Taunton Cricket Club arrived at Wembdon in the sunshine and needed a win to maintain any sort of pressure on league leaders Midsomer Norton - and they got it.
Expecting the game to be rain affected Jack Cooper uncharacteristically chose to insert Wembon when he won the toss. Taunton were to have a 20-minute session before the rain came in which Tom Abell and George Cook kept things tight removing Gower for six caught by the only on-side fielder at the time - Graham Fitt - from Abell’s bowling.
The only rain break in the day reduced the game to 42 overs per side. Returning to the pitch Cook opened his account bowling Trunks for 12 and removing Sam Puddy for five shortly after leaving Wembdon struggling on 35 for three.
Opener Harry Bowditch and Brockwell began to rebuild Wembdon’s innings. Both batsmen applied themselves, adding 80 runs in tricky conditions, finding it especially difficult against Jack Cooper who had found his length and bowled a wily spell including six overs that only went for seven runs.
Brockwell was finally bowled and Bowditch stumped by some masterful keeping work by Jon Kerslake both off the bowling of Cook.
Bowditch proved to be a crucial wicket as it left Ian Blackwell with few partners in the last 10 overs of the innings forcing the danger man to farm the strike as much as possible. Abell removed batsmen six, seven and eight while Fitt bowled extremely well going for 21 runs from six overs at the death.
160 from 42 overs was to prove a good score as many of the Taunton batsmen struggled to adjust to the wicket. Indeed, Rob Hake and Tom Abell fell in the first two overs to loud cheers from Wembdon.
Jack Cooper batted with aggression, taking the game to the opposition scoring 29 from 36 balls before mis-hitting a long-hop from Blackwell onto his stumps and after Kelly was removed for six Taunton were struggling at 50 for four after 18 overs.
Chris Davenport had remained solid but quiet at the other end and was joined by Jon Kerslake at number six. Knowing that wickets in hand was Taunton’s only chance the pair set about rebuilding the innings, Kerslake nullifying the left-arm spin of Ian Blackwell.
A partnership of 63 gave Taunton a chance and even when Davenport was caught off the leg-spin of Bowditch for 42 and Rob Dickens came and went cheaply Kerslake remained solid till the end.
George Cook came to the crease needing 44 from 42 balls, a tough ask on any pitch but what he achieved was extraordinary. He smashed 32 runs off 20 balls including an enormous six when he charged the opening bowler Bingham.
He was no doubt aided by the wise words of Kerslake who gave him the strike whenever possible but this was a truly match-winning innings.
For a man to retire from cricket two weeks ago and return with bowling figures of four for 41 and 32 runs off 20 balls with the bat is some achievement.
Hopefully this elongates his career Taunton will surely need him in years to come.
© Cricket World 2014