SOMERSET are “desperate to go that one step further” and secure the club’s first ever silverware in red-ball cricket this week.

The Bob Willis Trophy final pits them against Essex, with the match starting at Lord’s tomorrow (Wednesday) and running through to Sunday.

It sees Somerset return to the scene of 2019’s Royal London One-Day Cup final victory over Hampshire, and captain Tom Abell believes that experience can only help his side.

“I think it does [help], as we don’t have that second place tag hanging over us now,” he told the County Gazette.

“This group of players is still in its infancy, so to get over the line in a pressure situation [last year’s cup final] has done wonders for the group.

“We only have positive memories of playing at Lord’s.”

Opponents Essex are the County Championship holders, having pipped Somerset to the title last autumn.

They topped the South Group with 90 points, matching Somerset’s record of four wins and one draw from five matches, and they also boast the leading wicket-taker in the competition, in Simon Harmer.

The 31-year-old has 34 wickets at an average of 13.70, while team-mate Jamie Porter has 21 at 18.80.

Somerset have a fearsome seam bowling attack of their own, though, namely Craig Overton (28 wickets at 10.71), Josh Davey (24 at 10.12), Jack Brooks (13 at 16.76) and Lewis Gregory (10 at 19.40).

Unsurprisingly, Alastair Cook is Essex’s leading run-scorer, with 360 (45.00 average), while Somerset’s Abell has scored 352 (44.00) and Tom Lammonby 343 (49.00).

Looking ahead to what promises to be a close contest, Somerset head coach Jason Kerr said: “Essex are a very experienced side, and were County Champions last year, but I think we’ve improved since then.

“I anticipate it being a very good game with two very good bowling attacks.

“Craig [Overton] has led the way for us, but the other guys have done so well as a unit.

“We keep coming at the opposition, and that makes the difference.

“Essex rely on Simon Harmer first change, and we know he’ll bowl a lot of overs, so we need to be ready to combat that.

“If we can control the things within our control, and play the brand of cricket we’ve played this year, we can get the right result.”

Abell added: “They’re two very good sides; both have had good seasons in the last couple of years, finished at the top end of the County Championship and won silverware.

“We’ll have to be at our best, prepare well and have a plan to counteract their threats.

“They’re two high quality bowling attacks - neither give the batsmen much to score off.

“I may be biased but I would back ours over any other in the country,” Abell continued.

“Our seamers are so disciplined, and we have top class spinners in the group too.

“It looks like a great contest between bat and ball, and should make for a great final.”

What would victory mean to Somerset’s players and their supporters, in this most challenging of years?

“It would mean a huge amount to a lot of people,” said Abell.

“The current circumstances have shown how much Somerset cricket means to the supporters - there’s so much passion there.

“We’ve experienced heartache in the County Championship, and we are desperate to go that one step further.

“We’ve invested so much into our four-day cricket, so to win it would be amazing.

“We are well aware how much hard work is ahead of us, but our win at Lord’s last year was phenomenal, and we hope to replicate that now.”