Somerset failed in their concerted bid to beat Yorkshire on the final day of the Specsavers County Championship game at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton.
Despite dominating the game for the majority of the four days, Chris Rogers’ side came up just short in the final session as Yorkshire held on to their unbeaten start to the Division One campaign. However, the loss of 19 overs in the day due to rain was the difference between winning for the first time this season and yet another drawn game.
Resuming their first innings on 306 for 9, the white rose county were quickly bowled out for 311 when Jamie Overton bowled Steven Patterson for 32. It might have been an early setback for Yorkshire, but Patterson and Jack Brooks had certainly done their bit for the cause. In adding 74 for the 10th wicket, the pair had not only taken up valuable time but had added valuable runs too.
As expected Somerset enforced the follow on and bowled particularly well with the new ball. Bowling coach Jason Kerr had highlighted the need for early wickets at the end of day three and although Adam Lyth and Alex Lees batted with due care and attention prior to lunch the afternoon session brought its reward.
Lyth, who has scored over 800 runs at Taunton in his last seven matches, was first to go when he was bowled by Overton when playing back to a short ball that kept low. Will Rhodes followed at 45 for 2, caught at short leg by Tom Abell off the bowling of Jack Leach and four runs later Lees, who had scored only 11 off 97 balls, was bowled by Overton when offering no shot.
The tea interval provided Yorkshire with some respite but when Andrew Gale was caught by Leach off the bowling of Tim Groenewald at 69 for 4, Yorkshire were facing an anxious final two hours.
Overton, whose spell on Monday had been described as ‘world class’ by Kerr, continued to bowl with real purpose. His third wicket came in the 53rd over when Gary Ballance carelessly flicked the 22-year-old bowler to Leach at square leg. At that stage a victory for Somerset looked a distinct possibility. However, Jack Leaning and Liam Plunkett held out in the final hour and Yorkshire left for the long trip home with their unbeaten record still in tact. When the captain’s shook hands shortly before six o’clock Yorkshire had reached 141 for 6.
After the match Chris Rogers said: “Without doubt that’s the best game that we have played so far. We batted very well and then on a pretty tough wicket to bowl on we did fantastically well. We nearly stole a win and if we hadn’t lost so much time to rain then there is a very good chance that we would have won that game against the twice reigning champions, so we can be very proud of that effort. If we can play like that for the rest of the season then we will be in a pretty good position come September.
“What I am most proud of is that since I have been here a lot has been said but it’s about putting those actions into play out on the field and the boys are really starting to do that. The bowling group was brilliant in this game. Tim Groenewald and Lewis Gregory keep impressing and Jamie Overton bowled a couple of spells in this game that were world class and no batsman would have liked facing him.
“Marcus continues to show everyone just how good he is and Hildy is a beautiful player and that was another very good innings. Peter Trego also contributed and Jimmy Allenby as well, and then I liked that the tail came out and played for the team and threw the bat, so we are doing a lot of good things.”
Director of Cricket Matt Maynard said: “I thought it was a terrific effort and our bowlers asked questions throughout. To restrict a side like Yorkshire to a rearguard action like they had to put in for the second innings is testament to the way that we bowled.
“We didn’t give them too many scoring opportunities and didn’t really give them anything to hit so it was a really pleasing performance in the field and with the ball. There were some very encouraging signs and now the boys are really out on their feet having given everything in the match.
“I feel a little bit sorry for them because the way we played in this game after being inserted shows that we could have come away with a win. It’s just a shame we didn’t but they can feel very proud of themselves and very proud for the way that they have represented Somerset during this match. It has been really terrific stuff.”
Somerset take 12 points from the match and Yorkshire take nine.