Somerset left to rue cost of sloppy fielding

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The Independent Online

Catches may win matches, but in the bustle of one-day cricket slack ground fielding can just as easily lose them, as Somerset discovered here yesterday. The biggest crowd of the season had squeezed themselves around the Taunton boundaries in the hope of seeing the home side return to the top of the National League but Yorkshire's greater all-round discipline saw them through to win by 32 runs with nine balls remaining.

Catches may win matches, but in the bustle of one-day cricket slack ground fielding can just as easily lose them, as Somerset discovered here yesterday. The biggest crowd of the season had squeezed themselves around the Taunton boundaries in the hope of seeing the home side return to the top of the National League but Yorkshire's greater all-round discipline saw them through to win by 32 runs with nine balls remaining.

This equation disguises the fact that Somerset, for whom wicketkeeper Rob Turner opened for the second time this season, remained ahead of the game for much of their reply and were never out of the hunt until desperate wickets began to tumble at the end. The chase lacked an organiser to keep it going, and Turner was the main culprit. After making 44 pugnacious runs he tried one silly reverse sweep too many, and surrendered tamely.

Peter Bowler, batting in a strikingly different situation than when compiling an average-massaging 139 not out in a dead draw on Saturday, took up the baton but also perished limply, punting back one that held up to the gentle medium-pacer Gary Fellows.

For Yorkshire, an undefeated fourth-wicket stand between Anthony McGrath, who returned to the side last month after a persistent knee injury, and Gavin Hamilton doubled the visitors score. Until their final acceleration Yorkshire were reasonably contained by Somerset, but the bowling discipline was crucially compromised by fielding more suited to an inter-departmental office friendly.

Fumbles turned singles into twos, and boundaries squeezed through lazy legs. It was sometimes hard to credit that one was watching title contenders.

The most experienced one-day bowler on either side, Paul Jarvis - a Yorkshire man hired on a match-by-match basis by Somerset - was suitably entrusted with the penultimate over. McGrath took 19 from it, scoring off every ball, including a huge six that rattled onto the roof of the scorers' eyrie.

Vic Craven and Simon Widdup had started steadily for the visitors, and Darren Lehmann - taking charge of Yorkshire in the absence of David Byas, being operated on today for a torn cartilage - upped the rate, but above it was McGrath's 85 in 77 balls that gave him a total to defend. Somerset were left to rue the 20 or more runs that there palsied fielding had gifted to Yorkshire.

Elsewhere in the National League First Division, Martin McCague, better known for his bowling, scored 56 for Kent as they beat Leicestershire by 75 runs at Canterbury.

Surrey extended their lead at the top of the Second Division to 12 points as they beat Middlesex by five wickets at Lord's despite Mark Ramprakash continuing his return to form with the bat by scoring 53 of the home side's runs in a total of 167 for 8.

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