With our Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final against Warwickshire now just two days away, we are looking back at some of our memorable last four matches since the introduction of the one-day game back in 1963.
1979 – Dasher Destroys Middlesex
In 1979 Somerset made the trip to Lord’s one game early as we travelled to the Home of Cricket to take on Middlesex in the semi-final of the Gillette Cup, which was then a 60 over competition.
Somerset won the toss and Brian Rose elected to field. It looked to have been the right decision as the Somerset bowlers reduced the home side to 103 for six. Michael Smith (45) and Philippe-Henri Edmonds (63 not out) offered the only resistance as the Somerset bowlers ripped through the Middlesex batsmen to leave them 185 all out from just 57.5 overs. Joel Garner was the chief destroyer as he claimed four for 24 whilst Graham Burgess took three for 25 and Keith Jennings took two for 38.
In reply Somerset reached their total for the loss of just three wickets from 50.2 overs. Peter Denning put in a man of the match performance as he helped himself to 90 not out to ensure that Somerset would return to Lord’s again for the final courtesy of this seven wicket win.
1981 – Popplewell Powers Somerset in to the Final
Two years after lifting the Gillette Cup Somerset were back in semi-final action again, this time in the 55 over Benson & Hedges Cup. Kent were the opponents for the match at Taunton and Brian Rose once again won the toss and elected to field.
Two early wickets for Ian Botham reduced Kent to nine for two. Chris Tavare was the only batsman to trouble the Somerset attack but after he was bowled by Nigel Popplewell for 44 the visitors found themselves in trouble and were all out for 154 from 52.1 overs. Botham finished with three for 23 and Garner also claimed three wickets at a cost of just 24 runs. Popplewell and Colin Dredge also took two wickets each.
Somerset found themselves 37 for two but Peter Roebuck (51 not out) and man of the match Popplewell (42) ensured that any worries that the capacity Taunton crowd had were quickly put to rest as the home side reached their total in the 49th over to claim the win and a place in the final by five wickets.
1982 – Garner Blows Sussex Away
The following year saw Somerset looking to retain the Benson & Hedges Cup when we welcomed Sussex to Taunton for the semi-final.
Brian Rose again won the toss and once again elected to put the visitors in. Another stunning performance from the home bowlers saw Sussex bowled out for just 110 in the 42nd over. Garner was once again the pick of the attack and he scooped the man of the match award for his spell of four wickets for 24 runs from 9.1 overs. Vic Marks was also in good form, claiming three for 25 whilst Botham took two for 20.
Once again the Somerset batsmen made light work of the total as Denning and Roebuck put on 91 for the first wicket as the home side secured a place in the final. Denning went on to make 68 not out as Somerset won by eight wickets from just 36.1 overs.
As we continue the build up to Monday’s Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final against Warwickshire we will be looking back at some more classic last four matches tomorrow.