Yorkshire CCC v Somerset – Dom Bess aiming to show his all-round quality in White Rose title bid

DOM BESS is hoping to leave his former team-mates in a spin as Yorkshire eye a come-from-behind title triumph.

By Chris Waters
Saturday, 4th September 2021, 12:05 pm

Bess spent the early part of his career at Somerset before loan spells at Yorkshire were followed by a permanent move.

Now the 24-year-old is aiming to put a dent in his old side’s title ambitions while simultaneously breathing life into Yorkshire’s when the clubs meet at Scarborough in the County Championship.

Yorkshire go into the game bottom of Division One, four points behind fourth-placed Somerset, and 16.5 points behind leaders Warwickshire, with three fixtures remaining.

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TAKE THAT: Yorkshire CCC's Dom Bess crashes one through the overs on his way to a first innings half century against Hampshire in the County Championship at The Ageas Bowl Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

“It will be weird, but I’m really looking forward to it,” said Bess, who took 79 Championship wickets for Somerset before joining Yorkshire permanently last September.

“When I was at Somerset, we got really close (to winning the Championship), but it wasn’t meant to be and now it’s about trying to stop them and performing well for Yorkshire.

“But that’s part and parcel of the professional game, and you’ve got to be professional at the end of the day.

“If we can stop them, and I can put a performance in, then personally it would be really pleasing, but I think that Tres (Somerset legend Marcus Trescothick, Bess’s former team-mate) would probably try and hunt me down,” the off-spinner quipped.

CONFIDENT: Yorkshire coach, Andrew Gale. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Inevitably, the banter has been flying back and forth between Bess and his buddies.

He is good friends with many in the Somerset ranks, which include Jack Brooks, the former Yorkshire pace bowler, and an intriguing sub-plot this week promises to be Bess’s battle with fellow spinner and England hopeful Jack Leach.

“I’ve texted a couple of their boys so I’m probably going to get a barrage,” laughed Bess.

“Some of my best mates will be playing for them: Ben Green, Tom Lammonby, George Bartlett, Tom Abell – I grew up with those lads.

Yorkshire's Dom Bess fields from his own bowling. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“Also, playing against Leechy, which I haven’t done before, could be quite interesting and exciting, and I certainly don’t want to be getting out to him.

“We’re both at a stage of our careers where we’re pushing to play for England, but if I manage to get one of my mates out, whoever it is, then they won’t be hearing the end of it, that’s for sure.”

Bess has had a solid season in the Championship up to now.

Ever-present, his 11 appearances have brought him 364 runs at 26, and 26 wickets at 32.

FAMILIAR FACE: Yorkshire's Jack Brooks will be back at Scarborough this week as part of the Somerset line-up. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

He has been handed the extra responsibility of batting at No 6, with Yorkshire believing that he has the capacity to become a genuine all-rounder.

Bess showed his skills with the bat against Hampshire last week, scoring 54 in the first innings at the Ageas Bowl, and he is determined to improve a facet of his game that complements his burgeoning ability with the ball.

“I was really nervous going into bat against Hampshire because I haven’t really batted in red-ball cricket lately,” said Bess, with the Championship resuming last week after a six-week hiatus for The Hundred and Royal London Cup.

“I’ve worked quite a lot on my batting, but I was really nervous, although I think that’s probably a good thing for me.

“In terms of my batting overall, I think I need to be scoring big runs now, both for Yorkshire and also for higher honours and things like that. I really want to be knocking down the door.

“I think No 6 allows me to have more time at the crease and puts a bit more responsibility on my shoulders, which I need too.”

Bess, who made his first-class debut for Somerset in 2016, did not play when the West Country club last visited North Marine Road for a Championship game.

Somerset won that match in 2017 by 179 runs, and they have a good record at Scarborough in Championship cricket, having lost only once on their last eight visits (in the year 2000).

This is a big game for both sides, who go into it on something of a downer but for different reasons.

Despite playing some of their best cricket of the season, Yorkshire missed a key opportunity to beat Hampshire in Southampton on Thursday, the hosts holding out for a draw with nine wickets down, while Somerset were thrashed the previous day by an innings and 160 runs against Nottinghamshire at Taunton, rendering this week’s fixture something of a must-win for both teams in respect of the title.

“I felt going into this stage of the competition that we’d probably need to win three of our four games,” commented Andrew Gale, the Yorkshire first-team coach. “It was frustrating against Hampshire, because that was probably our best performance of the season all round, but by no means are we out of it yet.

“If we win the next two games, which are both at home (Warwickshire visit Emerald Headingley from September 12), then we go to Trent Bridge (to play Nottinghamshire) for our final match and who knows what can happen in a one-off game? Then it’s effectively knockout cricket.

“All I know is that if we play in the manner that we did against Hampshire, we can beat any team and we’ll definitely win games. I thought we were very disciplined with our batting especially – we really applied ourselves and put a price on our wickets – and I was really pleased with the efforts of the players.”