Worcestershire v Somerset, County Championship Division One,New Road Worcester, Day one, July 22nd 2018 Somerset 324-9 (Davies 72, Abell 70, Hildreth 57)
Teams in championship contention need days like this. Not flashy, headline-grabbing days but hard yards days where foundations are built. Jason Kerr often refers to his focus on winning sessions as the route to winning games and building a title challenge. Somerset won all three sessions at New Road on Day 1 despite being 11-2 and 115-4 in the first and second sessions respectively.
Somerset supporters would have, if they had needed it, been buoyed by two welcome returns and one significant debut. Marcus Trescothick returned for the first time since Old Trafford in early May and Jamie Overton added the welcome dimension of pace and hostility to an already potent attack.
Azhar Ali slotted in at No3 in the batting order and provided crucial stability after the early loss of both openers. In company with James Hildreth Somerset’s new overseas signing added 99 for the third wicket. But when both departed in short order, Somerset needed something substantial from the middle-order. They got this from the captain and the ‘keeper in a fifth-wicket stand of 126 albeit aided by Abell being given a chance on 25.
The stage was set for Peter Trego to flay a tiring bowling attack on a flattening wicket. Sadly it was not to be but the twins provided that final session impetus with a stand of 51 in just eight overs (Craig 31 Jamie 28). In all my years of watching our glorious county, there are few partnerships that have given me so much pleasure as the twins. The dynamic between them is a joy to behold, and for a brief spell in the late afternoon they seemed to have reprised many a summer evenings in the garden in North Devon. The competition between them reminds me of Richards and Botham at their best. High praise indeed.
Somerset will be satisfied with their day’s work. There is a lot to do, but the solid platform needed to record yet another championship win is most assuredly there.