There was hardly a bed to be had in Taunton yesterday. "It's the last match of the season," said Cathy in the tourist information office by way of explanation. "And it's a big one."
So it was. The County Ground was buzzing, if not full, and to mark the occasion Somerset had done two significant things. First, the club announced that their new members' stand would be named after Marcus Trescothick.
Secondly, they then prepared a pitch for him to bat on that was as green as the ecology movement. It was an obvious ploy to try to ensure that the match would produce a positive result. Somerset need to win to have a realistic chance of taking the Championship pennant for the first time in their history; a draw on an archetypal Taunton "flat 'un" will simply not do.
Nonetheless, the policy more or less demanded winning the toss. Somerset lost it. Trescothick had to bat, though not for long. To his third ball he shaped to play on the leg side and ended up nicking to slip, so appreciable was the seam movement. Trescothick has faced 13 balls and scored one run in his last three innings.
When the other opener, captain Justin Langer, departed shortly after, caught at the wicket, Somerset, a batsman light after omitting Arul Suppiah, were already in some fairly messy stuff out in that long grass.
While Zander de Bruyn hung around longer than might strictly have been expected in the circumstances, it was Peter Trego who allowed Somerset to achieve some semblance of respectability. Though dropped at slip on 27, his 81 from 151 balls was essentially sensible and well-ordered. It was his seventh fifty in a consistent season: no hundreds but an average in the mid-40s. He was given admirably decisive support by Andrew Caddick in a ninth-wicket partnership that enabled Somerset to claim a precious batting point.
Caddick, dropped two matches ago for the first time in his county career, then bowled with some of his old vigour in the evening. It is possible he might feel mildly aggrieved at Trescothick's commemoration for he has played more matches for the county(406 to 334) and made contributions of at least equal significance. He took two quick wickets yesterday thanks to the old Caddick bounce. Lancashire lost four in all, finishing 146 behind and travelling followers of Somerset could go to sleep happier. So long as they could find room.
*Steve Harmison ran through the Kent middle order to give Durham the upper hand in their match at Canterbury. Harmison got 4 for 72 as Kent collapsed from 82 for 2 at lunch to 190 for 9 at tea despite battling efforts from Rob Key (58) and Darren Stevens (41). Harmison's brother Ben also got in on the action and collected 2 for 34.Reuse content