Brian Rose's time in charge at Somerset ends with emphatic victory
SOMERSET finished as runners-up in a major domestic competition for the seventh time in three years – but this time, instead of despair and deflation, the overriding feelings were of pride and triumph.
After Brian Rose had said an emotional goodbye as director of cricket following eight years at the helm, and after the club flag on the Andy Caddick pavilion had been lowered for another season, the talk was more of what had been achieved than what had not.
Somerset were staring at a mid-table finish in Division One of the LV= County Championship before dramatically chasing 396 on the final day at Sussex last week and then blitzing relegated Worcestershire these past few days.
Somerset dominated Worcestershire for three days – and that was all they needed to secure an innings and 148-run victory, with Pakistan spinner Abdur Rehman claiming remarkable match figures of 14-101.
17th Edition 8 way fuse boards prevent fires & improve electrical safety. Save £28 on 8 way fuse boards for a limited time only with A & D Electrical.
Terms: Bristol and Bath areas.
Contact: 0117 2448240
Valid until: Monday, May 20 2013
How Somerset will hope the 32-year-old's international calendar allows him to return to Taunton for at least part of next season, after he took 27 wickets at 14.18 in only four appearances.
The victory over Worcestershire offered an interesting snapshot of Somerset's season of 'what might have been', with Marcus Trescothick, who scored 146, and Nick Compton, who contributed an unbeaten 155, having missed seven and five Championship matches, respectively.
Key bowlers Steve Kirby and Alfonso Thomas both also missed seven matches, while Craig Kieswetter missed five and Jos Buttler four. Somerset only had an overseas player for nine of their 16 games.
But, when all was said and done, there was a justified sense of achievement in the home changing room at Taunton long into last night.
"If you go upstairs, you will see a very strong changing room – and I think you saw by Brian Rose's tribute what this club means to people," said Compton, who, when Somerset declared on 512-9, was stranded, if that is the word, on 1,494 first-class runs for the season at 99.60.
"To be a strong part of that means a lot to me. If you look at the adversity we've had, to come back and finish second is testament to the ethos here and the fact we keep plugging away and pushing.
"This changing room is blessed with talent – there are some very, very good players here. If we could have everyone playing together for 16 games, there's no doubt that we would have won more trophies."
When asked directly whether his future was at Taunton, amid some chatter linking him with a switch to Surrey, Compton said: "I think so. I've got a year left on my contract and I intend to see that through."
Compton saw things through yesterday, resuming on 114 as Somerset began day three on 451-7, a lead of 239. Thomas, who has signed a new two-year deal at Taunton, was leg-before to give Alan Richardson the 500th first-class wicket of his career.
Rehman then picked out Alexei Kervezee at mid-off, before Somerset's declaration gave them a lead of exactly 300.
From the moment Pete Trego had Phil Hughes caught behind for four to claim his 50th championship victim of the summer, it never felt as if the relegated visitors would take the contest into a final day.
Rehman had Daryl Mitchell caught in the slips by James Hildreth for 18, and wickets fell regularly after lunch, with only Kervezee (76) offering any resistance as his side were dismissed for 152.
Neil Pinner was lbw to Thomas, Moeen Ali cut Craig Overton's third delivery to Trescothick in the slips, and Aneesh Kapil and Brett D'Oliveira were both bowled by similar deliveries from Rehman as they played defensively.
With Somerset sensing a swift finish, Ben Cox pulled Kirby to midwicket, Chris Russell was held by Trego off Rehman at leg slip, Nick Harrison played on to Thomas and Kervezee was eventually, and fittingly, dismissed by Rehman.
Somerset, who have been linked with a move for Surrey batsman Rory Hamilton-Brown, will pocket around £212,000 for finishing second – £162,000 of which will be split among the players.