A young Somerset side were beaten at Hampshire by 83 runs in their final match in this season’s NatWest T20 Blast.
Director of Cricket Matt Maynard selected a side that included a number of NatWest T20 Blast debutantes who will have gained much needed First XI experience.
Ollie Sale and Ben Green made their debuts for the County whilst Dom Bess and Tom Abell featured for the first time in T20 cricket.
Having won the toss Hampshire elected to bat and the home side made a solid start. Tom Alsop crashed his highest NatWest T20 Blast score as he and Jake Goodwin put on 83 for the first wicket. Goodwin was the man to go for 32 when he was stumped off fellow Blast first-timer Dominic Bess.
Pakistani Shahid Afridi, on his last Hampshire performance, entertained in a 12-ball cameo, where he bagged 21, but drilled a full toss straight to Somerset Captain Max Waller at short extra cover off the bowling of Peter Trego. However another 50 partnership between Alsop and Liam Dawson followed.
Alsop was closing in on three figures but was running out of time to reach it, and with 14 balls left in the innings he opened up – firstly he was dropped at deep mid-wicket but a ball later he departed for 85. Trego this time taking the catch o give Josh Davey a wicket.
Dawson and Ryan McLaren ensured that the hosts set Somerset 182 to win.
Somerset lost an early wicket when Adam Hose was caught behind with the score on 11 off McLaren. McLaren was back in the wickets when Peter Trego skied to Gavin Griffiths at mid-on and the Lancashire loanee bowled James Hildreth an over later as the chase faltered.
Tom Abell was next to fall, the first of the evening to spin, as Dawson tempted him to cut to a fine diving Alsop. Dawson took two in two balls as Ryan Davies was bowled and Josh Davey stumped.
Jim Allenby had made an impressive 40 from just 29 balls but he fell to Afridi when sweeping to short fine leg. England T20 star Dawson had Bess bowled and Max Waller snaffled deep on the leg side to complete his best analysis in twenty over cricket.
Brad Taylor ended the game by castling Oliver Sale to give the home side the win by 83 runs.
Straight after the match Matt Maynard said: “I feel sorry for the four debutantes tonight because chasing a total like that was always going to be tough and we needed a good start. We didn’t quite get that with losing a wicket in the second over. It was always going to be tough on that wicket. It was slow and when the spinners came on I don’t think that we played them very well.
“With the likes of Afridi and Dawson you need wickets in hand to try and attack them and we didn’t have that and there was only Jim Allenby who put a score on the board this evening for us. It was a bit disappointing but it was great to see Ben Green out there. He is a cricketer of huge promise. He knows what he is trying to do and achieve and I think he was our stand out debutante tonight.
“I thought that Dom Bess also bowled pretty well against Afridi and against Allsop who were going great guns at the time and he showed a lot of character, so there were some pleasing signs.
“We know that we have got to be careful that this result doesn’t affect tomorrow’s performance. We have been playing some good cricket in the Royal London One-Day Cup and we need to maintain that.”
Matt added: “We know that a strong performance tomorrow will see us with a home quarter final so we have got to try and get this out of our system as quickly as possible, by the end of the bus journey tonight so we are up for it tomorrow.”