They might have been bridesmaids yet again, but director of cricket Matthew Maynard had nothing but praise for the achievements of his heartbroken Somerset side following an incredible final afternoon of the Specsavers County Championship season.
Having thrashed Nottinghamshire a day earlier, players, staff and fans packed out the bars at the Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton to watch the televised battle between title rivals Middlesex and Yorkshire at Lord's. The game needed to finish as a draw for Somerset to win the Division 1 title for the first time in their long history, but Middlesex prevailed in dramatic fashion after bowling out their visitors 61 runs short of their 40-over target of 240.
Maynard described the finale as both “horrible” and “brilliant”, and added that Somerset's time would come again thanks to the emergence of a crop of young stars.
“We may have outdone our expectations this year,” he said. “I have every faith that this group can go forward, keep working hard and deliver that elusive County Championship title.”
Maynard also felt Middlesex were worthy champions after ending the season unbeaten, although skipper James Franklin's declaration appeared generous at first.
“They weren't just going to give us the title,” added Maynard of the contrived finish that drew criticism from some quarters. “From the outset it looked a very fair declaration.
“In all fair credit, Middlesex have been a very consistent side this year and haven't lost a game. A number of their players have had outstanding seasons and they have a bowling attack that can take 20 wickets.”
The result meant Marcus Trescothick's wait for the championship continues for at least another year, having also been part of the side that were pipped at the post in 2010. He made more than 1,200 runs this season and will be 41 by the time the next comes around in April.
Trescothick said: “Every year you are getting one step closer to finishing. I'm happy with how I played and it [the title] would have been the icing on the cake.”