Somerset had to settle for a tie in today’s rain-affected Royal London One-Day Cup match at Essex.
Essex had looked dead and buried when the ninth wicket fell with four overs and 38 runs required and the home side still required 26 off the last two overs and 16 off the last, but James Foster saw to it that his side were not defeated.
After four byes, Foster hit a four off the second ball of the final over and after two dot balls he thumped a massive six over cow corner from the fifth ball. Then he and Matt Quinn scampered a bye off the last ball as the rain returned.
Foster finished with an unbeaten 75 off 50 balls, including eight fours and three sixes. Under the intricacies of Duckworth-Lewis’s calculations, Essex were set a target of 177 – two runs less than Somerset had posted – in a match reduced first to 47 overs and then to 29 because of the weather.
Before Foster arrived at the crease, it looked as if Somerset’s Adam Hose was going to be the match-winner. The 23 year old hit 77 off 83 balls, with 10 fours, to beat his previous List A best by 31 runs. Hose shared a third-wicket stand of 141 in exactly 20 overs with his captain Jim Allenby after Essex put the visitors in.
When Essex batted, the heart was ripped out of their batting by a hostile opening spell from Tim Groenewald, who took three for 30, aided by Lewis Gregory, who snapped up two wickets in two balls and finished with four for 23.
Just three overs were possible in the morning before rain stopped play, the fielders departing straight after David Masters claimed the prized scalp of Johann Myburgh, caught at wide mid-off low down by Ravi Bopara for seven.
When they resumed nearly three hours later, Peter Trego lasted just five balls on his 35th birthday before he got a massive edge to Masters and was caught at third man by Graham Napier.
Hose and Jim Allenby steadied the Somerset ship and then accelerated mid-innings. Hose grew in confidence the longer he batted and went past his previous highest List A score of 46 with a cut for four off Ryan ten Doeschate. He reached his half-century from 62 balls with a push through midwicket off Matt Quinn.
Soon after, Allenby reached a 40-ball fifty when a single into the offside off ten Doeschate also brought up the century partnership in 15.4 overs. Later, he chipped Napier over Dan Lawrence’s head on the midwicket boundary for six as Somerset piled on the runs.
Allenby fell on 68 when Bopara ran round at cow corner to take the catch sprawling on the ground 10 yards inside the boundary. The captain had batted, in all, for 52 balls and hit five fours and two sixes. Hose departed five runs later when he clipped Napier to Nick Browne at deep midwicket. James Hildreth had almost perished the ball before when Quinn dropped him at long-on but Napier claimed a second wicket in the over when he bowled Hildreth before Bopara had Lewis Gregory chasing a wide delivery to be caught behind.
Somerset lost six wickets while adding 22 late runs with Bopara mopping up with two in the final over for personal figures of three for 49. Jesse Ryder took a fine running catch on the midwicket boundary to dismiss Jamie Overton and substitute fielder Callum Taylor accounted for the other Overton, Craig, off a skier.
Essex’s reply got off to a terrible start when Browne scooped the ball straight back into Groenewald’s hands in the first over. Groenewald then claimed wickets in each of his next two overs, having Ryder caught at second slip by Allenby and Tom Westley spooning a catch to Jamie Overton at mid-on.
In the next over Lewis Gregory gained lbw decisions against Lawrence and ten Doeschate in successive balls to reduce Essex to 36 for five. Bopara and Ashar Zaidi doubled the score in eight overs without ever being in control, before Zaidi was caught behind at the second attempt by Alex Barrow. Bopara didn’t last much longer, holing out tamely to Gregory at mid-on for 19.
James Foster showed some fighting spirit when he lofted Jamie Overton over midwicket for successive sixes before reaching a 33-ball fifty. Napier had helped Foster put on 48 for the eighth wicket in 5.3 overs before misjudging a ball from Gregory to Craig Overton at mid-on.
Masters gave Gregory his fourth wicket by squirting a catch to silly mid-on, but it did nothing to dampen Foster’s late pyrotechnics.
After the match Lewis Gregory said: ““It was a game that went down to the wire in the end and for the neutrals in the crowd it was a good game of cricket and at the end of it we have come out of it with a point a piece. I have played in a couple of close games before but I think that is the first tied game I have ever played in.
“Obviously we were a little bit disappointed with the tie but we dragged ourselves back into the game because chasing 170 odd in 29 overs is the sort of total you would expect a team to be able to chase in this day and age, with the way that people strike the ball. We bowled really well to get ourselves back in and we feel we are in a really good position in this competition. We’re feeling positive looking forward and will hopefully get through to the next stage.
“I’m pleased for Adam Hose because he has not played a huge amount of first team cricket, so for him to get runs is really nice and he will hopefully push on from that. We have got guys who perform with the bat and guys who perform with the ball which is why we are doing well in white ball cricket and long may that continue.”
Talking about his two wickets in two balls Lewis said: “Oddly enough I got a hat-trick in a second team match on this ground when I was 18. It was nice to take a few poles today and on another occasion it will be somebody else’s turn.”
Lewis added: “At the end of it all we have come away with a point against a really good one day outfit.”