Somerset 387 for 4 dec and 345 for 9 dec beat Cardiff MCCU 118 and 46 (Overton 6-24, Davey 4-21) by 568 runs
The value of awarding first-class status to university matches is once again under scrutiny after Somerset completed a record-breaking rout of Cardiff MCCU in their season opener at Taunton.
Cardiff had been faced with a nominal target of 615 on the third afternoon of their match, after Somerset had completed their batting practice with centuries for James Hildreth in the first innings and Ed Byrom in the second.
Sixteen overs later, Cardiff’s last wicket had fallen – all out for 46 as Craig Overton (6 for 24) and Josh Davey (4 for 21) shared all ten between them.
Sam Pearce, with 11 from 20 balls, was the only Cardiff batsman to reach double figures; Oskar Kolk, with 9 from 29, at least managed to stay at the crease for a full half an hour.
Batting collapses in this day and age are not limited to student line-ups of course – just ask England, who were routed for 77 in 30.2 overs by West Indies in Bridgetown earlier this year, or Australia, whose 60 all out at Trent Bridge in 2015 was done and dusted in 18.3.
However, the statistical gulf between the sides was among the most yawning of all time – the eighth-biggest in terms of runs in all first-class cricket, and the largest ever recorded in a first-class fixture in England.
It exceeded, by six runs, the 562-run trouncing that Australia inflicted on England at The Oval in 1934, a match in which Don Bradman (244) and Bill Ponsford (266) added 451 for the second wicket in a first-innings total of 701, before Clarrie Grimmett’s five wickets shot England out for 145 on the fourth and final day.
And it was the fifth time in which a University side had lost by more than 500 runs to county opposition, following Nottinghamshire’s 541-run defeat of Durham MCCU in 2013, and a trio of defeats for Cambridge (by 523, 522 and 517 runs), two of which came in consecutive matches in 2016.
This defeat did, however, fall someway short of the all-time runs record – 685 – by New South Wales against Queensland in 1929-30, a match in which that man Bradman again made an unbeaten 452, his highest first-class score.
But, as if to prove that the student rookies have to start somewhere and that the only way from here is up, Cardiff’s defeat also fell way short of the largest runs defeat ever recorded in a Test match.
This time, it was Bradman himself on the receiving end, on Test debut at the Exhibition Ground in Brisbane, when his scores of 18 and 1 formed part of a crushing 675-run defeat against England.