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Somerset are no strangers to final day dismay
9:00am Saturday 1st September 2012 in Sport Latest
SOMERSET’s first ever trip to a one-day final took place 45 years ago TODAY and, just like last weekend in Cardiff, it sadly ended in disappointment, writes Richard Walsh.
The Cidermen ’s opponents in the Gillette Cup Final at Lord's back in 1967 were Kent, who were also making their debut appearence in a one-day final.
From the time of it’s introduction in 1963, one-day cricket has been a great success and attracted a large following – none more so than in Somerset, so when they made it through to Lord’s at the fifth attempt their supporters created an atmosphere never before experienced at cricket’s headquarters.
On that sunny Saturday in early September, the Somerset fans took Lord’s by storm when they turned up in their smocks accompanied with pitchforks and straw bales and armed with barrels of cider to see them through the day, which probably helped to soften the feeling of disappointment.
Somerset’s following has remained as strong as ever over the years and at the Swalec last Saturday they were the best supported county by far and chants of Somerset La La La were ringing round the ground, even in defeat.
In that game 45 years ago, Kent batted first and were bowled out for 193, having at one stage been 138 for one, thanks to three wickets each from the larger-than-life character Bill Alley and Roy Palmer.
Somerset, in reply, were all out for 161, Peter Robinson who opened the innings top scoring with 48.
Reflecting on that never-to-be-forgotten September day 'Robbo' said: “What sticks in my mind most is the support we got from our fans; it was just an amazing day to be involved in. “When we walked out on to the pitch there was such a tremendous cheer, like I had never heard before when I was playing. We savoured every moment of it.”
The former County Ground favourite, almost played in the first ever Gillette Cup Final when he was with Worcestershire but had to settle for 12th man duties so when he eventually got his big chance he relished the opportunity.
Robbo added: “I think I only opened because Tony Clarkson had broken his leg at Weston and, in the match before the final against Middlesex at Lord’s I had made 97 so was selected.
“I remember Colin Cowdrey, who had just been announced as captain of the MCC touring team to the West Indies, being cheered all the way to the wicket.
“He scored just a single before he clipped one off Ken Palmer and I caught it low down at square leg and was so excited I just three the ball up in the air.
“There was a huge roar from the crowd!”
Regarding his innings, Robbo said: “I was hitting the ball well and had reached 48 when John Shepherd bowled one to me which had 52 written all over it. I went for it and was caught by Alan Knott.”
He added: “That day was the highlight of my cricketing career. “Playing at Lord’s in front of a full house is about as close as you can get to the big time as a county cricketer, just like it will have been for some of the lads who played at Cardiff on Saturday.”