Somerset County Cricket Club: A Brief History and Achievements

Sports FansCricket Somerset County Cricket Club: A Brief History and Achievements
Somerset County Cricket Club

boiniznamenaSomerset County Cricket Club is one of the oldest and most prestigious cricket clubs in England. Founded in 1875, the club represents the historic county of Somerset in the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales.

The club has its headquarters at the County Ground, Taunton, where it plays most of its home matches. Somerset has competed in the County Championship, the first-class cricket competition, since 1891 and has also participated in various limited-overs competitions, such as the Vitality Blast and the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Somerset has never won the County Championship, but has won several other trophies in its history. In this article, we will explore the history and achievements of Somerset County Cricket Club in more detail.

The Early Years of Somerset County Cricket Club

Somerset County Cricket Club was founded in 1875 by a group of cricket enthusiasts who wanted to promote the game in the county. The club initially played as a minor county, meaning that it did not have official first-class status and its matches were not considered important.

However, Somerset soon gained recognition for its strong performances against other minor counties and some of the major counties, such as Lancashire, Surrey, and Middlesex. Somerset also had some notable players in its ranks, such as W.G. Grace, the legendary batsman who played for Somerset in 1879 and 1881.

In 1891, Somerset joined the County Championship, the official first-class cricket competition, and became a major county. Somerset played its first County Championship match against Lancashire at Old Trafford in 1892. Somerset struggled to compete with the established teams in the early years of the County Championship and often finished at the bottom of the table.

Somerset’s first notable achievement came in 1905, when it finished third in the County Championship, behind Yorkshire and Kent. Somerset’s captain that year was Lionel Palairet, a stylish batsman who scored over 10,000 runs for the club.

The Golden Age of Somerset County Cricket Club

Somerset entered a golden age in the 1920s and 1930s, when it had some of the finest players in the country. The most famous of them was Harold Gimblett, a prolific and explosive batsman who made his debut for Somerset in 1935.

Gimblett scored a century in his first innings, a feat that has never been repeated by any other Somerset player. Gimblett went on to score over 20,000 runs for Somerset and played for England in three Test matches.

Another star player for Somerset in this period was Arthur Wellard, a fast bowler and hard-hitting batsman who could change the course of a match with his skills. Wellard took over 1,500 wickets and scored over 10,000 runs for Somerset, making him one of the most successful all-rounders in the history of the club. Wellard also holds the record for the most sixes hit in first-class cricket, with 500.

Somerset came close to winning the County Championship several times in the 1920s and 1930s, but always fell short of the title. Somerset’s best finish was second in 1936, when it was only one point behind the champions, Derbyshire. Somerset also reached the final of the Gillette Cup, the first limited-overs competition, in 1967, but lost to Kent by five wickets.

The Modern Era of Somerset County Cricket Club

Somerset finally broke its trophy drought in the late 1970s, when it won both the Gillette Cup and the John Player League in 1979. Somerset had a formidable team in this era, led by Brian Rose, a shrewd captain and opening batsman.

Somerset also had some of the best overseas players in the world, such as Viv Richards, Ian Botham, and Joel Garner. Richards was arguably the greatest batsman of his generation, who scored over 8,000 runs for Somerset and played a key role in their success.

Botham was a charismatic and versatile all-rounder, who took over 800 wickets and scored over 10,000 runs for Somerset and England. Garner was a fearsome fast bowler, who took over 500 wickets for Somerset and was part of the legendary West Indies team that dominated world cricket.

Somerset continued to win trophies in the 1980s and 1990s, winning the Gillette Cup in 1981 and 1983, the Benson & Hedges Cup in 1981 and 1982, and the Sunday League in 1990. Somerset also reached the final of the NatWest Trophy in 1988 and 1992, but lost to Worcestershire and Warwickshire respectively.

Somerset had some notable players in this period, such as Peter Roebuck, a cerebral captain and batsman, Marcus Trescothick, a prolific opener and England star, and Andy Caddick, a consistent and accurate fast bowler.

Somerset entered the new millennium with high hopes, but also faced some challenges. Somerset was relegated from the first division of the County Championship in 2003, but bounced back to the top tier in 2007.

Somerset also reached the final of the Twenty20 Cup, the new format of cricket, in 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2017, but only won it in 2005 and 2023. Somerset also reached the final of the Royal London One-Day Cup in 2010, 2011, 2019, and 2020, but only won it in 2019. Somerset’s most consistent performer in this era was James Hildreth, a stylish and elegant batsman who scored over 15,000 runs for the club.

Somerset is still chasing its elusive first County Championship title, having finished second six times since 2001. Somerset’s current captain is Lewis Gregory, an all-rounder who leads a talented and balanced squad. Somerset’s current overseas players are Will Sutherland, a young and promising Australian all-rounder, and Babar Azam, a world-class Pakistani batsman.

And Somerset has a loyal and passionate fan base, who support the club through thick and thin. Somerset is also committed to developing the game at the grassroots level, with a strong academy and a partnership with the Somerset Cricket Board. Somerset is a proud and historic club, with a rich and glorious past, and a bright and hopeful future.