2nd over: Somerset 0-1 (Abell 0, Green 0) I’m not really meaning to OBO this but rather a lot is happening. A disappointing five minutes for Lammonby who carried his bat against Worcestershire at New Road in the crucial last match of the group stages. Small consolation but my daughter, self isolating due to a Covid-case in her physics bubble, sees a resemblance to Leonardo DiCaprio.
WICKET! Lammonby lbw Cook 0
Cook bustles down the slope and it hits Lammonby plonk on the pad. He hops away but it doesn’t fool the umpire. Much Essex delight, lots of elbow bumping and fist nudging
1st over: Somerset 0-0 (Lammonby 0, Green 0) A maiden from Porter to start proceedings. I didn’t have much luck with BBC coverage but the Sky youtube channel is working perfectly.
The players take the knee, for the first time at Lord’s this year. Jamie Porter has the ball and will bowl the first over from the pavilion end.
As the bell rings in the Lord’s pavilion, Cath Hanley shares the feeling of many.
Essex have won the toss and will field
Somerset Ben Green, Tom Lammonby, Tom Abell (c), George Bartlett, Eddie Byrom, Steven Davies (wk), Lewis Gregory, Craig Overton, Josh Davey, Jack Leach, Jack Brooks
Essex: Browne, Cook, Westley (c), Lawrence, Walter, Ten Doeschate, Wheater (wk), Harmer, Beard, Cook, Porter.
A breathless Vic Marks has just sent me the latest update:
“No covers on the pitch…empty seats everywhere including in the skeleton of the new Compton and Edrich stands..It’s grey but everyone is out there doing their routines..looks as if we’re using one of the Test pitches..optimistic of prompt start but some rain forecast later. Unlike last year there’s a good chance of a result…Expect England’s off-spinner to be one of the twelfth men ..will know shortly.. goodness just seen a shadow…”
Yesterday we passed the autumn equinox, the days are shorter than the nights from here on in. Play will start at 10.30BST in order to catch the fading light. I’m just going to put the kettle on and grab a jumper, but do comment below the line(BTL) or send me an email at email@example.com or tweet @tjaldred. Here is Vic’s match preview to set the scene:
Good morning! Here we are – the Bob Willis Trophy Final – an event that didn’t exist three months ago but today promises the trombone root-a-toot to the season, a bugle of confetti in increasingly dark skies.
Essex and Somerset are at Lord’s for the first British “Championship” Final, a new experience on this isle but something that has been played since 1982 in Australia’s Sheffield Shield.
The two teams made their way here by finishing top of their respective regional groups and elbowing North Group winners Yorkshire out of the way by virtue of having notched up more points. It felt right – they are the best two red ball teams in the country. Essex beat Somerset to win the Championship in the last game of last summer, as well as snatching it in 2017; Somerset, famously never the lace-clad bride, have been runners up six times this century, and for the last two years in a row.
Vic Marks is up and eating breakfast near Lord’s, and reports that it is “grey, damp but no windscreen wipers – guessing some play but not a full day.”
A neutral venue adds an element of jeopardy, in the words of Essex captain Tom Westley: “It’s been challenging for batsmen at both teams’ home grounds: they have produced a lot of results wickets at Taunton and we’ve had a lot of results wickets at Chelmsford. By all accounts the wicket at Lord’s is going to be one of the Test-match wickets so it should be a better wicket for batsmen.”
Somerset stormed through the group stages with four wins from five matches – the fifth win ruled out only by the rain. They are without Tom Banton (IPL), James Hildreth (hamstring) and Barbar Azam (back in Pakistan) but have a pocketful of promising young batsmen – Tom Lammonby’s innings against Worcestershire drew particularly warm praise. But Essex have the better record in recent years, since 2016 they have won three of six meetings in Division One, losing just once. And then there is Simon Harmer.
In the event of a drawn final there will be one tie-breaker option: the county which leads on first innings will be the winner, as long as there were two fully-completed first innings. In any other circumstance a drawn or tied final will see the trophy shared by the finalists.
Put the coffee on my friends, one last, glorious, hurrah.