If ever a man was born to play cricket for the county it was Derek John Somerset Taylor, who kept wicket for the Club between 1970 and 1982.
Taylor was an excellent ‘keeper and but for the presence of the likes of Alan Knott, he almost certainly would have played for England. However, he never got the call and contented himself with quietly going about his business for Somerset, both behind the stumps and as a more than competent opening batsman when needed.
Derek Taylor was born in Amersham in 1942 and after making an impression playing for his native Buckinghamshire in Minor County Cricket. He eventually went for a trial with Surrey and in 1964 joined the staff at the Oval.
Taylor made his Surrey debut in 1966 and was capped in 1969. Unfortunately for him Arnold Long was already the established ‘keeper at the Oval and during his four year stay he only made 10 first team appearances.
Surrey’s loss was to be Somerset’s gain as Taylor travelled west and made his debut for his newly adopted county in 1970 when he played against Essex in May. In the first innings Somerset’s new gloveman took four catches and also claimed another catch as well as stumping his opposite number Brian Taylor off Tom Cartwright in the second innings.
From then on Derek Taylor was here to stay and until 1982 he was a virtual ever present in both the first class and the one-day team.
His statistics speak for themselves. In his 280 first class matches for Somerset he scored 6796 runs at an average of 22.42 with a best of 179 against Glamorgan at Swansea in 1974. He also claimed 588 catches and 74 stumpings. In one- day cricket Taylor played 261 matches, scoring 2035 runs at 19.56, with a best of 93 and took 234 catches and 43 stumpings.
Taylor would not only stand up to the spinners but also to the likes of Tom Cartwright and Ian Botham, claiming a number of stumpings and catches off the pair down the leg side. He was a quiet and unassuming member of the Somerset side that lifted several one-day trophies between 1979 and 1982, when he retired at the age of 40.
There may have been more colourful and flamboyant characters in the Glory Year’s team, but there will be few more important. After departing from the county Derek Taylor went to live in Australia where he still resides.