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Three for Jack and Tom, but Lancashire pass 350 on day one

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Jack Brooks and Tom Abell both claimed three wickets, but Luke Wells’ first century for Lancashire led the visitors to 364 for eight on an entertaining opening day of this LV=Insurance County Championship Division One match at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

Wells made 103 off 113 balls, with 20 fours, and was well supported by Josh Bohannon, who contributed 50 and shared a third-wicket stand of 155 after the home side had won the toss. Steven Croft later made 71 and Tom Bailey scored 54 not out.

Craig Overton (rib) and Josh Davey (groin) pulled out before the match because of fitness issues and, with Lewis Gregory also on the injured list plus the unavailability of Jack Leach, there was a First Class debut for 19-year-old seamer Ned Leonard.

The Academy product was given the new ball and soon celebrated his maiden Championship wicket as, with Lancashire’s score on 27, George Balderson edged to Tom Lammonby at third slip.

The following over from Brooks saw Alex Davies caught behind, but Wells hit 11 fours on his way to a 48-ball half-century. By lunch, Wells and Bohannon had taken the score to 127 for two with a century stand off 23 overs.

The afternoon session saw Wells move to an impressive hundred with successive boundaries off Abell before the next delivery saw him edge to James Hildreth at first slip.

In Abell’s next over, Bohannon reached fifty, also with successive fours, and then immediately fell to a catch by Tom Lammonby in a position between backward point and short third man.

Bohannon had faced 118 balls and hit seven boundaries. Rob Jones quickly followed, comfortably taken by Hildreth, before Dane Vilas and Croft took up the attack, continuing the fast scoring.

They added 65 before Vilas, on 36, fell lbw to Brooks pushing down the wrong line.

Danny Lamb fell in similar fashion and at 268 for seven Lancashire were in danger of failing to capitalise on their morning’s work.

At tea, it was 276 for seven, with Croft unbeaten on 41. In late afternoon sunshine at the Cooper Associates County Ground, he moved to fifty off 77 balls, with six fours. Bailey provided good support and by the time the second new ball was taken, at the start of the 83rd over, Lancashire were 316 for seven.

Croft, on 67, was caught at fine leg off a Brooks no-ball to compound Somerset’s misery before Bailey went to his second successive Championship half-century off 111 balls.

Marchant de Lange had Croft caught behind in the penultimate over, and at the close of play the visitors had reached 364 for eight.

At the end of the day, Somerset Bowling Coach, Steve Kirby said: “It was a poor day for us. We were not able to put the ball in the right areas consistently enough and if you miss those areas you get scored off.

“The lads have toiled hard all day, but know they have fallen below the standards they set for themselves. They will come back stronger tomorrow.

“Craig Overton pulled out because he felt a slight impingement and Josh Davey pulled up this morning with a problem in his hip and groin area. Neither were rested and both would have played had they been fit.

“We were without Jack Leach as well, but it all meant a chance for Ned Leonard, who earned it through his wickets in the second XI, and he will benefit hugely from the experience.”

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