Trescothick century enables Somerset to edge in front

David Willey was the pick of the Northants attack on day one against Somerset
David Willey was the pick of the Northants attack on day one against Somerset
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It was marginally Somerset’s day as the LV= County Championship encounter with Northamptonshire got under way at the County Ground.

On an excellent pitch and with the benefit of some luck, the visitors made 366-8 - effectively nine with Craig Kieswetter unlikely to bat - on what was an entertaining day’s play.

Their fortune came when Peter Trego was given not out from his first ball when Andrew Hall claimed a catch at slip and went on to make 77 and the pitch suited Marcus Trescothick, still one of the best going around, who registered a fourth century of a productive campaign.

All added together, this has given the visitors the advantage given the County’s previous with bat in hand but they won’t get a better 22 yards on which to make some sort of amends when their time comes tomorrow morning.

Unsurprisingly, given the look of the surface and the home side’s recent form of conceding large totals, Somerset chose to have first use when Marcus Trescothick called correctly.

The fact they were contesting a Natwest t20 Blast fixture 180 miles away the previous evening - scheduling common sense anybody? - may have had something to do with it but it was definitely the right course of action.

However, on a warm morning that encouraged swing, for David Willey especially, the home attack made Trescothick et al work for their reward.

Before lunch the former England opener lacked for any kind of fluency or timing but experience can count for a great deal and he made it to lunch with few alarms.

At the other end, both Chris Jones and Nick Compton had their off stumps removed, the former driving airily at Muhammad Azharullah and the latter receiving a peach of a delivery from Willey that swung in then left him off the pitch.

New boy Colin Ingram, on his first-class debut for Somerset in place of Alviro Petersen, looked comfortable before becoming the third wicket of the session as he pulled Olly Stone to the diving Matt Spriegel at square-leg.

A tally of 93-3 at the break represented a good morning’s work for the County and it got better shortly after the return when James Hildreth was trapped in front by a Willey inswinger.

That preceded an incident-filled half an hour as Kieswetter’s skittish stint was brought to an end when a well-directed bouncer pierced the gap between his helmet peak and grille.

An instant call for medical attention generally isn’t a good sign and this was proved true as he was forced to retire hurt with a laceration under his eye and suspected broken nose.

His replacement, Peter Trego, then edged his first ball from Willey to slip where Andrew Hall claimed the catch.

As is his right, Trego stood his ground and once the umpires decided to discuss the issue there was only going to be one outcome.

That led, as it always does, to an increase in the decibel levels with Hall visibly agitated but it didn’t seem to make any difference to Trego who played his shots from the off.

This, in turn, prompted Trescothick to up his own rate as his timing returned and batting became an easier occupation as the pair rattled along at five an over.

There was the odd play and miss as the bounce offered kept those doing the bowling interested but a breakthrough couldn’t be found and landmarks were reached as Trego passed 50 and his senior partner, in the final over before tea, made it to three figures for the fourth time in eight first-class innings on this ground by putting away a gentle full toss from Kyle Coetzer.

An opportunity to break the stand was squandered early in the evening session when Coetzer shelled Trego at second slip off Stone but the disappointed bowler showed how to do it when he pouched the centurion off Hall.

Trego departed a couple of minutes later when Stone caught him on the crease as the second new ball got to work and it accounted for both Craig Overton and Lewis Gregory in quick succession.

George Dockrell and Alfonso Thomas saw out the final half an hour without too many issues but it shouldn’t be too long before they are doing their primary jobs.