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Steve shows his class on day one

Steve Davies hit his second century for Somerset on an absorbing opening day of this Specsavers County Championship match with Lancashire at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

The experienced wicketkeeper-batsman was dismissed shortly before the close for 111 having faced 174 balls and hit 12 fours.

Davies shared a fifth-wicket stand of 119 with skipper Tom Abell (46) as Somerset posted 330 for nine on a turning pitch after Lancashire had exercised their option to field first.

Young leg-spinner Matthew Parkinson had figures of four for 68 from 17 overs, recovering from a wayward start to provide a stiff test for the home batsmen on a turning pitch.

Eddie Byrom batted through the morning session as Somerset posted 103 for three by lunch. The 20-year-old left-handed opener was unbeaten on 38 at the interval, having shared stands of 39 with Marcus Trescothick and 46 with James Hildreth. Trescothick progressed to 25 before falling lbw to Tom Bailey.

George Bartlett, on his second Championship appearance, had made three when he was trapped leg-before moving across his stumps to Kyle Jarvis and Hildreth was bowled off an inside edge by McLaren, having moved effortlessly to 25.

When Zimbabwean Byrom fell for 38 in the first over after lunch, the hosts were in trouble at 105 for four. However, Davies and Tom Abell patiently rebuilt the innings before being parted just before tea when the Somerset captain was caught at slip for 46 off Parkinson, pushing forward to a leg-break. He had faced 103 balls and hit six fours in a solid contribution.

Davies was unbeaten on 78 in a total of 229 for five at tea. At that point McLaren was the most successful Lancashire bowler with two for 44 from 12 overs.

The final session saw 20-year-old Parkinson bowl with increasing confidence once Peter Trego, on 17, was stumped advancing down the pitch to a wide delivery.

Craig Overton was out edging a turning ball to slip having made four and Dom Bess was well stumped down the leg side by Alex Davies after matching Trego’s score.

Davies, who survived two tough chances before he had made 50, batted with increasing assurance to reach three figures off 160 balls, with 11 fours. He and Jack Leach brought up a third batting point after a short rain break, which Leach celebrated by lifting Parkinson over the short boundary on the town side of the ground for the first six of the game.

At 312 for eight, Lancashire took the second new ball. It proved a wise move as Bailey bowled Davies off an inside edge onto his leg stump with the score on 322.

Somerset finished the day on 330 for nine and after the close of play Steve Davies said: “Obviously it hasn’t gone the way we would have liked so far this season and the next few games are really important so it was nice to be able to contribute today.

“I think that we’ve had a pretty decent day. Against the new ball our openers battled through and got us off to a decent start and then everyone made a contribution throughout the innings. I think we feel its a pretty decent score.

“By the back end of the day it was just breaking up a little bit more than at the start- so fingers crossed! There is also something in it for the seamers especially with the new ball so everyone is in the game which is why 330 is a decent total.”

“When I walked out to bat I just wanted to make a contribution. We’ve tried to put everything behind us and we’ve got three more games after this. They are all finals for us, so I just wanted to contribute and once I got in I just wanted to make sure that I got over the line and made a big one.”

“I certainly didn’t feel tense today and there wasn’t a fear factor. I just went out and played. I had my fair share of luck but it was a nice day for me.

“I think that we are slightly ahead and, if the wicket breaks up like we hope it will, 330 on the board with a wicket in hand is a good place to be in. If we can add another 20 in the morning we are in a good position. If we can get a couple of early wickets and it starts to spin then you never know what might happen.”

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