Essex. . . . . 140 and 193
Essex won by 136 runs
SOMERSET enjoyed the luxury of a leisurely tea yesterday, a game of swings and roundabouts finishing in their favour before a refreshing cuppa became obligatory. They could relax and celebrate their seventh win of the summer and the haul of 21 points that saw them leap- frog Essex in the Championship.
As for the visitors, they may have been reaching for something a little stronger if one newspaper columnist is to be taken at his word. 'At Lord's,' he noted, 'I looked up at our lads on the balcony, sprawling in their shorts, T-shirts and stubble - Essex Men on their way to a lager-drinking contest.' Come the lunch interval at Clarence Park and Essex Men were busy looking for him.
Set a target of 330 and with nearly two days to get them, they came apart badly at the seams as title hopes dipped to the sound of clattering wickets, all 10 disappearing in 56 overs.
There was no hint of impending quick-fire defeat when Graham Rose plucked out John Stephenson with his third ball. However, it was the 13th over of the innings and 29 for one became 85 for four when Andy Caddick ripped out Jonathan Lewis, Nicholas Knight and Paul Prichard in 27 balls at a cost of 15 runs. Essex lurched deeper and deeper into trouble, until Mark Ilott and Peter Such made a last-wicket 50 before Somerset could put their feet up. And if lager is the favourite Essex tipple, then the Australian Mark Kasprowicz surely earned a tinny or two.
Kasprowicz may be packing his bags at the end of this term, Essex re-signing Mark Waugh, another of his fellow countryman, for next season. But in this match he had spared them a few blushes early with bat - in saving the follow on - and ball.
Kasprowicz made an unbeaten 42 in the first innings, Essex at one stage 57 for seven. And the figure seven was to feature again in his repertoire as he claimed a career best seven for 83. He will be missed.
As for Somerset, they had resumed seven down and with a lead of 299 - Kasprowicz having already collected five scalps - and had the 18-year-old Marcus Trescothick to thank for their position in the match even though his score was not quite all it was made out to be.
Trescothick had apparently gone for 96 but, before play yesterday, one of his boundaries was re-classified as leg-byes. And if he had made a hundred? 'We would have let it stand,' said one of the scorers.
Meanwhile, Somerset had pressed ahead on the back of a flourishing partnership between Rose and Caddick, Kasprowicz ending the stand at 46 when he had Rose leg before and finishing off the innings by removing Harvey Trump. As it was, Somerset had more than enough in hand.