William Hill Sports
SOMERSET V SURREY at Taunton (LVCC1), 28-31 AUGUST 2012

The disappointment, today, of failing to make the last four in the Clydesdale Bank 40 is yet another blow to hit Surrey in what has, without doubt, been a bruising season for a host of reasons.

If there is some good news for the visitors it's that Nick Compton and Craig Kieswetter - who sit first and second in Somerset's championship batting averages - will not be lining up against Gareth Batty's men over the next four days. That means only one of the hosts' batsmen - James Hildreth (740 championship runs at an average of 38.94) - go into this contest averaging over thirty. Just two others have made hundreds in this summer's competition - Marcus Trescothick, who hit an invaluable 123 against Sussex last week, and Arul Suppiah, whose last three-figure score came at the Oval back in May.

Further evidence that Somerset have, perhaps, flattered to deceive at times this summer can be found in their championship bowling averages. Trego (48 championship scalps at 25.70 runs apiece) has been, far and away their most successful bowler in four-day cricket. Alfonso Thomas and George Dockrell will be the only other bowlers on show tomorrow with more than 16 championship wickets under their belts.

Sorry, but no approaching milestones are jumping out at me.

Rory Hamilton-Brown has been dropped from the team that beat Middlesex by eight runs to accommodate a certain Kevin Pietersen, while England / England Lions duty sees Stuart Meaker swap places with Jade Dernbach. Will Tim Linley play a third championship game on the trot? Unlikely. Jon Lewis, who missed the recent London derby, offers more with the bat; which shouldn't be overlooked given that Gareth Batty's highest championship score this season is 36.

Middlesex 15-18 Aug 2012 Won By 8 Runs The Oval 144 & 341 232 & 245
Durham 7-10 Aug 2012 Lost By An Inns & 38 Runs The Riverside 129 & 143 310
Warwickshire 27-30 Jul 2012 Match Drawn Edgbaston 286 & 202-3 571
Nottinghamshire 18-21 Jul 2012 Match Drawn Trent Bridge 252-6 328
Lancashire 11-14 Jul 2012 Match Drawn Guildford 430-5 485-7d

Why do my predictions always seem to begin with a weather watch? It's most probably because it's been one of those summers. Or would it be more accurate to say non-summers? No wonder the doctor has told yours truly that he has a vitamin D deficiency! The forecast suggests we'll be lucky to see more than three days' play in total, which means a draw is the most likely outcome. But can Surrey make more than their best first innings total away from home this season - the 286 they compiled at Edgbaston? Anything less and the visitors might end up surrendering more than just bonus points. To be honest, I'd take a draw, not least because Surrey have not won a championship match at Taunton since 1986.

M Trescothick (capt), A Suppiah, C Jones, J Hildreth, J Buttler (wk), A Barrow, P Trego, A Thomas, G Dockrell, G Hussain and S Kirby.

Steve Gale and Peter Hartley.

16-19 May 2012 Match Drawn The Oval Somerset Bat 388 & 239-7 512-9d & 180
12-15 Aug 2008 Match Drawn Taunton Surrey Field 406-9 401-3d
30 May - 2 Jun 2008 Lost By 8 Wickets Whitgift School Somerset Field 326 & 227 446 & 111-2
19-22 Jul 2006 Match Drawn Guildford Somerset Bat 717 688-8d
14-16 Jun 2006 Won By 4 Wickets Bath Surrey Field 266 & 356-6 342 & 276
3-6 Jul 2002 Match Drawn Taunton Somerset Field 608-6d & 324-5d 554 & 329-7
24-27 May 2002 Match Drawn The Oval Surrey Bat 220 & 332 253 & 45-1
23-26 Aug 2001 Match Drawn Taunton Somerset Bat 278 & 294-6 373 & 311-6d
6-9 Jun 2001 Won By 6 Wickets The Oval Somerset Bat 403 & 210-4 377 & 234
14-16 Jun 2000 Won By An Inns & 213 Runs The Oval Surrey Bat 548 145 & 190
26-29 Apr 2000 Match Drawn Taunton Somerset Field 185 302-8d
26-29 May 1999 Won By 7 Wickets The Oval Somerset Bat 558-9d & 49-3 199 & 405
21-24 May 1998 Lost By 165 Runs Taunton Surrey Field 241 & 245 176 & 475
23-26 Apr 1997 Match Drawn The Oval Somerset Bat 209-8 463
2-6 May 1996 Match Drawn Taunton Somerset Field 367 & 410-4 558