Thursday, May 23, 2024

County Championship: Somerset hold nerve to beat Essex

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Somerset’s Matt Renshaw and Sean Dickson tamed a seaming pitch to lay the foundation for a three-wicket County Championship win over Essex inside two days at Taunton.

When the visitors were bowled out for 138 in their second innings, 30 wickets had fallen in the Division One match.

There were three each for Somerset seamers Josh Davey and Lewis Gregory as Jordan Cox top-scored with 27 on a still green wicket.

A target of 167 to win looked challenging for the home batting line-up, considering what had gone before.

However, Renshaw (35) and Dickson (42) put together an opening partnership of 75 and, although the Essex bowlers stuck gamely to their task, Somerset always looked favourites from then on.

Andy Umeed made 34 and Tom Banton’s 29 off 50 balls almost took them over the line as they wrapped up a 19-point success, with Essex having to settle for three.

Essex resumed day two on six without loss but lost Dean Elgar and Sam Cook cheaply, before Tom Westley (11) and Nick Browne (23) followed to make it 95-4 at lunch.

Matt Critchley (21) and Cox departed and Noah Thain and Harry Duke took the score to 137 before the last four Essex wickets fell in quick succession.

Renshaw and Dickson set about the victory target positively, sharing an opening stand of 75 before Renshaw was out lbw.

Dickson followed in the next over but Umeed carried on applying pressure to the Essex bowlers, although Tom Lammonby departed for a 24-ball duck.

When Umeed edged a Shane Snater delivery, which cannoned off wicketkeeper Duke and looped to Simon Harmer at second slip, Somerset needed to keep their heads with 47 required.

Migael Pretorius and James Rew fell cheaply but Banton’s largely sensible knock had almost seen his side home when he edged a slip catch.

Craig Overton hit the winning boundary off Jamie Porter in the second additional over of the day to give Somerset their first win of the season after four draws.

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