SOMERSET suffered their first defeat of the 2020 season in their second Vitality Blast match, away to Northants Steelbacks on Sunday.

Having seen their T20 opener at Birmingham Bears abandoned due to rain, Somerset fell nine runs short at Wantage Road and will now look to bounce back in their first home match of the competition, against Glamorgan tomorrow (Tuesday).

Somerset had defeated Northamptonshire by 167 runs in the Bob Willis Trophy earlier this month, but on this occasion it was the hosts who held on to defend 171-6.

Batting first, Northants progressed to 30 without loss but then suffered two dismissals in the fourth over, as Paul Stirling (15) was caught behind off Craig Overton, who then ran out Richard Levi (11), getting a finger to a Josh Cobb straight drive.

But Cobb (42) and Adam Rossington (51 off 31 balls) put together what would prove the match-winning partnership, of 81 runs, before the latter fell to an athletic diving catch from Ollie Sale, off the bowling of Max Waller (1-18).

Sale, playing for the first time this season, was the pick of the Somerset attack with 2-28 off four overs and he showed impressive reflexes to hold a catch to dismiss Cobb off his own bowling.

Saif Zaib added some crucial late runs for the hosts, however, with 28* off 13 balls - including 10 off the final two deliveries, which would prove invaluable for his side.

Somerset made a bright start to their chase, reaching 54-1 at the end of the six-over powerplay, but they lost four wickets in the next five overs as 39-year-old Gareth Berg (2-31) brought his experience to bear.

He accounted for both George Bartlett (24) and James Hildreth (34) after they had put on a 50-run partnership, and 66-3 became 78-5 when Tom Abell and Eddie Byrom fell cheaply.

Ben Sanderson (3-36) removed the big-hitting Overton twins, so it was down to Roelof van der Merwe (41* off 25 balls) and Sale (14* off nine) to keep the visitors' hopes alive.

Their unbroken 46-run stand for the ninth wicket was not quite enough, with 21 needed from the final over, as Somerset reached 162-8 to finish nine runs short.


IT was a more successful weekend for Western Storm, who chased down South East Stars' 166 to win their Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy opener by six wickets.

England captain Heather Knight, who has returned to Western Storm alongside Anya Shrubsole and Katie George for the 50-over competition, scored an unbeaten 91 at Beckenham to steer her side home.

Earlier, Somerset all-rounder Georgia Hennessy had claimed 4-31 as the hosts had tumbled to 55-5, before recovering to 166 all out thanks to Susie Rowe (38) and Tash Farrant (37).

Come the reply, Knight and Fi Morris put on 78 for the first wicket, but the Storm's middle order of captain Sophie Luff, Hennessy and Nath Wraith all went for single-figure scores.

Knight was undeterred, though, showing her class as she secured the win for the visitors with more than 10 overs to spare.

Western Storm's next match is at home to Southern Vipers today (Monday), starting at 10.30am at the Bristol County Ground.