Yorkshire 520 (Ballance 111, Kohler-Cadmore 102, Brook 101, Maharaj 72, Bess 4-130) beat Somerset 196 (Maharaj 7-52) and 251 (Banton 63, Abell 53, Patterson 4-54) by an innings and 73 runs
“We Are Somerset” proclaimed the back of the coach ready to take a chastened side back to Taunton after their innings-and-73 run defeat against Yorkshire at Headingley. If the Burley Banksy had been around, he might have been tempted to daub the words “and we’re a little bit concerned.”
Fortunately for Somerset, Andy McVeigh’s sports-related offerings tend to concentrate on Leeds United so there will be no need for a full valet. Well, not of the coach anyway, the team might be a different matter. As it is, they go into the T20 Blast with the leadership conceded and Essex now holding a four-point cushion after their defeat of Warwickshire at Chelmsford. Inquests will have to wait.
Somerset have now lost to their two nearest challengers, Essex and Yorkshire, away from home, and might well need to reverse those results when they face them at Taunton later in the season if they are to secure the first Championship in their history. Yorkshire are third, some distance away, but the Yorkshire Post is refusing to concede so while that is the case we are all duty bound to pretend they still have a chance.
Things went awry for Somerset from the moment they stuck Yorkshire in on the first morning. They conceded 520, crumbled against the left-arm spin of Keshav Maharaj in their first innings and then surrendered their last six wickets to Yorkshire on the final day – four to the captain Steven Patterson – with lunch still 15 minutes away.
Somerset captain Tom Abell was all stern-faced pragmatism, insisting that they “had reasons for wanting to bowl on the first morning” and that “hindsight’s a beautiful thing”.
He went on: “We were comprehensively outplayed in all three facets of the game by a good Yorkshire side. We weren’t good enough from day one, and we paid the price for that. The reality is we’ve had a fantastic campaign up until now, and there’s still a huge amount to play for. It’s a blip. We lost at Essex and bounced back really well from that result. We’ll be looking to do the same again.”
Patterson was able to wallow in the satisfaction of three hundreds in the top seven, a 10-wicket haul for Maharaj in a match where Somerset badly missed Jack Leach, who was absent on England Lions duty, and to top things off four wickets for himself on the final morning to reach 400 first-class wickets. It has been a long road – they have taken him until he is 35 – but they have come at a respectable average, 27.73, which talks of seasons of reliable service.
Four wickets in the first hour at Headingley put paid to any talk about Somerset saving the game. Nightwatchmen are not expected to be magicians, but Tim Groenwald’s giveaway shot, driving a wide one from Matt Fisher to point, signalled as early as the second over of the day that Somerset did not have a united desire to dig in for all they were worth.
That was exposed not by Maharaj, but by Patterson. He brought one back to it Tom Banton’s middle stump – Banton had moved on to 63 – squeezed one past Dom Bess’ forward push to clip off stump and then benefited from a horribly mistimed drive as Steve Davies fell at mid-off.
The Overtons in batting harness is normally diverting viewing for Somerset supporters but by then it was scant consolation. Maharaj was hit for two straight sixes by Craig Overton, but he ousted Jamie Overton lbw to claim his 10th in the match. Patterson then took the new ball and trapped Craig Overton lbw in the 83rd.
Maharaj hit 72 with the bat in the latter stages of Yorkshire’s 520 before claiming match figures of 10 for 127 from 60.3 overs. This was the last of his initial three-game overseas stint with the county, but it is little wonder that Yorkshire are in discussions with Cricket South Africa regarding a brief extension to his deal when the Championship returns.