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Somerset back in the big time

Somerset returned to the Premier Division at the first attempt on Saturday after they beat Cleveland County by 81 runs in the play-off match at St John's Field.

Coach Jeff Richardson admits the club will need to pick up a few players if they are to avoid another relegation fight next season, with both Cleveland and Flatts dropping straight back into the First Division.

“I'm happy for the boys, they put the work in, but I think we're lacking in a bit of depth so hopefully we can recruit possibly three players for next season,” Richardson said after the convincing 81-run victory.

His team batted with only ten men before an eleventh player, Terence Corday, joined the team while they were fielding after posting 225. In the end, Cleveland were restricted to 144 in jut 20.4 overs.

Dalin Richardson led the way for Somerset with 101 while Alje Richardson, a colt in Cup Match this year, scored 81 in a century stand between the pair for the third wicket.

“This is going to give us the incentive to work that much harder next season,” Richardson said. “The key was to get early wickets and hold on to our catches. We dropped one catch for the day, but other than that we took our catches.”

Mackih McGowan, the Cleveland No 9 batsman, was dropped first ball by Azar Morrissey at square leg off Darian Gibbons before going on to top the batting with 34 after sharing in an eighth-wicket partnership with Makai Young that carried the score from 66 for seven to 136 in just six overs. After McGowan was eighth out, Somerset wrapped up victory pretty quickly with Greg Maybury taking four wickets and captain Jordan DeSilva three.

“I was somewhat pleased with the total, I thought we could have gone on and made a bit more,” Richardson said. “It's somewhat tough towards the end of the season when guys are not really putting in the work in training, but I thought it was a job well done.”

Somerset wrapped up the win just over an hour before a heavy shower came and with enough time for Alje Richardson to catch the British Airways flight to head back to school in Cardiff.

“I'm taking him to the airport in a few minutes to catch the flight,” his father and coach added.

“He was contemplating whether he was going to play today, but these are the types of things you do for the team.”

Captain Jordan DeSilva is delighted to be returning to the top flight next season, no doubt where the Cup Match club want to be. “It's always good to bounce back, we went down last year and our goal was always to come right back up,” he said.

“When you go down there and stay a couple of years, it's hard to come back.

“The boys did well, it was a young team as you saw today, depleted and short in numbers for most of the game, but the guys fought hard and we knew what we wanted.

“Terrence had his Evening League final [Tuff Dogs] this morning and got down here as quickly as he could.

“We only batted with ten. The wicket was pretty flat at the start, but as we kept going it started to do a bit. I thought they could have put their heads down a bit more, they played a couple of rash shots.

“We bowled well in spurts, but gave up a lot of boundary balls. Dalin scored another hundred and Alje batted well in his last game, but all and all we're happy to get back to where we believe we belong.

“Tonight, we'll enjoy the fact that we achieved our goal of getting promoted. Obviously we wanted to win the league, but we took another route and the goal was completed.”

Match report, page 30

All smiles: Somerset players congratulate Darian Gibbons, right, after he held a good catch at mid-off to remove key Cleveland batsman Dean Stephens for nine in the promotion play-off match on Saturday. Somerset won the encounter by 81 runs to clinch an immediate Premier Division return (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

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Published September 16, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated September 16, 2019 at 10:25 am)

Somerset back in the big time

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