Back In The CACG

I was always told as a child it is easy to criticise much harder to say thank you and offer praise. It is really easy to get sucked into the negativity when you spend any time on social media. But the response from Somerset fans to being back at their beloved County Ground demonstrated how much they love the club and how appreciative they are of all the hard work put in by the staff to get us to this point. Somerset supporters are very lucky to have two great teams, one on the field and one off it. Thank you.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the responses from you all to my request last week to share your feelings on the return to the county ground. I’m not going to add anything to what has been shared either on the forum or social media. As Craig Overton said on Twitter, “The Somerset supporters are simply incredible”.

But as James Truby commented on the Facebook group, “I just want to publicly thank Somerset County Cricket Club ticket office for all their hard work. The service I have received has been exemplary and above and beyond. Gordon Hollins you can be proud of the team.”

Steve Woolaway

A day that will live in the memory for a very long time. As an ‘away’ member I don’t get to Taunton any where near often enough but there was something about this day that I was desperate to get to. There was the tension of the ballot, and the late confirmation, but all was well in the end. I have to admit to getting a little tetchy while all that was going on, but the brilliant, empathetic, and more importantly successful phone call on from the club from Ben sorted everything and made me realise that the frustration I had felt was pent up passion for this great club that I have now supported for over sixty years, albeit most of it from afar. 

My ‘bubble’ mate and I found ourselves seated next to a lovely guy to whom we chatted all day long. The early talk was about the top order batting and that it would be nice if we weren’t the proverbial ‘35 for 3’ that we have almost come to expect, and how there was a guy up at test match who was beginning to look like the signing we were desperate for. Well, we didn’t reach the dizzy heights of ‘35 for 3’, we were 26 for 4. Watching Keith Barker bowling unplayable ball after unplayable ball would have been better done from ‘behind the sofa’. But it was riveting cricket, and for us mature gentlemen ‘proper cricket’.

But here’s the thing that slowly dawned on me. There was no ‘here we go again’ from certainly the crowd I was in. Because maybe as we have come to expect early difficulties, we also expect that there will be a battling response from this amazing team. Steve Davies and Tom Banton began the process. Even at 113-7, a batting point was still expected. 

The momentum of the game began to shift as RvdM in particular changed the dynamic with his hustling, bustling, counter attacking approach. Fielders began to look more pressured. Their ‘chirping’ started to die down, as it looked like even they knew it wasn’t ‘job done’ against our boys. Lewis started to look imperious. The two of them took the day that looked so long like it would belong to Hampshire, and gave it back to Somerset. 

Cricket does itself no favours sometimes with the fiddling about with the light meters. It is sometimes dark in the English summer, get over it! We began to think it might be Hampshire who would be ‘35 for 3’, but it didn’t happen. The scoreboard had a stunning look to it at nonetheless at end of the day. 

The Somerset fans had a day to be so proud of. The club and ground staff were warm in their welcome, and were impressive all day. 

I don’t think I have been so emotional looking back on a day’s cricket ever. Thank you Somerset. We’d love it if we won the elusive County Championship, sooner rather than later for some of us, but, you know what? It doesn’t matter if we don’t. Being a great club isn’t measured just by what you win!

Mike K

A very enjoyable day.

Queuing to get in was fine although there seemed to be one very long queue and one short queue at the Brian Rose gates which was strange. That seems to have been rectified into one airport type queue for the second day (for some reason they asked for my letter today whereas yesterday they just scanned my ticket barcode). 

I sat in row O in block 2 of the Somerset Stand so had nice side on view. Was surprised that there was only one seat gap between spectators but being double vaccinated and outdoors didn’t bother me too much.

As for the cricket wow what a day! 

Somerset really do take you on a rollercoaster of emotions. Unfortunately a top order collapse is never that surprising these days although to be fair batting looked very tricky on a green wicket. It was nice to see Tom Banton batting like his old self just a shame neither he nor Steve could convert to a bigger score. As for RVDM and Lewis what can I say. Absolutely brilliant just a shame RVDM ran himself out. Hopefully day 2 will be just as entertaining.

Grizzers

What a wonderful day !

After 600+ days of enforced abstinence, it was simply joyous to join the lines of similarly enthused cricket starved fans as we waited to cross the threshold into the County Ground.

What followed on the field was as glorious as it was predictably unpredictable. A top order batting collapse followed by a stunning recovery, culminated in a close of play score that any of us would happily have taken at the start of play. Let alone when we were 43/5 and 113/7.

All credit to Tom Banton and especially Steven Davies for steadying the turbulent waters. But the subsequent batting exhibition by Roelof and Lewis’s Gregory was surely beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. 

Add in a tail-end batting assault by Josh and MdL, a convivial crowd alongside some occasional sun and for a few glorious hours, all seemed well with the world.

Have loved this club since I was a kid and yesterday once again reminded me why.

Mike Unwin

After my 2 days at the ground i would also like to say a big thank you to the whole club for the way they got this game ‘on’ – I think it was Kevin Howells who said on commentary how well things were organised.

I also recognised (having been trained that way) the exemplary customer service attitude of the staff whether that’s the ticket stewards at the St James Road Gate, or the stewards at the entrances to the stands or even those serving refreshments in the coffee shops / kiosks not to mention the club managers and execs that I met.

In the past before lockdown etc the club was always recognised for its friendly/ homely attitude but that customer service attitude (in my opinion) has now been raised several notches

Andrew Pulsford

How fantastic to be back. It’s been a long 21 months. 

I expected there to be some difficulties getting into the ground at the Brian Rose Gate on day 1 and there were. I think the instructions to enter weren’t as clear as they could have been. 

just to be back watching this team and watching cricket was fantastic though. Another step back to normality.

in both innings so far, batting has looked very difficult for 40 overs and then much easier after that. Its worth remembering that whilst we’d all like our top order to score more runs, there are very few counties with prolific top3s, it’s very difficult batting there. Steve D played very well and deserved a half century at least. Even at 113/7 I did think we did have a chance of at least 1 batting point. I think it could well be very tricky to get 20 wickets on this surface without Overton and Leach. The 4 seamers toiled hard yesterday in the sun and put in a shift.

Andy Cleeve

Having been fortunate enough to get tickets for all 4 days of Hampshire CC match I’ve loved every minute of being back at the CACG. 

Expected there to be more difficulties entering the ground on first day but had no real issues personally. Had fantastic view from my seat in the River Stand. Only minor gripe was not being able to access the shop when in the ground before play began without leaving via Rose gates my designated entry point, walking round and back again. 

3 fabulous days of cricket and looking forward to what the final day may bring (weather permitting). 

Superb atmosphere throughout with a bit of heckling at the umpires for when they took us off for bad light when the floodlights were on. The artificial light taking over nonsense rule. The buzz when Lewis Gregory reached his hundred was incredible. Everyone in the ground rose to applaud and give him the ovation he deserved. 

Hearing the Somerset crowd roar when we took a wicket was music to my ears. Such passion for our great club!

Stuart Hodgkiss

I think what hit me was the emotion. Yes, I’d felt the excitement build all week and probably got up earlier than I needed to, to make the 40 odd minute journey to the ground, I’d even suffered the last minute worries that my ticket wouldn’t scan. But that moment when I took my seat and watched the team warming up, saw the familiar faces of the stewards (albeit behind their masks!) and soaked in the gentle Westcountry hum in the stands; it felt like I was home. 

Best of all for me was the person sitting next to me. My son has been my constant companion at the County Ground since he was about 6. A keen and talented batsman himself, he has always enjoyed watching Somerset in all forms of the game. For his tenth birthday he opted not to have a party but instead to take all the family along to day 1 of a championship game (also against Hampshire) and I can’t describe the joy of sitting with him all day long discussing tactics, field placing or the state of the game. But he’s getting older now and I’d worried that the nearly two years we’d been kept away from the ground and the fact that he is now a lanky 15 year old might mean that he’d moved on and other teenage distractions would rob me of my companion. 

But I needn’t have worried. As the reassuringly normal sights of a Davey 5’fer , A stunning Abell catch or a Steve Davis cover drive came back to me I looked to my right and he was absorbed as ever.

At the end of the day, as we headed back down the M5 talking through the days events, agreeing on how well the club had organised the whole experience, and puzzling over why Davey had come in as night watchman when the team probably had enough runs; I realised that Somerset were on top, cricket was open to us again and all was indeed right with the world.

Martin Lambden

I totally enjoyed being back at live cricket for the best part of 3 days then we decided to stop trying to win and that has spoilt the whole experience. Instead of ramping up the scoring rate setting a target of 350 and bowling 20 overs at Hampshire on the third day we slowed down the scoring rate and played really boring cricket for hours and even Bartlett’s 100 was little compensation. It reminded me of the shame when Brian Rose told a bowler to roll the ball along the ground to ensure the opposition couldn’t hit the 6 required to win totally outside the spirit of the game. That was not positive cricket and not in line with Somerset’s espoused philosophy of playing the game.

Lenny Lismore

Had a wonderful four days of cricket having waited over a year since becoming a member and was worth the wait. Fantastic cricket and even the rain on the last afternoon couldn’t dampen things. You can’t beat live sport, can’t wait for Wednesday’s T20. 

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