Tom Abell insists that Somerset are getting close to their long-awaited maiden red-ball title.

Somerset drew the Bob Willis Trophy final at Lord’s on Sunday, but Essex claimed the crown due to their higher first innings score.

It means that Somerset have finished second in either the County Championship or Bob Willis Trophy in six of the last 11 seasons – with the county never tasting glory in the longest county format.

But captain Abell is optimistic that the hoodoo over them will wear off soon.

He said: “Having come so close a number of times we certainly believe we are within touching distance and we certainly feel if we play the brand of cricket we have been playing then we will come out on top.

“As tough as it is to take we need to trust what we are doing.

“There are plenty of good things to come out of this season; guys have really stepped up to prove how good they really are.

“Over the course of a Championship season the best team will often prevail but with the nature of the competition it does come down to a final game.”

Somerset needed to bowl Essex out on the final day to claim the trophy for themselves, but only managed to take six wickets as the South Group winners held firm.

“The overwhelming emotion is certainly one of disappointment,” added Abell, who led the county to the Royal London One-Day Cup title in 2019, while finishing runners-up in the County Championship.

“We experienced coming second to Essex last season and wanted that not to be the case.

“When you come second you always look at the what-ifs, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

“Going into today I felt like we had a great chance of winning the game but it felt like a good contest between two well-matched side throughout the game.

“We knew going into the games the connotations of getting a first innings lead and we didn’t manage to do that.”

Eddie Byrom’s 117 led Somerset to 301 in their first innings, but Sir Alastair Cook then scored a superb 172 as Essex posted 337-8, despite Lewis Gregory’s 6-72 haul.

Tom Lammonby hit 116 as Abell’s men declared at 272-7 second time around, but Essex – set a target of 237 to win – made 179-6 to earn the draw, as England spinner Jack Leach claimed 3-38 from his 22-over spell.