TRADITIONAL rivals Somerset and Gloucestershire meet for the first time in competitive action this season in the Royal London One-Day Cup South Group fixture at Nevil Road tomorrow.

Somerset have been the group’s early pace-setters, although they were beaten by Hampshire in Taunton yesterday, leaving them with four wins from their opening five matches.

Gloucestershire, meanwhile, defeated Kent yesterday to give them their second win in the competition's South Group.

Last year’s 50-over match between the neighbouring counties was a thriller, with Somerset’s Jamie Overton and Tim Groenewald adding 65 for the final wicket to see the Cidermen to a remarkable one-wicket win.

After the derby, Somerset return to home soil to take on Essex looking to avenge the County Championship defeat they suffered against the same opposition on the first weekend of the season.

Like Somerset, Essex have made a strong start to the 50-over competition and have also lost just once in their first five matches - a tight one-run reverse at Glamorgan on Sunday.

Somerset were boosted by the return of Jamie Overton to the side for yesterday’s clash with Hampshire having recovered from injury, though Lewis Gregory remains sidelined with a back strain.

Both Jamie and Craig Overton are in the squad for the Gloucestershire match, despite having picked up a stomach complaint against Hampshire.

Wicketkeeper Ryan Davies remains in the squad, with namesake Steve Davies having suffered a slight neck injury.

Johann Myburgh, who top scored with 63 in Somerset’s last win in Bristol back in 2015, and George Bartlett are in the squad, as Somerset look to replace the batting firepower of Dean Elgar.

The South African batsman, who has excelled for Somerset so far this season, is away for the next two games on international duty.

There's no place for four-day captain Tom Abell on Friday, however, as he is leading the Seconds in a three-day fixture against Middlesex at Taunton Vale which concludes tomorrow.

You can follow the Gloucestershire and Essex matches as they happen with live blogs on the County Gazette website.


Previewing the Gloucestershire match, director of cricket Matt Maynard said: "It was not the performance we wanted [on Wednesday], we were a little bit off, but there was plenty to go on for Friday.

"[Jamie Overton] is that kind of player, he's never going to be a bowler who goes for two and a half an over, he's a strike bowler.

"He's going to have those days when he goes for runs, but he also showed what he can do by taking four quick wickets at the end there.

"We go up to Bristol hungry for revenge.

"We had a nail-biter [against Gloucestershire] down here last year, and we managed to get over the line, and it set our season up.

"We had a bad loss against Kent in the competition last year, and we bounced back brilliantly from that, so I would expect the same on Friday.

"We'll see what the conditions are like on Friday and make a call on our team, but Jamie Overton was very impressive today and I thought Tim Groenewald bowled really well.

"Josh Davey was a bit off today, but he's bowled superbly in this competition; Craig Overton's picked up a bit of a tummy spasm, so we'll see if he's available for Friday.

"We're going to miss Dean Elgar for the next two games, there's no doubt about that - he's been brilliant for us.

"But we have Johann Myburgh to come into the side, who's a quality player and is in form, having scored a century last week for the 2nd XI.

"We have a squad that is strong and deep, and we expect the guys coming in to do well."