Recent Match Report – Somerset vs Hampshire Division 1 2022

Somerset 180 and 15 for 0 trail Hampshire 428 (Weatherley 168, Holland 81, Vince 56) by 233 runs

Joe Weatherley made his highest first-class score in a masterful knock as Hampshire racked up a massive first-innings lead in their LV= Insurance County Championship encounter with Somerset.

Opening batter Weatherley had only previously scored one first-class century, 126 not out against Lancashire in 2018, but waltzed to a brilliant 168. Ian Holland and the typically stylish James Vince notched half-centuries as Hampshire rode to 428 and a first-innings advantage of 248 runs.

Ben Green, after taking 3 for 31, and Tom Lammonby weathered six overs under the lights to end the day 15 without loss.

During one of the many rain delays during a soggy Bob Willis Trophy meeting with Essex in 2020, Weatherley approached Alastair Cook for some advice. The biggest takeaway from a wide-ranging discussion about the mental, physical, tactical and technical aspects of opening the batting was Cook’s habit of “making big scores when he gets in”.

Last season Weatherley only mustered a disappointing 406 red ball runs, with a top score of 78, as “getting in” proved difficult. However, his one-day skills increased exponentially, ending up the sixth-highest scorer in the Vitality Blast – which earned him a Hundred contract with Southern Brave earlier this week.

Where in the previous winter those white-ball abilities were at the forefront of his training, this off-season he sought to rebalance his attention. A lean pre-season saw more focus on his position in the team, with worries that he might be the weak link in Hampshire’s push for a first Championship since 1973.

But the winter work with coaches Tony Middleton, Jimmy Adams and Graeme Welch appeared to pay dividends on a helpful pitch. Weatherley concentrated on a more side-on and compact stance, which when coupled with his stillness, has helped improve his alignment and allowed him to play the ball later. The white-ball advancement has also prevented him going into his shell.

The highly-popular Weatherley brought up his 179-ball century with a drive through midwicket. He needed a moment to compose himself before raising his bat to a packed home balcony and receiving a long hug from Nick Gubbins.

Opening partner Holland was equally confident in his 81, as the duo wiped out exactly Somerset’s first-innings score of 180 in domineering style. Holland departed when turning to leg slip, but not before celebrating Hampshire’s highest first-wicket stand since 2016.

Somerset’s inexperienced attack toiled for most of the day but found a purple patch on either side of the second new ball. Gubbins feathered behind for an aesthetically pleasing 37, Weatherley was bowled shouldering arms – a maiden Somerset scalp for Peter Siddle – and Liam Dawson cut to cover off Ned Leonard.

Vince began his season with a dismissive back-foot drive to the cover boundary as he totted up runs at a rapid rate – his half-century coming in 64 deliveries – as Hampshire’s score kept rising.

The captain was lbw for 56 and James Fuller was caught behind, before Green belatedly entered the attack to claim a career-best three-for – Ben Brown jabbed him to midwicket, Felix Organ was knocked over and Kyle Abbott lost his off stump. A run out ended the Hampshire innings before Abbott and Keith Barker gave Green and Tom Lammonby a working over in a tricky end of day spell.

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