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Batters give Somerset upper hand on day one

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Somerset’s batters gave the visitors the upper hand on day one of this LV= Insurance County Championship match against local rivals Gloucestershire at the Seat Unique Stadium, Bristol.

Somerset started strongly as Matt Renshaw and Tom Lammonby shared an opening stand of 172.

Overseas recruit Renshaw hit 94, off 141 deliveries, with 16 fours, while 21-year-old Lammonby lost little in comparison, striking 11 boundaries in his 131-ball innings of 76.

The two left-handers put together their chanceless partnership from 43.4 overs after Somerset had lost the toss and paved the way for a first day total of 319 for four.

James Hildreth also looked in good touch, contributing 53 whilst Tom Abell completed the day unbeaten on 52. Zak Chappell, one of three new loanees in the Gloucestershire side, was the pick of the home attack with two for 49 from 18 overs.

Renshaw and Lammonby dominated the morning session after Gloucestershire had elected to field in bright sunshine on a pitch with only a suggestion of greenness.

Somerset’s opening pair soon settled and batted with increasing assurance. Renshaw accelerated impressively and, despite being briefly becalmed in the forties, went to his half-century with a single off Brad Wheal, making his Gloucestershire debut on loan from Hampshire.

 

The Australian had faced 85 balls and hit nine fours. Lammonby was particularly effective through the leg-side with some meaty pulls and drives as the partnership progressed to 114 off 31 overs by lunch.

The afternoon session began with Lammonby moving to fifty with an edged boundary off Higgins, having faced 94 deliveries and hit nine boundaries.

There looked to be little in the pitch for Gloucestershire’s injury-hit attack, but Chappell was rewarded with two wickets in quick succession.

Having previously demonstrated sound shot selection, Lammonby looked to guide a ball that was too straight over the slips and miscued a catch to gully.

In his next over Chappell produced the best ball of the day to beat Renshaw’s back-foot defensive shot with one that squeezed between bat and pad. From looking untroubled, Somerset had lost both openers and were 174 for two.

Gloucestershire’s fightback continued when Tom Banton, who had lofted left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar over long-on for six on his way to 18, edged a defensive push off Higgins through to James Bracey at 207 for three.

Skipper Abell and the vastly experienced Hildreth, 18 years to the day since scoring his maiden First Class century against Durham, steadied things and took the score to 229 at tea.

By the time Gloucestershire took the second new ball, a further 43 had been added under continuing blue skies, but with a stiff breeze blowing across the ground.

Abell and Hildreth were looking rock solid, but having reached a 96-ball fifty, the latter pushed forward to left-armer Matt Taylor and edged through to Bracey.

The stand of 85 had re-established Somerset’s dominance and Abell reached a 125-ball half-century with a glorious off-driven four.

At the close of play Tom Lammonby said: “It was nice to make a good start. There were periods today where we felt comfortable, but there was also a lot of time when we didn’t quite feel in control on that wicket. That gives us something to look to when we take the ball.

“Renners is a laid back character and we click quite well. That’s two hundred partnerships in a row for us now. The main objective for us as openers is to settle the nerves on day one and build a platform and we were able to do that today.

“We were looking to bat this morning so that we could assert ourselves on the game and take it to Gloucestershire. We stuck in there, got a good start for the team and were able to build a good platform for us to push on from.”

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