A vintage Peter Trego century helped Somerset stay firmly on course for the Royal London One-Day Cup quarter-finals with a four-wicket South Group win over Middlesex at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
The visitors posted 296 for nine after losing the toss with Nick Gubbins making 89 off 78 balls with four fours and three sixes. He was supported well by Paul Stirling (58) and James Fuller (42 not out) whilst there were two wickets each for Trego and Roelof van der Merwe.
In reply, Somerset reached 297 for six with an over to spare, Trego hitting nine fours and a six in his 104, while Lewis Gregory contributed 69 and van der Merwe 41. Ollie Rayner was the pick of the Middlesex attack with two for 40.
The result puts Somerset on nine points from six group games, while their opponents remain on six.
Middlesex had been given a solid start by Stirling and Ryan Higgins, who took the total to 83 in the 18th over before Higgins, on 39, drove a catch to cover off Trego. Stirling moved to his half-century off 60 balls before being second man out in the 24th over, caught at deep cover off Trego who bowled six overs for figures of two for 27. Gubbins hit the first six of the innings off Craig Overton in the 25th over, but Middlesex could never put a charge on against some accurate Somerset bowling.
It was 143 for three in the 30th over when Eoin Morgan was caught at mid-on by Trego after top-edging a pull shot off Lewis Gregory and 173 for four when George Bailey drove a catch to cover off van der Merwe. Gubbins reached his half-century off 47 balls and shared a fifth-wicket stand of 58 with John Simpson, who was bowled for 27, looking to reverse sweep van der Merwe. James Franklin went quickly to Overton before Gubbins’ innings ended when he guided a Tim Groenewald delivery straight to James Hildreth at short fine-leg. Fuller provided some late acceleration with successive sixes off Groenewald, but a couple of late run-outs left Middlesex short of the 300-mark.
Somerset would have been happy at the halfway stage but skipper Jim Allenby went for a duck to James Harris and Johann Myburgh, having looked in prime form moving to 22, had to retire hurt with a side injury. Mahela Jayawardene (28) helped Trego add 63 before being well caught one-handed above his head by Morgan at mid-wicket off Ollie Rayner. It was then 117 for three when Hildreth, on nine, chipped a catch to mid-wicket off Higgins.
Trego reached his half-century off 53 balls with seven fours.
Gregory provided excellent support in a fourth-wicket partnership of 86 in 15 overs and the hosts looked well placed when Trego moved confidently to three figures off 106 balls in the 36th over. He was bowled, advancing down the track to Rayner but Gregory and van der Merwe were both dropped in the 41st over. These proved expensive errors as Gregory reached his half-century off 64 balls, with three fours, and the pair took their side to the verge of victory with a stand of 71 in 8.5 overs before both fell in the closing overs. Josh Davey and Craig Overton then completed the job to see Somerset to victory.
After the match Pete said: “It’s always good to get a win and I think that it was pretty important in our quest for qualification, so it was great. We have been playing well in the 50 over competition this year so its really pleasing to keep that momentum going. I don’t think the wicket was quite as good as the one on Sunday but it was still a 320 par score probably so the bowlers did exceptionally well and out there fielding it never really felt like we weren’t in control of the game.”
“We executed the batting plan pretty well and the plan is to have one of the guys put in a big score. I was lucky enough to be that man today and the guys batted well around me, in particular Lewis who hit a fantastic 69 and almost put the game safe for us. In the end we finished it off pretty clinically. Even though it probably looked a pretty tight one, I think we were always pretty much in control of the chase.”
Regarding his own batting Pete said: “I’m probably 80 runs short of where I should have been over the last two matches and i am pretty disappointed not to see both games all the way through. However at the start of the week if you had given me 80 and a 100 I would have snapped your hand off. I realised that I had to play the anchor role and I’m really pleased that I chalked up another 100 but again I feel that there is still something left in the tank to chase at the end of the week.”