Sun sets on Somerset and Reeve

Click to follow
The Independent Online

There were two topics of conversation around the stands here yesterday. Both the sunshine and the Somerset coach, Dermot Reeve, have been seen rarely in these parts this summer. When the sun appeared yesterday, it was hot and mocking. When it disappeared, it gave way to storms of biblical ferocity, which arrived after 25 minutes of play and at tea-time. They ensured that a much-truncated day could establish no rhythm, and an intended 6pm resumption was frustrated by a third downpour.

There were two topics of conversation around the stands here yesterday. Both the sunshine and the Somerset coach, Dermot Reeve, have been seen rarely in these parts this summer. When the sun appeared yesterday, it was hot and mocking. When it disappeared, it gave way to storms of biblical ferocity, which arrived after 25 minutes of play and at tea-time. They ensured that a much-truncated day could establish no rhythm, and an intended 6pm resumption was frustrated by a third downpour.

As for Reeve, it has finally been admitted that his media ambitions are not compatible with the duties of a hands-on coach, and that his present contract will not be renewed. His deputy, Kevin Shine, takes over, having arrived at Taunton in 1996 to see out a fast-bowling career that began in his native Berkshire and continued in Hampshire and Middlesex. Somerset's chief executive, Peter Anderson, said: "It was always going to be a trial situation this year. We wanted to keep Dermot on board, but he wanted to further his media interests. To his credit he has changed the culture of the team, in fitness and attitude. He sorted out the dressing room. And, of course, he found us Jamie Cox."

Yesterday, Cox won a toss he might have been happy to lose. You do not lightly choose to bowl on the best batting wicket in the country, but the weather forecast suggested that the strip would be tickled into life at some stage before the covers could protect it. So it proved, but not before Cox himself had feathered a perfect rising ball from Chris Silverwood.

The catcher was Championship debutante Simon Guy, keeping wicket in place of Richard Blakey. A Yorkshire fixture since the 1980s, Blakey's second job as a top-order batsman has been found wanting of late, allowing his understudy an opportunity following a promising game against Zimbabwe.

Mark Lathwell tickled two boundaries through the slips off Matthew Hoggard but never looked at ease. A year or more of injury and recuperation left him vulnerable to a very quick Hoggard off-cutter early in the afternoon. Having played himself in, Piran Holloway clipped Gavin Hamilton to square leg before Peter Bowler and Keith Parsons steadied the Somerset ship.

Comments