AS the 2022 instalment of the Royal London Cup is set to begin next week, we take a look back at Somerset's infamous competition win in 2019.

Somerset added to their trophy cabinet for the first time since 2005 in 2019 when they defeated Hampshire in the final.

For Taunton-born captain Tom Abell, it was “the best day of my life.” Plenty around Lord’s would have echoed that sentiment after watching Somerset put last year’s winners Hampshire to the sword in a victory that felt almost too routine, given the club’s recent record in finals.

It didn’t all go Abell’s way – he lost the toss and Hampshire chose to bat. But Josh Davey bowled a disciplined spell of eight unchanged overs from the Pavilion End, dismissing both openers in the process, and it was 50-3 when Lewis Gregory produced a jaffa to knock back Joe Weatherley’s off-stump.

Rilee Rossouw counter-attacked briefly before chopping on to his own stumps to provide Jamie Overton with the first of his three wickets – the others saw batsmen fall into a trap, hooking to the safe hands of George Bartlett at fine leg in front of the massed ranks of Somerset supporters.

The roar that greeted those catches signified the belief that Somerset were in the driving seat, and that they most certainly were at 180-8.

Somerset County Gazette: Pic: Alex Davidson/SCCC

James Fuller provided some late momentum to take Hampshire to 243-8 – 35 of which came from the final three overs – to put a slight check on the Somerset optimism, but the mood was broadly positive in the Edrich Stand at the interval.

Banton got into his stride by flaying Fidel Edwards for four, six, four in successive balls in just the third over and, with Azhar in fine fettle at the other end, Somerset raced to 64-0 from 10 overs.

The partnership grew to 112 when Banton fell for a fluent 69, having struck 11 fours and a six, and the fired up Edwards then dismissed Azhar shortly afterwards.

What Somerset needed was a cool head and Hildreth was exactly the man to provide it. He and Peter Trego, the only two survivors from Somerset’s most recent Lord’s final in 2011, ran well and put away the bad balls to add 49 for the third wicket.

Even when Trego fell to a top-edged pull, and Abell followed for 14, even the most pessimistic of Somerset supporters would have been hard pushed to feel defeatist as Somerset edged towards their target.

Somerset County Gazette: Pic: Alex Davidson/SCCC

And so it was left to Hildreth. Fate is a funny thing, and it just so happened that Hildreth hit the winning runs when Somerset last won a trophy, the Twenty20 Cup in 2005.

How fitting, then, that it was Hildreth – who has made more appearances for Somerset than anybody else – who won the game with a single to mid-wicket to spark jubilant scenes among the Somerset faithful at Lord’s and watching around the world.