”

In seam­ers Craig Over­ton, above, Jack Brooks and Josh Davey and spin­ner Jack Leach – Bess is in the 13- man squad and could yet play – Som­er­set have an ex­pe­ri­enced and po­tent bowl­ing at­tack. With wick­et­keeper Steve Davies, Abell ( twice), Tom Lam­monby ( twice) and Ge­orge Bartlett all hav­ing scored cen­turies this sea­son they are not short of runs.

Win­ning the toss will be im­por­tant on a fresh wicket at Lord’s this morn­ing, given a drawn match will be de­cided on first- in­nings runs.

Ban­ton would have been handy in that re­gard but his de­ci­sion to play IPL was un­der­stand­able, ac­cord­ing to his cap­tain – even though an “ap­palled” John Cleese took to Twit­ter to write: “Shame on you Tom”.

Abell, above, said: “Bants was de­spe des­per­ate to play in this fi­nal but he has re­spon­si­bil­ity and co com­mit­ments he has to fu ful­fil. That is the na­ture of the beast with the player he is and the po­si­tion he is in.

“He is in de­mand all aro around the world.

“I In an ideal world we would have Ja Jamie Over­ton avail­able as well but he is a Sur­rey player now. But our bowl­ing is a huge area of strength and I be­lieve we can count on tak­ing 20 wick­ets.”

Hav­ing been de­nied by Es­sex last sea­son it would be per­fect if they could gain some re­venge.

Abell said: “Given how last year played out, it will be a huge match- up, there’s a huge amount on the line.

“There is that heartache af­ter last year but Es­sex were de­served win­ners and we felt like we needed to im­prove. I feel like we’ve done that this sea­son, we’re in a great place as a team.”

IN THE RUNS: Lam­monby has scored two tons

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