Ian Botham on his 22nd birthday

A distinctly underwhelmed Ian Botham being presented with a cake on his 22nd birthday by England tour manager Ken Barrington. Botham was at the airport ready to leave for that winter’s tour of Pakistan and New Zealand

A response to the article on Bill Andrews by Mike Tarr from his great nephew, Gary Andrews.

I just saw your memory of Bill Andrews, who was my Great Uncle, by Mr. Mike Tarr, and thought I would drop you a line.

I have heard many stories about him and read his book about being a Professional Cricketer.

He played Cricket with me in about 1958 in Highbridge, I think. It was in his back garden and I was a 5 year old. He told me that if I wanted to play cricket I would have to face his type of bowling. He gave me his bat that was over the Fire Place and practiced with me. I was scared stiff and it felt real when he bowled. Then he put the bat away and got some bottles in his wall and started shooting at them with a pellet gun. 

I did not realise that he was showing me an important lesson in life and even at 5 years of age I remember thinking what a great bloke. My Dad never did anything like that with me?

I never saw him play but, my Dad told me about him and I read his book. I heard in latter life that he was influential in Ian Botham’s development at Millfield School

As a Cricketer, not as a Scholar, Ahhhhhh

Is that true, or just wishful thinking. I remember he had huge hands and was a big guy.

We lived in Wiltshire so I did not see him too often. His brother was my Grandad who moved to Wiltshire to work in the Railways.

Gary later added: His book was interesting because, I think, Cricket was a bit of a Gentleman’s game and he was a rough diamond.

He had to fight to become a Professional Cricketer and then the Second World War probably stopped him from playing for England. There was another cricketer at Somerset who was very good but my Uncle Bill clashed with due to his background. This may be sour grapes, but my dad told me he was a tough cookie and could be argumentative and confrontational.

Ian Botham had a strong character, maybe Uncle Bill instilled that into him Ahhh.

John Challen 1884-99

John Challen was a classic schoomaster amateur who popularised the game, playing most of his 52 matches for Somerset in the summer holidays when the professionals had to step to one side. He scored 1656 runs at 19.71 as well as taking 16 wickets

He played between 1884 and 1899 but never more than 11 times in any season. A good footballer, he turned out four times for the Wales national side.

Middlesex v Somerset June 1928

A lovely shot of Somerset’s Wally Luckes running out Middlesex’s Tom Enthoven at Lord’s in June 1928. Luckes was Somerset’s keeper either side of WW2, playing 365 times for them between 1924 and 1949.

On this day 26th March 1980

On this day in 1980…

Cricketing legend Ian Botham made his debut as a footballer for Scunthorpe United, coming on as a sub in the Division 4 match at Bournemouth.

Being back at the CACG

Words echoed around the stand ‘I can hardly believe it!’, ‘ Great to be back’, ‘It’s been a long time!’, ‘It’s nice to be here again’. There’s a buzz around the ground again and it is palpable.

10:30 and the Toss is being held – Tom Abell and James Vince shake hands – Hampshire win the toss and elect to have a bowl.

Josh Davey, Lewis Gregory, Jack Brooks and Marchand de Langer are warming up in front of us after the traditional game of football, the anticipation of play is starting to rise amongst the assembled members.

11:00 Play Commences – Cricket and the Somerset Supporters are back at the CACG.

Hampshire 1895

Hampshire were admitted to the County Championship for the first time in 1895. Just like this year, their first match of the season was against Somerset (although unlike 2022 it was at Taunton). Here is the 1895 side, with Russell Bencraft (centre) captain.

Derbyshire v Somerset 1947

The scorecard from one of the most remarkable Derbyshire CCC games at the Queen’s Park in 1947. All over in a day, Derbyshire win by an innings, George Pope 13-50.

Photo and stats courtesy of @dgriffinpix

September 2019 v Essex

I was lucky enough to be at the Cooper Associates County Ground for the last game of the 2019 season. Memories of Tom Abell scoring 45, Roelof van der Merwe 60 and, on that pulsating final day, Jack Leach’s 5 wickets  fleetingly giving Somerset an outside chance of beating both Essex and the weather and as a consequence clinching the first-ever Championship for my county. 

A bittersweet day in so many ways. Not just the sight of Essex lifting the trophy on our hallowed turf but a day that belonged in so many ways to Marcus Trescothick. Yes, I was there when Marcus joined the slip cordon for the final overs with it seemed, every Somerset fielder clustered around the bat and I was there when Tom Abell realised it was to no avail and offered Essex the draw. I stood there, drained of emotion, politely clapping the 2019 champions.

As I slowly left the County Ground that evening I said to the gentleman in the ticket office ‘See you next Year’ to which he replied ‘Winter Well’. Prophetic? Such memories, such poignant moments.