Byrom half-century lifts Somerset at Lord’s
PUBLISHED: 17:40 23 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:40 23 September 2020
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Eddie Byrom collected his first half-century of the season as Somerset were forced to recover from early setbacks in their Bob Willis Trophy final against Essex.
Batsman Byrom, whose previous best in the competition was 30, had helped Somerset fight back from 52 for three to reach 119 for four at close on a rain-hit day one.
Fast bowler Sam Cook did the early damage with the ball with two wickets, including the 100th of his first-class career, as Aaron Beard and Jamie Porter also snatched a scalp each at Lord’s.
Heavy grey clouds met the South and Central Group winners for the inaugural Bob Willis Trophy final, a day after autumn officially began.
And those conditions persuaded Essex captain Tom Westley to bowl first having won the toss.
Nick Browne was returned to the Essex line-up, in place of Feroze Khushi, while Somerset elected to leave out Dom Bess and Roelof van der Merwe, with Jack Leach their sole spin option.
Before a ball was bowled, both sets of players, support staff and umpires took a knee to recognise the need for racial equality.
Without a run on the board, Cook made the early breakthrough with the ninth ball of the morning.
The 23-year-old pinned Tom Lammonby, who had scored 343 runs in the group stages, as the batsman attempted to whip a full delivery through mid-wicket.
It handed Cook his century of first-class wickets in only his 34th appearance.
Somerset’s poor start was compounded when Tom Abell and Ben Green fell in quick succession to leave them 52 for three.
Captain Abell attempted to pull Aaron Beard but could only strike into his hip and loop behind – where wicketkeeper Adam Wheater made up good ground before pulling off an impressive diving catch.
Opener Green was equally unlucky as he was on the receiving end of a peach from Cook, although an inside edge helped the ball find the top of off-stump.
Cook eventually ended the day with figures of two for 38.
Somerset, unbeaten in their last 18 red-ball matches, rebuilt slightly before lunch, mainly through the free-flowing bat of Byrom – with every run loudly applauded from head coach Jason Kerr and his staff at the bottom of the iconic pavilion.
The Zimbabwean-born batsman stroked three sumptuous boundaries off Beard – through mid-off, mid-wicket and the covers.
But rain over lunch meant the afternoon’s session was delayed, with 13 overs lost and once play resumed at 2.35pm, Byrom and George Bartlett, who put on 42 together, found themselves stuck on 94 – as Cook and Porter sent down 37 dot balls in an accurate spell.
The 28th of those dots accounted for Bartlett, as Porter played on his impatience by dragging him just outside his off stump, where his drive nicked into Sir Alastair Cook’s hands at first slip.
Steven Davies ended the spell in neutral by taking his side off 94 with a leading-edge boundary through gully.
After 45 minutes, the covers were again brought out as showers saw almost two hours wiped out, before both sides returned to the field for 14.1 overs at just after 5pm.
Only 19 of those balls were able to be bowled before the precipitation returned, although there was time for Byrom to reach fifty.
With his ninth four he caressed a straight drive down the ground for his fifth first-class 50 – which came in 82 balls – and will return in the morning on 51.
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