Rain watch: Andrew Cosgrove has good news. “If this rain is the same rain that passed over South London not long ago, it will be very heavy but only last about 10 minutes. So hopefully we’ll be back up playing again before too long.”
RAIN! 84th over: Somerset 255-5 (Byrom 109, C Overton 59)
Proper hosing it down now.
83rd over: Somerset 250-5 (Byrom 105, C Overton 58) The sun has now disappeared, the patch of blue moving swiftly above the North Gate and beyond, and thick, grey, pillows of cloud switch into its place. Simon Harmer bowls his first post-lunch over which Overton prods uneasily at.
An Essex man speaks: Simon Porter’s taps from the heart. “In reply to Geoff, it is my understanding that should the game be drawn, in whatever fashion, the team with a first innings lead will be declared winners. Unfortunately for Essex it looks increasingly likely that may be to Somerset’s advantage.”
A happy moment:
81st over: Somerset 250-5 (Byrom 105, C Overton 58) Tis sunny now and the long limbs of the floodlights appear as shadows on the delicious looking grass. You could make a nice soup from it. Byrom briefly troubled by a snifter from Porter but it billows over Alastair Cook’s head.
Do email me your thoughts at the usual address firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter if you’d prefer @tjaldred.
79th over: Somerset 245-5 (Byrom 105, C Overton 54) That was Byrom’s first hundred against a county. What a time to do it! He grew up in Zimbabwe but came over to the UK as a late teenager to finish his education. He and Overton have now put on over a hundred for the sixth wicket. And I was dubious that they’d need that fifth day…
A hundred for Eddie Byrom!
And with an on drive, he’s done it!. His third first class hundred, at his first appearance at Lord’s; he punches the air in delight as whoops from his teammates sitting on the dressing-room balcony and in the pavilion seats echo round the ground. Applause from Essex too.
The hover cover is pushed to its resting place by the media centre. “Good morning Tanya.” Good afternoon Geoff, sorry your email has been waiting a while. “All too easy to picture how this will finish: final session; Essex hanging on grimly at nine down and fifty behind with half an hour left. Then the heavens open, ending play and leaving Essex as champions courtesy of their two run first-innings lead. No Somerset supporters are the least surprised.”
So in the box, where there is a shortage of milk but plenty of coffee, they tell me Overton should have been out twice, and that Harmer was bowling pretty well but was being attacked as much as possible by Overton and Byrom. The sun is out but the covers are still on. Precautionary. I think. Ah, that’s the Lord’s bell. Tolls for thee, etc.
Lunch: 77 overs Somerset 233-5 (Byrom 97, C Overton 51)
Thanks for your patience! Lord’s is looking magnificent in its autumn-ness and the new stands rise like huge ocean liners either side of the media centre.
61st over: Somerset 187-5 (Byrom 78, C Overton 26) Essex leak a third boundary in a row as Beard over pitches and Overton casually shoves him to square leg! Next ball he survives an lbw shout that looked close enough to plague the umpire’s dreams.
I’ve now got to get from Euston to Lord’s so bear with us….
60th over: Somerset 178-5 (Byrom 77, C Overton 18) That’s enough of that Craig! Westley turns to Harmer and gives Porter a deserved rest. But, whadda you know, Byrom makes whoopee, thrashing his fifth and sixth balls to the boundary.
58th over: Somerset 162-5 (Byrom 67, C Overton 13) Overton doing what Overton does, swings at Beard and gets a thick edge to the third man boundary. They all pause for a sanitation and drinks break.
RIP Dean Jones
Very sad news from Mumbai where Dean Jones has died at the age of 59.
56th over: Somerset 155-5 (Byrom 65, C Overton 8) Westley feels the need for a change and Porter’s morning’s toil is done for now. Beard bustles in and has Byrom playing and missing straight away, before Overton edges him through the slips for four. Byrom stings Porter through mid-on the first ball of the next over.
54th over: Somerset 145-5 (Byrom 58, C Overton 4) Overton, huge, it feels like he could reach one of those enormous arms down to scratch his ankles without bending his knee, turns Porter off his ankles for four. There is now an established pattern to this innings: tight, miserly, bowling broken up either by wickets or booming boundaries.
52nd over: Somerset 139-5 (Byrom 57, C Overton 0) In an act of great self restraint, Craig Overton plays out the four remaining balls of Cook’s over. Somerset need to ensure they reach 200 by slog or by stroke.
WICKET! Davies c Wheater b S Cook 27
Well deserved! Davies has a vague poke and edges into the hands of Wheater.
50th over: Somerset 138-4 (Byrom 56, Davies 27) And then quite suddenly (just like Us), one got Better and the other got Wuss. Porter bowled five dots and beat the bat, Cook overpitched, Byrom hit him full and fat.
48th over: Somerset 132-4 (Byrom 52, Davies 25) It’s a novella of two ends. Yet another maiden for Cook (20-8-38-2) while Porter leaks two fours, Davies sliding him through the slips before cover driving to the ropes next ball.
46th over: Somerset 124-4 (Byrom 52, Davies 17) And they start where they left off yesterday, a miserly maiden from Sam Cook and a lone boundary from Davies who slides Porter through third man.
The players are out and Jamie Porter has the ball in his hand…
Gary Naylor is in combative mood and I haven’t had a coffee yet.
I agree for sure but I think this year they are constrained by time. They’ve set up this Professional Game Group to assess the options (chief execs from Notts, Sussex, Durham and Surrey) and then the agreed proposal needs to be passed by the county chairmen by a majority of two thirds. And then it returns to the fixture dept at ECB towers. They definitely need to do a public/ PCA consultation before making any permanent changes.
An early email zips in, bright and breezy, from Paul McIntyre.
“I’m sure you’ve seen the comments from Rod Bransgrove and Tom Abell. I very much support them. The ECB needs to explain publicly the rationale for any proposals to change to the Championship and not hide behind Covid. The champions should, in normal times, be the team that does best over the whole season. And Covid should not be the pretext for reducing the number of matches, unless it is absolutely necessary: we should not be planning on that basis.
“I do feel that part of the ECB’s problem, as far as many cricket fans are concerned, is their practice of airing proposals in media briefing instead of publishing them so that there can be a proper debate.”
For those who weren’t here yesterday, Bransgrove spoke to Cricinfo about the future of the Championship – he’s in favour – and was backed up by young Somerset captain Tom Abell, who said:
“In the immediate future, it’s obviously very special to be involved in a Lord’s final given the Covid situation. It’s as good as we possibly could have had. But personally, I’m a big advocate of of the County Championship. Over the course of 14 or 16 games, the best team will often prevail and I think that’s the way it should be.”
To be fair to the ECB, I think they are trying to find a solution for next year as soon as possible – the sooner the counties can agree on something the better as they are aiming to get the fixtures out for early November – when counties can start to sell memberships to try and improve their financial situation in the current troublesome climate.
Hello from somewhere outside Stoke on Trent where the sun is on the rise and autumn has taken a temporary back step into the cupboard. That’s a convoluted way of saying updates during the first session may be somewhat haphazard – but I’m sure we’ll muddle through.
Vic has filed his weather report from NW8: “Blue sky outside the window..prospects good…play extended to 6pm…breezy…extra sweater may be a good idea. Though not necessarily on the sofa.”
The day has been stretched somewhat after yesterday’s rain. Weather permitting, and it looks as if it will, there should be 98 overs. The three sessions will run 10-30-12.30, 13.20-15.30 and 15.50-18.00. Close of play will be 6pm or the completion of the overs, whichever is the later.
Here is Vic’s little bit of perfection on yesterday’s play.