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MATCH REPORT | SOMERSET v MIDDLESEX

Match Reports are supplied by the ECB Reporters Network


DAY FOUR

Lewis Goldsworthy completed a memorable first class debut as Somerset clinched a four-wicket LV=County Championship victory over Middlesex at Taunton.

Having contributed an invaluable 39 to his side’s first innings, the 20-year-old Cornishman shared an unbroken match-winning stand of 86 with Steve Davies to take the Cidermen to their target of 207 soon after lunch.

Goldsworthy finished 41 not out and Davies unbeaten on 44, while Tim Murtagh had figures of four for 53 at the end of an absorbing contest, sadly played out in front of empty stands at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

Somerset took 21 points from their third group win in four games, while Middlesex, who had bossed much of the game, had to be content with seven.

The home side began the final morning on 104 for four, needing a further 103 to win. Tom Abell, unbeaten on 43 overnight, got the run-chase underway with a two through mid-wicket off Murtagh.

George Bartlett launched his innings with a sweetly-struck off-side boundary in Tom Helm’s opening over.

On 47, Abell survived a confident shout from Murtagh for lbw, umpire Ian Gould remaining unmoved.

Bartlett’s second boundary was another well-timed stroke, this time pulling Helm through mid-wicket.

Abell edged Murtagh just short of second slip before Gould upheld a second lbw appeal from the same bowler, with the Somerset skipper one short of a half-century and 89 runs still needed.

Murtagh’s next over saw Bartlett depart in the same fashion for 12, playing across the line, and at 123 for six Somerset looked in serious trouble.

It was another major test for the temperament of diminutive debutant Goldsworthy as he was joined by the experienced Davies.

As in the first innings when coming in at 98 for four, the youngster passed with flying colours, getting into line with solid defensive technique against some probing seam bowling.

Murtagh completed a fine eight-over spell from the River End before Davies lifted some of the pressure with two cover-driven fours in the same Martin Andersson over.

Goldsworthy produced the shot of the day, savagely pulling Steve Finn to the mid-wicket boundary for four, with the sound of a pistol crack as bat met ball.

Both batsmen demonstrated the patience to await a loose delivery and, while each played and missed occasionally, they gradually sucked the life out of the Middlesex seam attack.

Goldsworthy brought up the fifty stand with a boundary to third-man off the returning Murtagh.

By lunch the partnership was worth 65 and Somerset were within 19 runs of what for more than two days had seemed a highly unlikely victory.

After the break, Middlesex turned to leg-spinner Luke Hollman in a last throw of the dice.

But Davies and Goldsworthy remained unperturbed and the latter sparked loud celebrations on the home dressing room balcony when striking the winning boundary off a Hollman full-toss.


DAY THREE

Craig Overton and Josh Davey sparked a dramatic Somerset resurgence on the third day of the LV=County Championship match with Middlesex at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

When the home side could add only 90 to their overnight score of 178 for four, Steve Finn finishing with five for 77, they conceded a first innings lead of 89 runs.

But Overton (five for 34) and Davey (three for 28) skittled Middlesex for just 117 in their second innings, leaving a victory target of 207. By the close, the hosts had posted 104 for four, with skipper Tom Abell unbeaten on 43.

At the start of the day, Somerset were forced to call Jack Brooks into their team as a Covid replacement for Lewis Gregory.

A club statement read: “A member of Lewis’s private bubble was feeling unwell this morning and has taken a lateral flow test. This proved to be negative, but protocol dictates that until the results of a further test have been received, Lewis will remain in isolation.

Bartlett and Lewis Goldsworthy extended their fifth-wicket stand in Somerset’s first innings to 90 before Tom Helm had Goldsworthy caught behind for 39.

Bartlett went to fifty, off 107 balls, with 10 fours, but fell to Helm on 55, nicking a drive to wicketkeeper John Simpson.

Steve Davies was caught at backward point off Finn, who struck again when Davey clipped a leg-side delivery to fine leg where Helm took the catch.

Overton played sensibly for his unbeaten 38, receiving good support from Jack Leach in a ninth-wicket stand of 39.

Finn forced Leach, on 16, to fend a catch to short-leg and Brooks quickly fell to the second new ball, taken by Tim Murtagh.

The afternoon session began with Middlesex 11 without loss. Sam Robson and Max Holden took the score to 44 before a brilliant Tom Banton catch at backward point in Davey’s first over saw Robson depart for 18.

Nick Gubbins was dropped by James Hildreth at first slip in the same over. But soon it was 48 for two as Holden edged Overton through to Steve Davies.

The Somerset wicketkeeper held another catch when Peter Handscombe feathered an Abell outswinger and notched his 600th first class victim when Gubbins chased a wide ball from Davey.

The probing Davey then had Simpson taken at third slip by Abell before Martin Andersson was caught and bowled off a leading edge by Overton.

When Robbie White was pinned lbw on the back foot by Overton, the visitors had lost seven wickets for 38 runs. At tea, they were 85 for seven and led by 174.

Overton struck twice more in the final session for well-deserved match figures of eight for 94 and Somerset looked favourites.

An absorbing match took another twist when Murtagh had Banton caught behind off the first ball of Somerset’s second innings and then trapped Tom Lammonby lbw for nine.

But Abell and Hildreth prospered in the early evening sunshine, Hildreth looking in prime form until falling to Andersson for 43 after a stand of 78, before nightwatchman Jack Leach departed to the final ball of the day.


DAY TWO

James Hildreth became the fourth highest first class run maker in Somerset’s history on the second day of the LV=County Championship match with Middlesex at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

The 36-year-old batsman went past Bill Alley’s tally of 16,644 while contributing 39 to his side’s first innings total of 178 for four and now lies behind only Harold Gimblett, Marcus Trescothick and Peter Wight.

Earlier, Middlesex had moved from an overnight 308 for six to 357 all out, Robbie White falling for 92 and Josh Davey claiming three of the wickets in the space of an over.

There were two victims each for Steve Finn and Tim Murtagh when Somerset replied before an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 80 between George Bartlett and first class debutant Lewis Goldsworthy left honours pretty even.

The day began with White, unbeaten on 70, and Luke Hollman adding 24 before Craig Overton uprooted Hollman’s off stump with his score on 16.

White had moved to 81 and the total to 338 for seven off 108 overs when rain interrupted play at 11.50am. The action resumed at 1.20pm with two incident-packed overs.

White took two fours and a three off the first of them, bowled by Tom Abell to put his side within a single of a fourth batting point.

But his hopes of a maiden first class century were dashed when he edged Davey’s first ball of the following over to Hildreth at first slip.

The crestfallen White dragged himself off, having faced 224 deliveries and hit 13 fours. Two balls later Steve Finn fell lbw, having survived an equally confident appeal first up, and Somerset had their third bowling point.

With one run still needed for a fourth batting point, Tim Murtagh swung two boundaries to third-man, before being caught there to give Davey a third wicket.

Somerset’s reply had reached eight without loss when a lighter shower brought a 15-minute interruption. Then both openers fell quickly as Tom Lammonby edged a catch behind off Finn and Tom Banton was pinned lbw by Murtagh.

Hildreth looked in good touch as he and Abell took the score to 86 for two at tea, the latter surviving two slip chances in the same Tom Helm over, Max Holden and White the guilty fielders.

Hildreth had overtaken Darren Stevens as the leading run-maker among players still operating in the domestic game when fencing at the first delivery after tea from Murtagh and being caught behind.

Abell then chipped a full ball from Finn to mid-wicket and departed for 41. With the floodlights on, George Bartlett, on 13, was dropped by Sam Robson at second slip off Martin Andersson.

Drizzle and light issues brought a further break at 120 for four. A 6pm resumption of 15 overs saw Bartlett progress serenely to 43 and 20-year-old Cornishman Goldsworthy move stylishly to 34, an innings rich with promise.


DAY ONE

Nick Gubbins and Robbie White led a solid Middlesex batting display on the opening day of the LV=County Championship match with Somerset at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

After losing the toss, the visitors progressed to 308 for six by the close, Gubbins contributing 75, White 70 not out and Max Holden 49.

Craig Overton was the pick of the Somerset attack, bowling with little luck for figures of two for 54 from 23 overs.

On a sunny morning, Lewis Gregory struck first blow for the hosts when Sam Robson, on six, played across a full delivery and edged a sharp catch to wicketkeeper Steve Davies.

From then on, the morning session belonged to Middlesex, but not without moments of good fortune, particularly for Holden.

On 24, he was caught off a Gregory no-ball and on 28 edged the same bowler low to second slip, the ball flying through Craig Overton’s legs for four.

Holden survived narrowly again on 33 when he got a thin top edge to an attempted pull shot off Overton and the leaping Davies could only get the finger ends of his gloves to the ball.

When Overton tried to bounce him out, Holden responded with two fine pulls for boundaries. But the bowler took revenge with the final delivery before the interval, which yielded an outside edge and another Davies catch.

It was 82 for two at lunch and when the afternoon began with Gubbins and Peter Handscomb progressing confidently, it looked like taking a mistake from one of them to bring a wicket.

That happened with the total on 129. Handscomb, on 17, steered a ball from Jack Leach to mid-on and set off for a single, only to be beaten by substitute fielder Roelof van der Merwe’s direct hit at the bowler’s end.

Gubbins had been dropped on 41 by Overton at second slip off Josh Davey and it looked like proving a costly error as the left-hander moved to an otherwise assured half-century.

He had faced 138 balls and struck 12 fours when Overton pouched him to give Gregory a second wicket.

At 170 for four, Middlesex had to rebuild. White and John Simpson did so sensibly to add 38 before the tea interval.

Simpson announced more positive intentions in the first over of the evening session, lofting Leach over long-on for six.

He had contributed 33 to a stand of 69 with White when edging a back-foot shot off the left-arm seam of Tom Lammonby to James Hildreth at first slip.

White went to fifty with a flashing cut for four off Lammonby, his eighth boundary, having faced 114 balls.

Martin Andersson weighed in with a brisk 38 from 35 balls and, with White still unbeaten, Middlesex could feel satisfied with their day’s work.

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