Somerset County Cricket Club

Somerset County Cricket Club

Infobox cricket team
county = Somerset County Cricket Club

oneday = Somerset Sabres
coach = flagicon|England Andy Hurry
captain = flagicon|Australia Justin Langer
overseas = flagicon|Australia Justin Langer
founded = 1875
ground = Taunton
capacity = 6,500
fcdebutvs = Lancashire
fcdebutyr = 1882
fcdebutvenue = Old Trafford
title1 = Championship
title1wins = 0
title2 = Pro40
title2wins = 1
title3 = FP Trophy
title3wins = 3
title4 = Twenty20 Cup
title4wins = 1
website = [ SomersetCountyCC]

Somerset County Cricket Club is one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English domestic cricket structure, representing the historic county of Somerset. Its limited overs team is called the Somerset Sabres. The club has its headquarters at the County Cricket Ground, Taunton. First-class games are also played at Bath. Former grounds include Weston-super-Mare, Frome, Glastonbury, Wells and the Imperial Tobacco ground in south Bristol.


* County Championship (0) - ; shared (0) -
* Gillette/NatWest/C&G/Friends Provident Trophy (3) - 1979, 1983, 2001
* Sunday/Pro 40 League (1) - 1979
* Twenty20 Cup (1) - 2005
* Benson & Hedges Cup (2) - 1981, 1982

econd XI honours

* Second XI Championship (2) - 1994, 2004; shared (0) -
* Second XI Trophy (0) -
* Minor Counties Championship (2) - 1961, 1965; shared (0) -

Earliest cricket

Cricket probably reached Somerset by the end of the 17th century. It is known that the related sport of "Stow-Ball" "aka" "Stob-Ball" was played in the county during the 16th century. In this game, the bat was called a "stave". See Alice B. Gomme : "The Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland".

The earliest confirmed reference to cricket in Somerset is a match on 13 July 1751 that was played in memory of the late Frederick, Prince of Wales who was a noted patron of the sport.

Origin of club

The formation of Somerset CCC was on 18 August 1875 by a team of amateurs at a meeting in Sidmouth, Devon immediately after a match against a local side. Somerset is the only one of the present first-class counties in English cricket whose county cricket club was founded outside the boundaries of the traditional county.

Somerset CCC played its initial first-class match "versus" Lancashire CCC at Old Trafford on 8, 9 and 10 June 1882 and joined the (then unofficial) County Championship, but for only four seasons initially.

In 1886, Somerset did not play any other first-class counties and dropped out of the Championship until 1891. Somerset was then able to arrange 12 matches against first-class counties and so force its way back into the Championship, which was now an official competition. Somerset CCC is therefore recognised as a first-class team from 1882 until 1885 and from 1891 to the present day.

There are alternative versions of Somerset's first-class matchlist in the 19th century. For more information, see Variations in First-Class Cricket Statistics.

Pre First World War

Somerset was the first of the "new" counties to have enough fixtures against the established county teams to be considered as part of the County Championship. In their second season, 1892, they finished third, but it was to be 66 years before they finished as high again. Bottom of the table 12 times (plus one shared wooden spoon), they enjoyed over many decades a reputation for cheerful inconsistency. Until the Second World War, the team regularly comprised a number of more or less talented amateurs and just a handful of professionals.

Famous names from the pre-First World War period included the England players Sammy Woods, Lionel Palairet and Len Braund, and the fast bowler Tom Richardson also played for the county after his retirement from Surrey.

Between the Wars

Between the wars, the west Somerset farmer Jack White played for England as an off-spinning all-rounder with some success; lesser international careers were enjoyed by the hard-hitting batsman Harold Gimblett, whose entry into first-class cricket was the stuff of legends, and by Arthur Wellard, fast bowler and a mighty smiter of sixes. The briefest Test match career of them all was "enjoyed" by Jack MacBryan, whose only game for England was the rain-ruined match against the South Africans in 1924, in which he neither batted nor bowled.

Post Second World War

In postwar cricket, the happy-go-lucky Somerset attitude was no longer sustainable, and the side finished bottom of the Championship for four consecutive seasons from 1952. With the strong possibility of going out of business, drastic change was inevitable. Somerset recruited heavily from other countries, taking Colin McCool and Bill Alley from Australia, and from other counties. In 1958, the side again finished third, and this was repeated in 1963 and 1966. In the mid sixties the team was captained by Colin Atkinson, who would later become headmaster at the nearby Millfield school.

Though County Championship success continued to elude the county, Somerset finally found the makings of a successful one-day team under the combative, inspirational captaincy of Yorkshireman Brian Close. A trio of world class players, Viv Richards, Joel 'Big Bird' Garner and the England all-rounder Ian Botham made the team which, for the first time in its long history, became a formidable trophy winning proposition.

Under the captaincy of left handed opener Brian Rose, Somerset won their first ever silverware by taking the Gillette Cup and the Sunday League in 1979, and qualifying for the quarter final of the Benson and Hedges cup after a controversial strike rate declaration against Worcestershire in a zonal match. [ [ Cricinfo - I do declare ] ] Rose also captained the side to lifting the Benson & Hedges Cup in 1981 and 1982, and the renamed NatWest Trophy (formerly the Gillette Cup) in 1983.

New captain Peter Roebuck caused huge controversy in the county when New Zealander Martin Crowe was preferred as overseas pro. Viv Richards and Joel Garner were sacked, despite proving themselves two of the most successful overseas players of modern times, and Ian Botham resigned in protest and moved to Worcestershire.


Success has been elusive in recent years, although New Zealand born Andy Caddick and opener Marcus Trescothick have proved major pillars of the England Test team and overseas stars such as Jamie Cox have given sterling service for the club, resulting in their appearance in the NatWest Trophy in 1999 and the C & G Trophy final in 2001 and 2002, winning in 2001 over Leicestershire. In 2001, the team finished second in the first division of the County Championship, its highest-ever placing. But true to its contrary traditions, the county was relegated to the second division at the end of the following season.

Under the guidance of Director of Cricket Brian Rose, the team has adopted a youth policy, which Rose accepts will lead to a succession of good and bad results in the short term. To balance the youth policy, for two seasons the club was led by high profile overseas stars Ricky Ponting and Graeme Smith to enable coaching of the young group of players. In July 2005, as perhaps a portent of better times to come, the county was the surprise winner of the third Twenty20 Cup, beating Lancashire in the final at The Oval.

The 2006 season was up and down in results, but in June 2006 Rose announced the signing for six weeks of the Australian cricket team opening batsman Justin Langer, while countryman Dan Cullen was on duty with Australia A. [ [ BBC SPORT | Cricket | Counties | Somerset | Langer set to make Somerset move ] ] Langer responded by hitting the highest score in the county's first-class history, but without him the team struggled in both short and long versions of the game, failed to repeat their Twenty20 success and languished at or near the bottom of both County Championship and Pro40 second division tables.

In 2007 Langer, having returned to the team, was named captain. Cameron White was the other overseas player. Somerset's season began brightly, including a county-record 850/7 declared against Middlesex in their first Championship match, but a few weeks later Somerset were on the wrong end of a huge total when they conceded 801/8 declared to Derbyshire. However, they recovered well from this set-back and achieved promotion, returning to Division One of the Championship for the first time since 2002 after beating Essex at Chelmsford with five sessions to spare. [ [ Somerset beat Essex to seal title] BBC Sport - 7 September 2007] They were also promoted to Division One of the Pro40 league.

2008 Squad

Centre of Cricketing Excellence

In line with the club's youth policy, the club has a well developed Centre of Excellence. The Centre of Excellence is an indoor facility and is amongst the best in the South West. The Centre offers coaching for both the County side, the youth team as well as cricket and sports training for all located in the region. Developed under the England and Wales Cricket Board's principles and in conjunction with Sport England, its purpose is to spot and develop cricketing talent and improve overall sports fitness in the region.

It was also used as the venue for Marcus Trescothicks benefit dinner which was hosted by TV and radio star Jeremy Kyle.

omerset Facts and Feats

* Somerset often struggled in their early years. They lost 15 of their 18 matches in the 1910 championship, drawing the other three games.
* Horace Hazell bowled 105 consecutive balls of slow left arm spin against Gloucestershire at Taunton in 1949 without conceding a run. Most of them were bowled to the usually dashing Tom Graveney. Hazell, 39, finished with 8 for 27 in helpful conditions.
* Somerset set their highest ever score, 850 for 7 declared in a high scoring drawn against Middlesex at Taunton in the first game of the 2007 season. Justin Langer scored 315, James Hildreth 116, Cameron White 114 and Peter Trego 114. Owais Shah scored 193 for Middlesex and Billy Godleman, David Nash and Ed Smith also scored tons. 1659 runs were scored in four days for the loss of just 13 wickets. Eight centuries in one match is a County Championship record.

ee also

* County Cricket Ground, Taunton
* List of Somerset cricket captains
* List of Somerset CCC players
* Somerset County Cricket Club First Class Matches


External sources

* [ Somerset CCC Official Site]
* [,,11333,00.html Centre of Excellence]
* [ Somerset First-Class Records] at

Further reading

* H S Altham, "A History of Cricket, Volume 1 (to 1914)", George Allen & Unwin, 1962
* Derek Birley, "A Social History of English Cricket", Aurum, 1999
* Rowland Bowen, "Cricket: A History of its Growth and Development", Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1970
* Roy Webber, "The Playfair Book of Cricket Records", Playfair Books, 1951

* Playfair Cricket Annual – various editions
* Wisden Cricketers Almanack – various editions

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