AH, the summer of 2018.

The sun shone for two months straight (breaking only for a well-timed downpour to save a no result for Somerset against Gloucestershire in the One-Day Cup), the country was gripped by World Cup fever and the strains of ‘It’s Coming Home’ were heard around the nation.

At the height of summer it looked like the County Championship title might, at long last, also be coming home.

Victory over Nottinghamshire in June took Somerset to the summit, but an innings defeat at title challengers Surrey later that month dealt a blow to Tom Abell’s men.

The Londoners pulled away after that and Somerset, like England’s footballers, saw their wait for a trophy continue.

One Somerset side did win the County Championship for the first time as the county’s men’s hockey team defeated Warwickshire 4-2 in the final to lift the trophy.

Taunton Deane CC defeated Taunton St Andrew’s at the County Ground to become Baker Cup champions, the Deane’s ladies were runners-up at the county softball championships and Taunton Deane Bowls Club won the Southey Cup after overcoming Bath.

Taunton played host to a remarkable day of cricket on June 20, as world records tumbled in the women’s T20 tri-series.

New Zealand’s 216-1 against South Africa held the record for highest total in a women’s T20 for all of five hours, as Tammy Beaumont’s 47-ball century inspired England to a total of 250-3 against the Proteas later the same day.

Western Storm again reached finals day in the Kia Super League, but they could not defend their title as they were knocked out by eventual winners Surrey Stars in the semi-finals.

The spirit of cricket had been a talking point throughout the summer of club cricket. Both WEPL and the Somerset Cricket League had to issue statements reminding players to behave themselves and the matter came to a head in early August when a match at Minehead gained worldwide headlines.

Minehead 2nds’ batsman Jay Darrell was two runs short of a maiden century when Purnell bowler Declan Redwood deliberately threw the last ball for five wides to end the game.

The incident was mentioned in that evening’s Sky Sports live coverage, Piers Morgan branded the incident “pathetic” and the story even reached Fox Sports Australia - Redwood was banned for nine matches.

The following week saw the conduct of some of Somerset’s spectators called into question when Surrey and England all-rounder Tom Curran labelled the Taunton crowd “peasants” after the home side’s T20 Blast victory.

A “thorough investigation” by Somerset found “no evidence of wrongdoing” and Curran hastily deleted the tweet.

Taunton Town were looking forward to the challenge of competing in the re-branded Southern League Premier Division South for the first time.

Prolific striker Andrew ‘Rocky’ Neal joined the promoted Peacocks, who got off to a winning start at Kings Langley and ended August with a satisfying 3-1 derby victory at Tiverton Town.

There was a bump in the road around the corner, however, as manager Leigh Robinson departed for Truro City along with assistant Michael Meaker.

Robinson told the County Gazette: “I am admittedly sad to be leaving a football club that has been so good for me over the last six years, and that I’ve had so many wonderful memories at, but I’m also excited to be starting a new challenge.”

Rob Dray and Matt Villis took charge and kept the ship on course - the Peacocks remain well in contention for a second straight promotion and were within a whisker of reaching the FA Cup first round proper before being edged out by National League South leaders Billericay Town in a replay.

Taunton Titans were boosted by the arrival of Australian star Julian Salvi and began with a thumping win, as did Wellington and Wiveliscombe.

The Titans were defeated at Redruth the following weekend, though, and an autumn blip dealt a blow to their promotion ambitions.

A Taunton side were crowned British Ladies’ Skittles champions in September as the Royal Tots & Lots, from the Princess Royal in Canon Street, walked away with the trophy.

Somerset failed to do likewise on their first appearance at T20 finals day since 2012, comfortably beaten by Sussex in the last four, but a second-placed finish in the Championship left reasons for optimism ahead of 2019.

Taunton Vale’s hockey sides were making good starts to their respective campaigns and, in the football, it was derby day in West Somerset in October - Minehead took the bragging rights with a 3-2 win over Watchet Town in the Somerset Senior Cup.

October also saw Pawel Augustynik continue his unbeaten start to life in professional boxing, racking up his eighth straight victory as he progresses towards higher honours.

There are plenty of budding youngsters looking to follow in Augustynik’s footsteps, as an action-packed night of boxing at newly-formed Blue Flames ABC in November showed.

Elsewhere, local runners descended on the Herepath Half and there was a terrific achievement for Running Forever’s Peter Hall, who completed his 100th marathon.

Taunton’s sportsmen were making a mark on the international stage as November progressed.

Jack Leach took 18 wickets and teamed up again with his childhood friend Jos Buttler as England’s cricketers won 3-0 in Sri Lanka, and Titans winger Aron Struminski made his debut for Poland after being approached via Facebook.

There has been plenty to celebrate around local sport in 2018 - keep reading your County Gazette to stay up to date with what 2019 has in store...