Jack Leach finished with six for 42 as Somerset completed a 31-run Specsavers County Championship victory over Warwickshire on the third morning at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
Resuming on 131 for eight, needing a further 53 to win, the visitors battled for 14 overs before being bowled out for 152, Rikki Clarke ending unbeaten on 55.
Lewis Gregory was the other wicket-taker as Somerset took 19 points to boost their hopes of a first ever County Championship title. Warwickshire had to be content with three and face a fight against relegation with only one game remaining.
The first half hour saw Clarke and Chris Wright carefully build on their ninth-wicket stand against the spin of Leach and Roelof van der Merwe. Clarke reached his half-century off 138 balls with 8 fours and a six. The pair had reduced the deficit to 37, with the stand worth 86, when an inspired piece of captaincy by Chris Rogers brought the breakthrough.
He introduced Lewis Gregory from the River End and with his fourth delivery the seamer had Wright caught behind for 45. When Clarke took a single of Leach’s third ball of the 58th over, Somerset moved in for the kill, surrounding last man Josh Poysden with close fielders.
The tail-ender got an inside edge and Marcus Trescothick ended the game with the 394th First Class catch of his Somerset career, at leg-gully, breaking a Club record set by Jack White, whose career ended in 1937.
The wicket sparked jubilant celebrations on the pitch and the home side could celebrate an unlikely win after being bowled out for 95 on the first morning.
Straight after the game a very upbeat Chris Rogers said: “This is another one we have had to fight for because after the first innings I thought that we were in a bit of strife, which is a little bit of an understatement. However, we were so good with the ball and batted better in our second innings. Credit to them though because they fought back well and it almost looked like the momentum had shifted. It’s a crazy game with a twist and fortunately it went our way.”
Did he had any doubts about his decision to bat first on the opening day? “When you get bowled out for 95 you are always going to have doubts,” he said. “But I didn’t expect that to happen. It was just swinging and seaming more than it had for a long time and not what we had hoped for. A lot of credit has to go to Dom Bess for his performance as a debutant, not only for his six wickets but for the catch he took to get the first wicket, which was an absolute screamer. That gave us a little bit of momentum and he deserves a lot of credit. I’m sure he has enjoyed his debut.”
Regarding Jack Leach, who took six for 42, the captain said: “I think that when the ball is hard here it grips, it bounces and it turns. You have to have the skill to do that and Jack does and what’s more he can bowl in these conditions. These are almost alien conditions and Jack can bowl so well in them, which is good for him and who knows what is just round the corner for him because he has now put his hand up for England.”
Chris added: “All of the games are interesting ones at the moment. What more can we do? We have played well and won the game and we have got the points. We’ve got two more games to go so it’s a great position to be in and it would be great to help Tres win that title for the first time! For the boys to be a part of that would be pretty special.”