Friday, July 22, 2016


For as long as I can remember I  have been fascinated by Somerset County Cricket Club.  I guess some of that fascination has been born out of a West Country background (born in the neighbouring county of Dorset) but a large part of it has been due to the history of the club.   It has had more downs than ups but in more recent times it has established itself in the first division of the County Championship.

Just before and after WW2, the star of the side was Harold Gimblett.  He had been rejected by the County after a fortnight`s trial but in May of that year he was asked to make up the numbers at a county match at Frome the next day.   Travelling from Bicknoller in West Somerset he missed the early morning bus but hitch hiked to Frome in a lorry.  Then he proceeded to score the fastest century in England that summer (123 in 65 minutes) and his place in the county side was secured.

Gimblett went on to become Somerset`s leading run scorer - over 23,000 at 36, including 235 sixes which, for an opening batsman was extraordinary.  He scored the last of his 50 centuries (167 not out) in 1953 against Northants and then walked away from the game until the vagaries of depression led to his suicide in 1978.

Now earlier this week, at Trent Bridge, Marcus Trescothick the Somerset captain and current record run scorer, reached his 49th century for the county and went on to reach a double hundred.  As with most things Somerset, references are confusing because Trescothick`s century was reported as equalling the tally of Gimblett all those years ago.   

Be that as it may, it has been a long wait for any Somerset player to come close to the record set by Harold Gimblett and when it is finally broken by Marcus Trescothick, as it surely will be, then it could not go to a more admirable cricketer, one who has also had his problems with depression but who has come through to enjoy his place in the history of that endlessly charming West Country club.

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