Somerset 326 (Davies 74, Bess 51) and 169 (Azhar 65*, Ashwin 5-59, Patterson-White 5-73) beat Nottinghamshire 241 (Libby 77, Nash 50, Bess 5-59) and 122 (J Overton 4-24, Leach 4-42) by 132 runs
If Nottinghamshire supporters ever need a new badge, they might consider Edvard Munch's painting "The Scream". It has sod all to do with cricket but it perfectly represents their current state of mind. However, one can scream in delight as well as fear so such an outburst also captures the mood of younger fans at Taunton. It certainly matched the emotions of Somerset's cricketers just after six o'clock on this third evening when Jamie Overton sent Jake Ball's off stump spinning to complete his county's seventh win in nine games this season.
In truth, it was tempting to pity Nottinghamshire as this match hurtled towards a climax which saw eight wickets fall after tea on what proved to be its final day. Steven Mullaney's team played some decent cricket and when Somerset were 115 for 8 just after lunch, it was possible to see the visitors chasing down a target which then stood at 200.
But Tom Abell's side have acquired the knack of posting good totals, albeit by unorthodox means, and the ninth-wicket stand of 51 between Overton and Azhar Ali took the game beyond Nottinghamshire's insecure batsmen, especially on a pitch helping the spinners. Azhar finished unbeaten on 65 while Overton's 24 was a short innings which exhibited immense common sense in choosing which balls to attack.
All this was rather in contrast to the morning session in which Somerset had collapsed to the spin of R Ashwin, one of the best twirlers in the world, and Liam Patterson-White, a 20-year-old debutant who had been ill on the first day on this game, made nought on the second, took five wickets on the third and ended it with Jamie Overton threatening his cerebellum with a cricket ball travelling at well over 80mph. I told you it gets better, Liam. Welcome to the show that ends only with autumn's gentle beauty.
None of which should make us underestimate the panic pullulating through the County Ground as Ashwin and Patterson-White ran amok. When Steven Davies was leg before to Ashwin's drifter just before lunch Somerset were 94 for 6 and in some trouble. Yet for their supporters, no strangers to such alarums, this was only the latest reverse of a poor session.
And so perhaps it is some variety of providence that ensures many cricket grounds are blessed with wonderful views. When Somerset collapsed on this blue morning at Taunton spectators in the upper stands could gaze on distant hills where a tablecloth of oatmeal and shy greens might have given them a moment of peace.
Before long, though, the twin duties of love and loyalty caused them to lower their gaze and they saw James Hildreth caught at the wicket off Ashwin for 7 having charged down the wicket like a galloping Clydesdale. Hildreth might have been bowled or stumped but his dismissal was only the second in a decline which saw Somerset shamble to a lead of 179 when Davies was out. The regulars on Gimblett's Hill, a coveted vantage point where only buttock recognition establishes a chap's inalienable right to his seat, agreed this was not enough. They lunched muttering about lost opportunities.
One could see their argument. Ashwin was stablished fast like a changeless decree at the Pavilion End and ended the innings with five wickets. Patterson-White match him and has kept the ball as a souvenir among a thousand other memories. The question now was whether a lead of 254 would be enough.
And, of course, it was plenty. Jack Leach, having discovered the pace to bowl on this wicket, removed both Jake Libby and Ben Slater in his first three overs. Hildreth caught three fine catches at first slip, second slip and leg slip. At absolutely no stage of their innings did Mullaney's side look like chasing down their target, although the skipper may have been unlucky to be given out caught off bat and pad when replays suggested only the latter was involved.
Somerset's bowlers had no time to care about such misfortunes. Their shrewd coach, Jason Kerr, has assembled the best squad of players in the country at the moment and if they need to be told what is needed to win titles, Jack Brooks is on hand to tell them. Notts were 35 for 3 when Tom Moores edged a lightning fast catch to Hildreth off Overton; 95 for 6 when Ashwin, having made 41 from No. 4, chipped Leach to George Bartlett at mid-on.
The only question now was whether the game would finish on Tuesday or Wednesday. Overton decided he fancied a day off and bowled at a speed to move bowels. Patterson-White's excellent adventure ended when his stumps were splattered. The extra half-hour was taken but Overton only needed an extra five minutes. Somerset lead the table by 15 points but have a tough test to come against Yorkshire next week.
Yet Abell's men have the wind at their backs. It has been the summer of "Blackbird" and of Tom Banton; the summer of golden combes and George Bartlett; the summer of "Do It For Tres" and Lewis Gregory. If things carry on like this, can you imagine what September will be like in Taunton? Oh my lovely, can you just imagine it!