TOM Abell has gone from strength to strength as Somerset County Cricket Club captain over the last three seasons, but in a parallel universe he could have followed an entirely different path.

Ten years ago (November 12, 2009), the County Gazette featured the news that Abell and fellow Taunton School hockey player Sophie Bowden had won through to the final England assessment at Under-16 level.

Another 10 students – Hattie Armstrong, Tom Chandler, George Cook, Josh Hood, Ollie Large, Nick McLauchlan, Guy Orridge, Leah Peatroy, Josie Rixon and Emily Townsend – earned spots in regional tier one/tier two squads at various age groups.

In truth, while Abell – like Tom Banton and Jos Buttler – was a fine hockey player, perhaps his destiny always lay with cricket.

He captained the Taunton School 1st XI, scored 1,156 runs and was named the Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year for 2012.

And having played up the Somerset CCC Age Group teams, he made his Somerset 2nd XI debut in 2010, and his County Championship bow in 2014 – scoring 95 against Warwickshire.

As for Bowden, she left Taunton School in 2012 to take up a sports scholarship in the USA, where she certainly made her mark.

Her University of Connecticut hockey team won the NCAA National Championship in both 2013 and 2014.


ALSO this week, but in 1979, Ian put the ‘Warren’ into Norton Fitzwarren, as he bagged four goals in his side’s 8-0 mauling of Spaxton in the Taunton Saturday League.

It was a second consecutive defeat for the Division 4 leaders, as Warren ran riot – and Clive Thomas (2), Stuart Corkett and Les Taswell completed the rout.

Warren’s scoring feat was matched by Brian Chidgey, who netted four for Creech Barrow as they won their first game of the season in some style, 9-3 over Middlezoy Rovers Reserves.

But both Chidgey and Warren were topped by Steve Butt, who scored five times in Nomads’ 7-2 victory at Highbridge Town.

Somerset County Gazette:

Pictured above, Norton Fitzwarren (left to right): back row - Les Taswell, Gordon Gardner, Stuart Corkett, Phil Durston, Neil Challace, Clive Thomas; front row - Dave Meade, Richard Trowell, Brian Jones, Ian Warren, Roger Newberry.