WINNING the County Championship for the first time in their history was the main focus of interest among those who gathered at the Cooper Associates County Ground for Somerset’s Press Day.

After spending much of last season in the lower reaches of the table, Somerset managed to  retain their unbroken run in the top flight with a resounding victory in their penultimate match of 2022.

Over the winter the squad has been strengthened by the signings of batters Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Shaun Dickson on long term contracts, as well as Aussie Test player Cameron Bancroft for the start of the campaign, while the highly experienced Test bowler Peter Siddle is returning and New Zealander Matt Henry a fast bowling all rounder has been recruited.

So is 2023 going to be the year that sees Somerset lift that elusive championship title for the first time ever?

Tom Abell said:“Im incredibly excited about what we can achieve this season and when we play our best cricket we are the best team in the country. We have got the ability to perform a bit more consistently at that level so Im very excited about what we can achieve. If you are asking me I think we can win the championship- the answer is I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think we could.

Director of cricket Andy Hurry said: “There’s not one person in the room who doesn’t want to win the championship. We have looked to strengthen the squad during the winter and make it really really competitive. 

“We are incredibly aspirational and very hungry and have done everything we can behind the scenes to give ourselves the best possible chance. There is a real feeling of excitement around the dressing room and about the club about the quality of players we have in our squad, but we have got to take it a session and a day at a time to build up our momentum.

“It’s going to be tough because the reality is that every club wants to win the championship.

Andy added: “We are really up for winning the championship and want to go into that final round of matches with the opportunity of winning the title. I think we have addressed what we have needed to and our pre-season preparation has been outstanding so we are in a really strong position right now. "

Head coach Jason Kerr said: “None of us would be here is we didn’t believe that we can win the championship- its the holy grail and something that has never been done. I have talked to the guys about creating a legacy. You can look too far ahead but the carrot is imagine sitting here in September if we do lift it.

Jason added: “100% this squad is capable and is as strong as its ever been and the depth is there. You need a little bit of luck because it is incredibly competitive in the top division, but let’s look forward to September.“

The Somerset skipper summed it up when he added: “Nothing would give me more pleasure than to be able to sit here in sixth months time having won the county championship for the first time ever and having scored a 1000 runs!”