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Somerset dominant on day one

Somerset completely dominated the opening day of their home match against Oxford MCCU at the Cooper Associates County Ground and by close the students trailed by 395 runs with three first innings wickets remaining.

After opting to bat first Somerset amassed 452 for eight declared the highlight of which was a double century by Roelof van der Merwe and an unbeaten 60 from Lewis Gregory. The students reached 57 for seven in reply.

Marcus Trescothick once again opened the scoring with a classic cover drive and with his top order partner Van der Merwe took the total onto 58. However, having moved onto 25 with ease the former skipper played a rather loose drive and was bowled by Andrew Wilkinson. Tom Abell got off the mark with a classy drive but the next ball was too early in the stroke and was caught at backward point by Steve Green off Wilkinson.

New batsman James Hildreth came into join Van der Merwe who looked untroubled and saw up the 100 for Somerset with a single off Grundy in the 19th over. Next over the Dutch international pushed a single to mid-wicket off Malcolm Lake to go to his 50 which came off 49 balls and included eight boundaries.

Hildreth played his shots freely and the crowd at the Cooper Associates County Ground were treated to some entertaining cricket. Van der Merwe hit the first six of the day when he lofted Heathfield over long on to see up the 150. Hildreth added 93 for the third wicket and took his score onto 39 when he was well caught at square-leg by Lake off McIver. Just before lunch Van der Merwe went to his century with a big 6 over mid-wicket off McIver, before Somerset went into the interval with the total on 196 for three off 31 overs.

In the afternoon session Van der Merwe continued to plunder his runs with ease  and saw up his own 150 and the Somerset 250 with four to third man off Oxford skipper Grundy. The partnership between Van der Merwe and Trego put on 111 before Trego looked to drive off-spinner Green over long on and was well caught at deep mid-on by McIver. The fielder juggled the chance before making the ball secure.

Lewis Gregory came to the middle to play his first innings this season for Somerset and immediately looked at home. Van der Merwe went to his 200 when he hit Green over wide long-on for yet another six. His runs came from 166 balls  with 25 fours and 6 sixes. Nine runs later however the big hitter was out caught at deep mid-wicket, looking for another six, by Alex Martin off Green making Somerset 381 for six.

Wicket-keeper Ryan Davies and Craig Overton were both out cheaply which brought Jamie Overton in to join Gregory. After playing some particularly eye-catching shots he went to his 50 with a single into the off side off McIver, his runs coming from 76 balls with seven fours and one delightful six over wide mid-off.

The eighth wicket pair added 70 runs in 10 overs, including a number of big sixes off the spinners before Overton was caught and bowled by McIver for 45 off 35 balls, leaving Gregory not out 60 as Somerset declared on 452 for eight.

Opening bowlers Craig Overton and Gregory both hit their lengths straight away and it was Overton who claimed the first wicket, when with his third ball he had Wells caught at third slip by Gregory. Overton struck again in his next over when Alex Martin was caught by Gregory at third slip for six making Oxford 13 for 2. Gregory from the Somerset Pavilion End was next to strike when Trescothick held onto a catch from McIver at second slip which made the students 15 for 3.

Jamie Overton replaced Gregory and struck twice in the 11th over, having Rhys Hussain caught by Davies for 20 off the fifth ball and accounting for Lake LBW off the last ball. Tim Groenewald joined the attack in place of Craig Overton and with his second delivery had Broughton caught by third slip Gregory for 6.  Groenewald picked up his second wicket when he had Grundy LBW for three and by the close of play the score had moved onto 57 for seven off 18 overs.

 Afterwards Somerset’s double centurion said: “It was nice to get the chance to play against the new ball. I was hitting it well which I was pleased about.”

 “To get 209 you have got to hit the ball well and I will definitely go into the first Specsavers County Championship game next week with confidence. The pitch is offering something for the bowlers and a bit of nip so it’s about putting the ball in the right areas for long enough without releasing the pressure which is what we have done and put ourselves into a good position.”

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Next MatchSomerset V Derbyshire Falcons

09/07/2022 19:00 - The Cooper Associates County Ground