In the age where scorers use laptops West Country Cricket can be excitingly gut wrenching in the hunt for silverware. That said, how Somerset County Cricket Club became possibly a top four domestic team in the World and the agonies involved as it happened is a story worth the telling.
So let’s cut to the chase, this book is not fodder for the faint-hearted supporter. Here nightmares are revisited, so too the odd scandal. But it’s not all tears, doldrums and tabloids. Far from it. Never has 'The Blackbird' been sung more lustily, or, indeed, emotionally.
Resplendent in either cream or in scientifically designed pyjamas the County’s cricket pros led by Captain ‘Tresco’ Trescothick call themselves ‘Somerset’, and hope springs eternal for the summer game’s popular bridesmaids as we now enter the Nosworthy era.
For those that follow a Wyvern rag fluttering on a pole, this is the topsy-turvy, roller-coaster journey of Somerset Cricket Club passing into a new millennium and on into a decade and more of the brave new world of T20 fingernail nibbling.
Scrumpy hangovers were tender whether from a bountiful year for Cox’s Pippins or the second division nadir of the ‘Burns Unit’, and certainly from success under the gurt Biff mountain from Johannesburg to that provided by the little Langer bloke with the boxing kangaroo tattooed on his buttock. Now in the stressful era of the ‘Banger’ boys the County Championship is a chimera annually quested, players’ passports hold visas, and ‘Zum’ willow has nurdled and smoked leather from Taunton to Hyderabad.
Drawn from chats with an assortment of current and former players, and coaching staff, there’s no lack of detail as they describe great matches. And more. Take as examples, why Trescothick was tied up and left alone in middle of the wicket at Old Trafford or why Jamie Cox tied down nearly managed to drown himself and half the Somerset team; and not forgetting how ‘Punter’ Ponting came to play a soggy benefit game against a side from the Shrubbery a day after arriving at Heathrow, or how the County reached a major final due to a top player suffering cramp whilst clambering a fence.
Throughout such adventures the author emerged from the ‘Three Ferrets’ to follow, observe, keep his humour and make scribblings in his precious Moleskine notebook. This is the story of Another Somerset Century and a few extras besides.
A tome to be enjoyed by every member of the ‘cricket family’.
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 0 85704 214 9, hardback, 210x148mm. Published September 2013.