Recent Match Report – Somerset vs Lancashire 39th Match 2022


Lancashire Trail 164 for 0 (Wells 99*, Jennings 61*) Somerset446 (Goldsworthy 130, Rew 70 van der Merwe 55) by 282 points

WH Auden’s “On This Island” has often been quoted but familiarity has not diminished its power. The best-known line of the poem is the first: “Look, stranger, this island now”, the sweet imperative suggesting that we can never truly to know even those places we might call home. And members of Southport and Birkdale Cricket Club, on whose ground Lancashire play in Somerset, may find particular resonance in Auden’s poem this week. The patch of land they know and love so well is suddenly surrounded by vans, picket fences and onlookers, many of them from the West Country. It is the center of many attentions. As Luke Wells and Keaton Jennings bit off a big chunk of Somerset’s 448 and the milky sunlight broke through an unresolved cloud this afternoon, the workers looked proudly at their hundred tasks and suddenly noticed their home was different .

For the vast majority of cricketers, of course, even those in Lancashire, it is unfamiliar ground, but one they will call home during the four days of summer in a season that stretches from spring to summer. ‘fall. What’s nice, however, is that the visitors and their supporters seem to be enjoying themselves, even if Peter Siddle’s bowlers are struggling to beat tomorrow.

Somerset’s enjoyment was certainly evident in the first half of the day as Siddle’s lower order, emboldened by his confidence in the pitch, struck enterprisingly to add 149 runs in just under 40 overs. Lewis Gregory’s coverage of Will Williams started the morning well, but was soon caught by the same bowler’s long-legged Jack Morley for 42. After taking 22 balls to score his first run of the day, Lewis Goldsworthy, Monday’s Centurion hit four boundaries in quick succession before taking George Balderson’s second pitch of the day to Dane Vilas behind the stumps. Dismissed but triumphant, and with 130 runs against his name, Goldsworthy received a standing ovation, which he acknowledged. In some ways it was the best time of the day.
Then we got back to the tough business of professional cricket and it soon became clear that Somerset’s lineup was not ready to pack up their tents and start bowling. Jack Brooks, who has already made a century against Lancashire in his Yorkshire days, made 27 but the serious damage was caused by Roelof van der Merwe, who hit his sixth ball from Williams over the top rope and hit Morley for a couple more sixes in his 69.-ball 55 before Luke Wood threw it in to end the innings.

A total of 448 intimidated only the naive. This pitch was an absolute credit to head gardener, Colin Maxwell, and it’s a fast-scoring pitch, well known for its short straight boundaries and unforgiving outfield in hot weather. During the break between innings, the pitch staff came out to tend the pitch while the spectators were three at the bar. Other volunteers sold programs and still others ensured that glass and waste collection operations were in order.

And it’s on afternoons like these that the people of these regions miss Neil McQuaid. Note that even when county games were taking place, you were unlikely to see Neil; he would probably organize things in the parking lot or do some other vital job that no one else had volunteered for. In some ways it was odd, as Neil was a past president and, until his death, the president of the club, and he could have spent his time in the hospitality tent. In another respect, however, his behavior was very much in character.

After defying death for more than a decade, Neil succumbed to cancer late last summer and on a gloomy afternoon last December we buried his ashes just over the edge of the side land rail. Hockey was probably his main sport, but he got his start where needed and on a bench from which a few spectators watched Wells and Jennings begin Lancashire’s answer there’s a plaque. It reads: “Neil McQuaid: A true gentleman. Happy days shared with his S&B women’s cricket team. always remember. If English cricket is about Ben Stokes and Bazball and the Vitality Blast – and it absolutely is – it’s also about a lot of people like Neil, the people you don’t notice yet and miss terribly. Should we forget that, it will be time to roll the circus for good.

For another two days, however, the caravans rest in Southport and we imagine the Lancashire batsmen looking forward to tomorrow. Wells and Jennings hit with increasing ease for 54 overs and their unbroken 164-run stand may just be the prelude to further consumption. Judging by van der Merwe’s exclamations, you’d think there were two things close everywhere, but the only clear chance went to Goldsworthy who dropped a hard, diving bowling catch from Brooks when Jennings was 30 year. Otherwise, the Lancashire openers met with little alarm until the final ended, when Jennings nearly ran out trying to hand the bowling to Wells, who needed a run for his century. After being fired and barely making it, the ex-Durham batsman decided to do it for a troopers game and blocked the rest of the plus.

And so ended another great day at this beloved ground. Three kilometers away, the Orange Order had celebrated July 12, the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne, in a different, slightly more tumultuous way. Foreigners visiting Southport might have looked at this corner of the island and marveled that a town could host such contrasting occasions. Tomorrow it should be bats rather than clubs twirling in celebration, although Somerset bowlers will want to say something about that.


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