Somerset Seconds suffered a disappointingly close defeat in the final of the Second XI Trophy at Arundel, where after playing their hearts out they were narrowly beaten by Middlesex by two wickets with just one ball to spare.
After choosing to bat first in the final at the beautiful Arundel Castle Cricket Ground, Somerset found themselves six for two. A partnership of 44 between George Bartlett and Tim Rouse recovered the innings, before Rouse was out for 30 which came off 24 balls with four 4s.
Bartlett was in fine form and went to a well deserved half century with a straight drive for 6 that also saw up the Somerset 100 in the 13th over – his runs coming off 33 balls with six 4s and two 6s. Bartlett moved onto 58 when he was bowled by Nathan Sowter with the total on 114.
Michael Leask hit a brisk 16 before he was out with the total on 131 which brought Dom Bess into join Ben Green and the Devon pair remained together to see Somerset to 161 without further loss- Green ending unbeaten on 26 and Bess not out 7. When Middlesex replied none of their top-order batsmen seemed to be able to establish themselves as Josh Davey struck twice and Sam Grant claimed a wicket.
Then in the seventh over Bess also struck twice and Middlesex found themselves 38 for five.
However a partnership of 78 between Rath and wicket-keeper Robbie White in nine overs led the Middlesex recovery before Redrup claimed Rath LBW for 35 in the 16th. At that stage the game looked to have swung back towards Somerset but White had other ideas and when he hit six off the last ball of the 19th over Middlesex needed eight for victory.
Green was charged with the final over and claimed White caught mid wicket by Bess for 53, but three balls later it was all over when Martin Anderssons lofted drive cleared mid wicket with two balls to spare. The pick of the bowlers was Bess with two for 20 while Davey ended with two for 31, both off four overs.
Earlier in the day Somerset had produced a good all round performance to beat Warwickshire by 57 runs.
Batting first Somerset found themselves six for two but thanks to a confident and mature innings of 80 off 58 balls by 17 year old opener Tom Banton, well supported by skipper Max Waller they reached 151 for seven. The Somerset bowlers, supported by excellent fielding then bowled Warwickshire out for 94, Sam Grant taking three wickets for four, Waller three for 12 while Bess claimed two for 19, while Banton claimed two catches and two stumping behind the wicket.
Afterwards Steve Snell said: “It’s sometimes hard to look past the result but essentially what this is about is preparing young players for Somerset in the future and while of course it’s disappointing not to win, for me I have learned a lot about our players today.
“It was great to see Tom Banton not only bat superbly for a 17 year old, but his wicket-keeping was fantastic as well- it wasn’t just the dismissals, he made including the stumping of Laurie Evans who was playing a key role, but the way he attacked the ball when it bounced in front of him and tidied up throws and dealt with the slower deliveries.”
Steve went on: “George Bartlett played brilliantly in the final as well and for him to go out onto a pressurised stage and play with such flare and freedom was immensely exciting for the people who will watch him play for Somerset at the Cooper Associates County Ground.”