Chris Rogers hit the 76th first-class century of his career as Somerset did all they could in the Specsavers County Championship title race by securing a 325-run victory over Nottinghamshire at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
Somerset must now await the outcome of events at Lord’s tomorrow before knowing whether they have clinched a first ever title.
Chris was unbeaten on 100, his second ton of the match, when declaring his side’s second innings at lunch on 313 for five. Ryan Davies (59) and 55 from just 36 balls from Peter Trego were the other main contributions to that total.
That left Notts facing a mammoth 541 to win and despite a battling 66 not out from Billy Root in only his second Championship appearance, they slid to 215 all out.
Somerset took 23 points from the match, while relegated Notts completed a disappointing campaign by taking just three.
From an overnight 105 for two, Somerset added 208 in the morning session before declaring. Rogers batted throughout and reached three figures off the penultimate ball before the interval, having faced 139 balls and hit 13 fours. There were bright contributions from Davies, whose half-century occupied 53 balls and Trego, who passed 1,000 Championship runs in a season for the first time. Rogers had also achieved that landmark.
Notts were hindered by two run-outs in the afternoon session as they set about their improbable task, also losing opener Steven Mullaney for 18, caught at mid-on by Trego off Roelof van der Merwe with the total on 48. Jake Libby was superbly run out for 26 by substitute fielder Max Waller’s direct hit at the bowler’s end attempting a single off Dom Bess and when Michael Lumb called for another risky single to wide mid-off, his partner Tom Moores failed to beat Trego’s throw to the wicketkeeper.
At tea Notts were 112 for three. The final session saw van der Merwe pin Lumb lbw with the second ball and soon it was apparent that a three-day finish was in prospect. Samit Patel fell lbw to the pace of Craig Overton and Chris Read went for a duck, leg-before to Jack Leach. Two balls later Brett Hutton had his off stump uprooted by the left-arm spinner. Root’s half-century was a fine effort in a losing cause but he lost his remaining partners as Matt Carter was caught at second slip off the wicketkeeper’s gloves to give van der Merwe his third wicket.
Leach then cleaned up Jake Ball and Imran Tahir to finish with four for 69 and Rogers then led his side from the field to a standing ovation. They returned with the coaching staff for a deserved lap of honour, but they will now have to try and get a night’s sleep wondering if they have made history.
After the match Chris Rogers confirmed his retirement from first-class cricket after scoring two centuries in the match and leading his team on a lap of honour. “That’s it for me,” said the 39-year-old. “I have had a good career and to finish off that way is pretty special. I’m getting old. I’m going to miss playing and the standing ovation from the crowd was very special, but it happens in all careers and it’s time to move on.”
“I have said a couple of times that we are a side that needs everyone to contribute and everyone has. A lot of sides have three or four good players and the rest just follow, but we have a good all-round team and they actually like playing with each other as you could see by their fielding today. This was as good a performance as I have seen from a domestic side in years, and its great to have been a part of it.”
Chris added: “We have done everything we can and we have had a really enjoyable season. I think you can see that from how much we have really enjoyed it and that’s very special. My overriding feeling is one of immense pride in my team. We were favourites to go down at the start of the season and look where we are now! I’ll be texting a few of my old team-mates at Middlesex tonight, you can be sure of that! I know what is in their dressing room and I know they will fight all the way against Yorkshire. The title race is out of our hands, but neither side will role over at Lord’s so it’s going to be interesting.”