WITH the start of the T20 competition Somerset take a break from championship action for the next few weeks, writes Richard Walsh.

Having played the first block of six matches the Cidermen sit third from the bottom of the Division One table with 60 points, ahead of Kent who have 53 and Gloucestershire with 35. Surrey are top with 105 three ahead of Hampshire.

Having made a very poor start to the campaign at Hampshire where they fielded a weakened side Tom Abell’s men returned to home turf to face the perennial enemy Essex, where despite being bowled out for 109 in the first innings they clawed their way back into the game and lost out in the end by one wicket.

Next game saw them travel to Surrey where for the first time this season their batting fired and they were in the game again, but in the end lost by three wickets.

Somerset then recorded resounding victories by an innings over both Warwickshire and Gloucestershire, where both batting and bowling departments were strong, to lift themselves off the bottom of the table.

So there was an anticipation that Tom Abell’s team might fare better against Hampshire last week, when they fielded their strongest side.

Disappointingly it wasn’t to be and they were trounced by 10 wickets having been bowled out for 69 in their second innings.

James Hildreth went past his 18,000 first class runs for Somerset but was out next ball for eight, after which Steve Davies occupied the crease for 106 minutes and faced 78 balls before he was out for 29.

Lewis Gregory followed not long after and then Craig Overton made 44 sharing in a partnership of 31 with Davies, and 40 with Josh Davey who remained unbeaten on 22 from 49 balls which enabled the hosts to claim at least one batting point as they were all out for 211.

Of the six recognised batsmen in the side four of them got starts, but sadly not one of them went onto build an innings- Overton was the top scorer.

Having disappointed with the bat, the bowling on the opening evening was below par and not as good as Hampshire’s. However on the shortened second day Overton and Siddle both bowled well and then finished the job off on Saturday as Hampshire were all out for 280- a lead of 69.

What happened next was totally unexpected even to the most hardened Somerset fan as batsman after batsman came to the wicket and was dismissed by a combination of accurate bowling and all too often poor shot selection.

Somerset who were at one stage reduced to 25 for six and were bowled out for 69 in 25 overs.

A shell shocked Abell was clearly shaken by the events of the preceding couple of hours and was struggling for words to describe what had happened.

“I am not really sure that there is an explanation. It’s not good enough and it’s been such a disappointing day.

“We are not going to make excuses for ourselves, that was really poor, first and foremost we will be looking at ourselves, we cant blame conditions, other than ourselves.

“It’s not fatal because there is so much cricket to be played but having made such strides it a shame we couldn’t kick on and give a better account of ourselves.

“We are better that what we have shown. The lack of fight and the lack of character in the second i innings is what hurts us most.”

Somerset’s next championship game is at home on June 12th when they host table toppers Surrey- another stern test