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County Championship 2023

‘I bet you’re fun at parties’ – Lancashire and Craig Overton clash over declaration offer after Somerset bat out farcical draw

County Championship
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

The final day of Lancashire’s County Championship draw with Somerset descended into farce, with the two sides sparring off the field over events leading up to the stalemate.

The game ended with Somerset 398-5 in their third innings, with hopes of a result dissipating as the fourth day played out. The final afternoon took on a farcical feel, with Somerset’s sixth-wicket pair of James Rew and Kacey Aldridge showing little appetite to attempt to up the rate, despite Lancashire introducing wicketkeepers Dane Vilas and George Bell into the attack.

Vilas, the Lancashire captain, taking the new ball himself was interpreted as an act of protest at Somerset’s lack of enterprise, with the Old Trafford-based side making clear on social media their displeasure at the state of the game. “I bet you’re fun at parties,” the official Lancashire account tweeted at Somerset sarcastically, with a series of ‘snooze’ emojis posted by Liam Livingstone, on secondment in the IPL, making his feelings clear as well.


“It’s a good pitch but scoring quickly wasn’t easy and a good target could have been set to give both teams a chance,” Lancashire coach Glen Chapple said at stumps. “There was a good game in prospect and for some reason Somerset weren’t interested. I’ve got no explanation for that. I thought 260-270 from lunch would have been really challenging, but we would have gone for it. We would have even gone for 300, but that would have been a slim chance on that surface.

“They didn’t take any chances in the morning session, they were 250-odd in front and it would have taken very little more intent from them to get a really challenging target. The more you dangle the carrot, the more chance both teams have of winning. We would have gone all the way after a reasonable chase.”

However, the Somerset camp disputed this characterisation of their efforts, with Craig Overton responding on Twitter to Lancashire. “We came at you with a reasonable offer yesterday afternoon to make a game of it yet you declined,” he said, expanding that Somerset had suggested Lancashire declaring after reaching 250, with Somerset then putting on enough runs through the evening and next morning to set a target of 350 to win in 90 overs.

Somerset captain Tom Abell elaborated on why declaring with two sessions to go was not seen as an option. “We went to Lancashire yesterday afternoon before the second new ball about the possibility of making a game,” Abell explained. “We felt we needed the best part of 96 overs to bowl a side out and it wasn’t right for them at the time, which is fair enough.

“A chase of only 50 or 60 overs only plays into their hands. We wanted to set up a game where both teams would have a chance of winning but ultimately it didn’t feel right. Fifty or sixty overs on that surface wasn’t going to be enough. So it turned into a bit of a damp squib but I don’t want to take that away from the efforts over the four days.”

With five points available for a draw in 2023, a reduction from eight in 2022, the result arguably helped neither side. Somerset and Lancashire are the only two sides in Division One yet to win a game this season, with the result leaving them five and seven points above the bottom two respectively.

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