Still Got It

With nothing happening very fast at Chester-le-Street I took myself off up the M5 to Bristol yesterday to see Somerset wrap up a crushing innings win over Gloucestershire to go to the top of Division Two of the championship.

It was an enjoyable day to be a Somerset fan despite the surroundings. I hadn't been there for a few seasons and I was reminded of what a characterless and charmless ground Nevil Road is. The Bristol public weren't exactly breaking down the gates to get in either, and the crowd - containing a substantial Somerset contingent - seemed small, but then the Gloucestershire side was so appallingly bad that you couldn't really blame them.

I left the day with a few lasting impressions, the first of which was the confidence and team spirit of a Somerset side which, in case anyone is liable to forget, finished bottom of the pile last season. It's incredible what a few weeks of consistent run-scoring from Trescothick, Edwards, White, Langer and Hildreth, knitted together with Langer's positive, typically Australian, captaincy, can do.

And then there's the seam attack. The best thing about the day was seeing Andy Caddick clean up the second Gloucestershire innings to finish with twelve wickets in the match. Having taken seven on Saturday he eased himself into his work after his side's mid-afternoon declaration, looking stiff and bowling a little too wide in his first spell, but returning after tea to polish off the innings in conjunction with the equally reliable Charl Willoughby. Even though the most resonant impression was of a man shooting fish in a barrel, it was the sort of afternoon which sent the mind spinning back through the seasons, to the time I first saw him bowl (for Middlesex seconds) in 1989, to his Test debut in 1993, and to the time I stood to applaud him in the Lord's Grandstand as he went through the West Indies in 2000.

At this level, he's still got it (and he had some interesting fields yesterday too).

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