Roman Walker column - 2nd XI defeat Somerset

12 Apr 2021 | Cricket

In his second column for the Glamorgan website, Roman Walker discusses the dramatic victory at Somerset, and just how bad the conditions were...

In our first game of the season we faced Somerset 2nd XI at Taunton Vale, a strong side who always provide a good game with a good cricket wicket. That was no different for this game, a good pitch with rewards for bowlers and batsman if the concentration and patience was put in.

Our captain for the start of this match was Thomas Cullen and his first job was to win the toss. The coin was flipped and as Tom turned around to look at us he mimed, “bowling” with that little bowling wrist action that every captain does, we knew that we would have the best of the morning conditions and needed to make it count.

The weather for this game was forecasted to be dull, but I don't think any of us could have imagined what was to come. Ice cold winds, blowing heavily into one end. These winds pretty much kept up the whole week, the temperatures differed ever so slightly but nevertheless still very cold. What made the weather even worse was the fact that we had to sit outside on some green plastic chairs in order to watch the game - not the most luxurious of viewing areas!

With restrictions in place due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, we were not allowed the conventional changing room we are usually provided with in Taunton Vale. We were instead given the changing rooms on the other side of the pitch which belonged to the second pitch, more likely used for age group play. From this changing room we couldn’t see the game, which forced everyone to chance their hand at what felt like developing hypothermia to keep an eye on the action. The kettle was constantly boiling, but not to make coffee, I think some lads were just pouring a cup of hot water to keep their hands warm! 

The opening gambits...

We started well with both opening batsmen getting out cheaply for 18 each. From there we then proceeded to embark on a day that would turn out in us spending 99.4 overs in the field before eventually bowling the Somerset side out. The pick of the Somerset batsman was by far Lewis Goldsworthy who batted at number 3, he scored 100 runs before getting out caught deep square leg off Joe Cooke’s clever and well executed bouncer. To follow him were only a handful of batsmen who scored 20 or more runs. 

Somerset were bowled out for 296 from 99.4 overs, a very good bowling performance from our lads. I picked up 3 wickets and Joe Cooke picked up 2 wickets, with a few single wicket figures to follow up myself and Joe. With everyone who bowled picking up at least one wicket, I think that shows how well we bowled as a unit.

Steve Reingold and Joe Cooke then set out, looking to take us past 300 and get a first innings lead. Our solid opening pair looked comfortable at the crease despite a good opening few overs from the Somerset opening bowers. Our first wicket fell in the 6th over with Joe Cooke edging behind for 9. Our next wicket wouldn't fall until the 20th over, Steve Reingold also edging through to the keeper after a very well made 36. After another well made 30 score from our number 3, Connor Brown, we were yet to have someone push onto a 50 plus score.

That was until Andrew Salter and Tom Cullen met at the crease, the pair accumulated a partnership of 126 (Salter 69, Cullen 54). Andrew Salter then got out on 95, hitting a ball to a deep fielder after not quite connecting with it as well as he had been all day. Tom Cullen batted through to the close of play for an unbeaten 81, but unfortunately for Tom this wouldn’t be his first century of the season as he was due to meet up with the first team squad in Yorkshire that night.

The next morning we lost a quick wicket which brought Lukas Carey to the crease, the Pontarddulais enforcer started off positively hitting a four and a two off of a Jack Brooks over to open his account. He went on to score a quick and positive 76 in a classy innings to take Glamorgan’s score to 429 all out, a first innings lead of 133. 

Somerset's second innings...

The second innings had started more positively for the Somerset side being 48/0 off 15 overs. In the 16th over, however, Andy Gorvin, the Cardiff Met medium pacer with deadly accuracy, got the breakthrough dismissing one of the openers by the way of LBW for 16. The saying ‘one brings two’ proved to be correct as in his next over Andy dismissed the remaining opening batsman, well caught by Lukas Carey at mid on leaving Somerset 54/2.

This innings proved to be very similar for Somerset as our bowlers managed to build enough pressure to take consistent wickets and not let any batsman settle. There was however one batsman who did manage to settle in, the in-form Lewis Goldsworthy managed to add to his first innings century with 78 in the second innings before Joe Cooke managed to build enough pressure to force a false shot from the batsman to be caught out by Andrew Salter.

We managed to bowl Somerset out for 291 in 93.1 overs, the pick of the bowlers being Andrew Gorvin with 6-50 off his 18.1 overs, the first 5-wicket haul of the second team season. I managed to pick up another 3 wickets in this innings leaving myself with match figures of 6-105 off 41 overs.

The chase is on...

After an impressive second bowling innings from our lads, we left ourselves 159 to win from 59 overs. Of course, it is never as easy as it sounds as we found ourselves 4 runs for 3 wickets inside 6 overs. However, stand-in captain Andrew Salter set about a small rebuild with Tom Cullen’s replacement batsman, ex-academy player Morgan Bevans. The pair put on 39 runs before Salts was dismissed, and that brought in 17 year old keeper batsman Alex Horton who looked comfortable in his early innings, but unfortunately he edged behind a ball that moved away from him off the pitch.

Lukas Carey was next in, and he brought his first innings batting form to put Glamorgan into the driving seat scoring 45 runs just short of a run-a-ball. When Lukas was dismissed that left us 7 wickets down with 33 runs needed to win, myself and Andy Gorvin at the crease.

In my first few balls I decided to duck a ball from Jack Brooks which was far from short enough to duck, it whacked me in the side of the helmet and after a short break and some concussion questions I was back in the middle ready to go. The next over from Brooks came round and I managed to hit three fours, which took our score to 144/7, with 15 runs needed to win.

That left the door open for Andy Gorvin to smash 10 runs off young quick Sonny Baker the next over, including a beautiful pull shot for 6. Fittingly, he hit the winning runs in the following over from Baker to complete a great win and a great start to the season for the Glamorgan 2nd XI. 

Glamorgan win by 3 wickets - click here for the scorecard.

Despite the weather this was a thoroughly enjoyable match. We saw some good young talents bowling and batting very well in some very tense situations which shows some great potential for them personally and us as a team. On the whole, it was one of the best team performances i have been involved in, in second team cricket. A great all-round performance which left us beaming with confidence ahead of our next game away to Lancashire. 

On a personal level I was really pleased with how I played I bowled 41 overs in the match which has given me the rhythm I was searching for in the pre-season games. I didn't bat too badly either, in the first innings I played a poor shot to get out and I can easily learn from that. In the second innings I showed I can be calm and composed under the pressures of a run chase without being reckless. I have given myself a foundation to improve from and to maximise my chances of breaking into the first team this season, and I feel confident I can do just that.