Recent Match Report – Somerset vs Kent 2022

Somerset 195 for 9 (Goldsworthy 93*, Gilchrist 5-55) vs Kent

Would you rather be waiting overnight on a hat-trick or a hundred?

The answer here at Canterbury was surely the former. Because Nathan Gilchrist, previously of Somerset, already has five wickets against his old team. In doing so, he has helped reduce them to 195 for 9. In Kent’s battle against relegation, the three bowling points go some way to preserving their Division One status for 2023.

Confirming that is more important than the feats of an individual, even if this was Gilchrist’s first five-wicket haul of the season – and second overall in a first-class career that only began after making the shift across the south in 2020. One imagines the 22-year-old won’t mind all that much if Jack Brooks keeps him out first thing on Tuesday morning provided he’s seen off sharpish.

Lewis Goldsworthy, 93 not out, is the other side of this hypothetical coin. The standout piece of resistance in a Somerset line-up who were undone by a relentlessly straight approach, with all nine dismissals hitting stumps, front pads or hands behind the wicket. The 21-year-old was not totally immune, edging behind but surviving with just five to his name. But this was an innings of learning from that misstep rather than riding luck. On another surface he might have been tested with some short stuff, but he answered all further questions posed to him, and few would begrudge a second career century. The county’s young player of the year in 2021 has grown into a reliable presence with red and white ball in 2022.

Somerset had guaranteed their safety with victory over Northamptonshire last week. Kent, even after their surprise victory over Hampshire, still had that little bit more to do. A 14-point gap between them and ninth-placed Warwickshire meant a degree of comfort coming into a fixture that a month ago looked like being a “48-pointer”. Kent were also reinforced by Zak Crawley, returning to competitive action following a match- and series-winning 69 not out against South Africa at the Oval, along with Joe Denly who missed the Hampshire win to attend the birth of his third child. A freak injury to Ben Compton, who fell at home fetching a glass of water and hurt his side, ruled him out and means his season ends on an impressive 1,193 runs, four hundreds and an average of 54.22.

Overnight and early rain meant play only began at 12pm in Canterbury – an hour and a half late. It was greeted with more apathy than up at Edgbaston where the hosts, needing to force a full-points win, only began their day one at 2:15pm.

The maths was straightforward: 11 points would guarantee safety even if Warwickshire managed the unlikely, which equates to a draw and three bonus points. The latter was achieved with what turned out to be the final ball of the day when Gilchrist removed Sajid Khan lbw. They had their first within 28 minutes of play.

Skipper Jack Leaning, who lost the toss with counterpart Tom Abell choosing to bat first, was involved in the opening dismissals. Sharp catches at second slip helped dismiss Tom Lammonby from the fourth ball of the match – delivered by Matthew Quinn – and then Abell himself off Gilchrist. When Andrew Umeed, making his first class debut for Somerset after Pakistan international Imam-Ul-Haq returned home, was trapped in front by Quinn, Somerset were reeling on 9 for 3.

A fourth should have come sooner, but Ollie Robinson, off to Durham at the end of the summer, shelled a tough low chance to give Goldsworthy his life. When it did arrive – George Bartlett, six balls after the lunch break – Robinson claimed a simpler chance to make it up to Gilchrist. By then, however, Barlett had given a bit back with an engaging 28 from 30 deliveries: proactive beyond four boundaries, walking at bowlers early on, including when pulling Joey Evison for a six into the light blue seats under one of the floodlights at midwicket.

Goldsworthy, who was 12 off 24 at the time, was clearly roused by his partner’s pluck, driving imperiously in the middle session as further inroads were made at the other end. Connor McKerr, on loan from Surrey, had left-hander James Rew caught smartly by Daniel Bell-Drummond tumbling to his right at third slip before Quinn nipped one through Ben Green to make it 116 for 6.

Then, finally, Goldsworthy had some meaningful support in the form of Craig Overton. Quite apart from the ball being older than 40 overs old – the point when this Dukes stops playing ball – their 112-ball partnership for the seventh wicket brought 79 runs with minimal fuss. There was diligence ensuring the score was ticking over without missing out on anything slightly awry, particularly as Goldsworthy’s area for driving expanded with his confidence.

The half-century came from 97 deliveries and featured seven fours, and that boundary count doubled in the space of 38 before finishing with 149 balls to his name after playing out a maiden in the penultimate over of the day and watching the late carnage from the sanctity of the nonstriker’s end.

Kasey Aldridge, who played out six dots from Gilchrist, was caught behind before Khan came and went for a first-ball duck. No. 11 Brooks did make the fateful walk out to the middle to face the hat-trick ball only to be spared any immediate blushes when drops of rain fell from those clouds that had created a gloom that would have brought out the light meters.

Brooks will have to do the walk again tomorrow, with Goldsworthy at the other end perhaps focusing more on his partner seeing out the over than the seven runs he has left to get.

Vithushan Ehantharajah is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo

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