Gregory, Davey and Leach salvage a day Warwickshire’s seamers dominated until the final couple hours of day 2 (that’s actually the first day) of the County season in Taunton.
Somerset recovered from 136-7 to 269-8 to end the day marginally the happier of the two sides.
It was another frustrating day where all of Somerset’s top five got starts but no one reached 50.
In fairness though, Oliver Hannon-Dalby (OHD) and Rushworth, with barely a hair on their heads between them, bowled immaculately, giving very little away. They deserve the plaudits for very tight first session bowling, but Hasan Ali and Ed Barnard have the figures in the wickets column, latterly denting the middle-order.
Having scored off his first professional ball in a Somerset shirt, Sean Dickson lived a slightly charmed life. He edged between Burgess and Yates, survived an lbw shout and then fell to OHD caught by Ed Barnard at point for 5.
Tom Lammonby fell to Barnard himself, caught behind for 22 having dug in for 65 balls.
The Bears’ opening spell saw; Oliver Hannon-Dalby (6-2-11-1) and Chris Rushworth (5-2-8-0).
Hasan Ali, on his Bears debut, came on as first change and went for seven from his first over.
New signing Tom Kohler-Cadmore (TKC)’s first 12 runs came in boundaries, two cuts that raced away and an edge through third. He hit the ball so hard that you had to feel for the fielders’ stinging hands in the April sunshine.
After play he said; “From watching England this winter, it’s not about going out swinging playing reckless cricket, it’s more just playing with positive intent.”
Not Bazball in Taunton mind, the first 12 overs saw 25 runs scored and then Cameron Bancroft took 17 balls to get off the mark.
Bancroft looked good, meticulous footwork until a nothing shot to arguably the worst ball Chris Rushworth bowled in the day. And definitely the worst Bancroft shot of the day-if not the worst Somerset shot of the day, I’m sure he’d be happy to admit.
On Bancroft’s wicket TKC stated; “we have got to capitalise on short balls, if we got the same ball again he, GB (George Bartlett) or I would play the same shot again and just execute it better.”
So Bancroft caught by Yates at slip for Rushworth’s first Warwickshire wicket. (598 for Durham and a few for the MCC).
Two quick wickets in the form of TKC and Bartlett swung the tide in Warwickshire’s favour; 124-5.
James Rew came in only a couple of balls before Lewis Gregory, making the six and seven switcheroo barely relevant
128-5 at tea, three slip catches for Rob Yates in the afternoon session.
Having survived a life before tea, just after the interval James Rew and then Craig Overton were both bowled caught on the crease when they should have got further forward to nullify the bit of movement Ali and, more so, Barnard was getting.
But Josh Davey, former Middlesex opener if you didn’t know, came in and creamed a few delightful boundaries as the Bears’ bowlers tired. Captain Will Rhodes turned to himself, mirroring Bethell’s first over maiden from before lunch, but was more expensive as the ball aged.
The Somerset 200, but no batting bonus points with the new rules, was brought up with 29 fours inside 71 overs at 5.45pm on day 2.
Gregory reached 50 off 85 balls in a 105-run-partnership for the eighth wicket, and what a massively crucial stand it was. Somerset’s highest eighth wicket partnership vs Warwickshire since 1906.
Davey’s career best first-class score came with 75* when Somerset declared on 461-9 in 2021-the game when Roelof van der Merwe and Marchant De Lange also passed 70- the perfect exemplar of Somerset’s 8,9,10 excelling.
Today Davey could not reach his fifth first-class 50, lbw to OHD for 42 in the third over with the new ball. 87 balls included seven fours for the Scotsman.
Nighthawk (?!) Jack Leach raced to 15 off 13 with nine off three balls from an expensive Hasan Ali. The anti-penultimate over of the day costing 11 runs from Warwickshire’s overseas international.
Leach then showed us another of the ridiculous array of his shots he has in his locker, whipping OHD away through midwicket with a helicopter follow through, MS Dhoni-esque.
Leach dominated the 28* run-partnership with his captain, the England spinner finishing the day 22*.
269-8 a serious recovery from 136-7.