It was honours even at the end of Somerset’s two T20 matches against Gloucestershire at the County Ground in Taunton today.
The visitors won the opening encounter by 80 runs, thanks to a sparkling unbeaten century from Hamish Marshall, but in the second game Somerset gave a good all round performance to win by 8 runs in the final over.
In the opener Gloucestershire batted first and Marshall raced to his 100 off just 40 balls and ended unbeaten on 180 which came off 70 balls and included 17 fours and 13 sixes as visitors ended their innings on 244 for 2.
When Somerset replied Marcus Trescothick dominated proceedings and scored 45 before he was caught at mid wicket by Ian Cockbain in the sixth over with the total on 60.
Pete Trego joined James Regan, who played some good shots before the opener had moved onto 22 when he was bowled by Jack Taylor with the total on 84.
Trego hit a boundary off Jack Taylor to bring up the Somerset three figures but soon after was caught at cover by Robbie Montgomery for 22.
James Hildreth hit 19 on his first innings for Somerset since he returned from playing for the MCC in the season’s opener in Dubai and later in the innings Lewis Gregory made an attractive 26.
However Somerset were eventually all out for 164 off 18.3 overs.
In the second match the hosts batted first and posted 186 for 6 from their 20 overs.
Their total was based on a second wicket partnership of 71 between Trescothick who made 36 and Trego (43) before both were out with the total on 98.
Hildreth and Gregory added 35 for the fourth before the latter was stumped by Cameron Herring with the total on 133.
Hildreth who only recently returned from playing for the MCC against Yorkshire in Dubai looked in good form and brought up the 150 with a 6 into the Atkinson Pavilion.
Johann Myburgh helped the score onto 163 before he was out for 12 followed on the same score by Josh Davey.
Hildreth went to his half century with a square drive off James Fuller to the boundary and remained until the end of the innings, by which time he was unbeaten on 54 while Max Waller was not out 11 as Somerset closed on 186 for 6.
When Gloucestershire replied Trego made an early breakthrough when he had Chris Dent caught by Davey at cover.
Marshall and Cockbain took the total onto 64 when Adam Dibble had the latter caught down the leg side by ‘keeper Trescothick.
The Somerset bowlers kept it tight and were rewarded as wickets tumbled at regular intervals and at the halfway stage Gloucestershire were 105 for 5.
Dangerman Marshall was still at the wicket and he went to his half century in the 14th over with a straight 6 into the Botham Stand, and with six overs to go the visitors needed 43 to win, which certainly looked achievable.
However the Somerset bowlers kept their heads and when Jamie Overton tempted Marshall on 60 into giving a leg side chance which Trescothick held onto in the 16th the game swung back in favour of the hosts.
Adam Dibble came on late in the innings and picked up two wickets as did Overton who finished things off with the first ball of the 20th over as Gloucestershire were all out for 178, giving Somerset victory by 8 runs.
Afterwards Hildreth said:
“This was a good all round work out for us and it was great to get both games played especially after the forecast. It was great that we managed to get that amount of time out in the middle.
“The first game was slightly disappointing and our bowlers know that they didn’t bowl the best, but Hamish Marshall batted brilliantly out there so hats off to him. He is in a great run of form going into the season and was always going to be hard to bowl at.
“It was always going to be a tough chase and we lost wickets in clusters and couldn’t get close to them, so the first game was a bit like a warm up for us!
“In the second game we certainly executed our plans better with the ball and bowled very nicely. Dibbs came back from the first game and bowled brilliantly and got a few wickets and the spinners held up well in the middle.
“Jamie Overton looked good for us today and he is the real deal and is starting to get back to where he was which is great for everybody.”
Talking about his own innings Hildy said:
“Im feeling ok about my crcket at the moment and on grass I have had a few starts and got a few scores which is always great and hopefully I can take that into the season. I’m striking the ball at the moment and felt really good in the second game.”