James and Kasey lead the fightback on day one
James Rew and Kasey Aldridge fought back brilliantly for Somerset on the opening day of this LV= Insurance County Championship clash against Hampshire at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
The pair came together with the home side in trouble. The scoreboard was showing 80 for five when Aldridge walked to the middle to join his teammate, but both showed quality, class and determination as they added an unbeaten 116 for the sixth wicket before rain brought a premature end to proceedings.
Kyle Abbott was once again the scourge of Somerset, claiming four for 20 and a run out after the hosts had won the toss.
It may have been Hampshire and Abbott’s morning but the afternoon belonged to Rew (77 not out) and Aldridge (55 not out) as they steered Somerset to 196 for five at the close.
Altogether, 39 overs were lost, including 19 at the end of the day, but what action there was provided positives for both teams.
Somerset rested a number of First XI regulars ahead of Saturday’s Vitality Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston, and Alfie Ogborne was named in the side for the first time in First Class cricket. Dom Bess also returned to the team on a short-term loan from Yorkshire as one of two specialist spinners, the other being Shoaib Bashir.
It was no surprise when home skipper Tom Abell elected to take first use of a dry looking pitch, and Tom Lammonby and Sean Dickson took the total to 26 in the seventh over before Abbott, who had replaced Keith Barker at the Marcus Trescothick Pavilion End, made his first impact.
Lammonby, on 15, drove at a good length ball and edged through to wicketkeeper Ben Brown. Soon it was 36 for two as Abell got a leading edge to Abbott and was caught and bowled for five.
With five runs added, Dickson connected with a sweet straight drive, only to see Abbott deflect the ball onto the stumps at the bowler’s end with George Bartlett out of his ground backing up. The crestfallen Bartlett departed for a duck at 41 for three, and without addition to the total Abbott pinned Dickson lbw for 21.
Andy Umeed, making his first Championship appearance of the season, and Rew gradually set about repairing the early damage.
At 50 for four, Hampshire introduced spin in the shape of Liam Dawson from the River End and his first delivery to Rew turned sharply from outside off stump. Rew and Umeed had added 33 for the fifth wicket when it started raining shortly before 1pm and the umpires ordered an early lunch with Somerset 74 for four.
The game resumed after the interval, but for only a matter of minutes before a more persistent shower saw the heavy covers put on. Twenty overs were lost before another restart at 3.30pm.
Between then and tea, which was taken at 4.50pm, Somerset added 91 for the loss of Umeed who fell to a catch at mid wicket for 16.
19-year-old Rew and 22-year-old Aldridge then batted positively, the former looking particularly strong off his legs in moving to a 105-ball fifty, featuring seven fours.
Already with four Championship hundreds behind him this season, Rew again demonstrated his huge potential in red ball cricket, while Aldridge lent valuable support in a stand worth 85 by tea.
The final session saw Aldridge take the partnership past 100 with his sixth boundary and then move to an attractive half-century with four overthrows, having faced 73 balls.
Rew, who is now the leading run scorer in the County Championship, continued to accumulate steadily with few alarms and had faced 142 balls when the rain returned at 5.45pm. The covers were removed again shortly afterwards, but with more drizzle in the air and the floodlights casting shadows, umpires James Middlebrook and Ben Peverell abandoned play for the day.
At the end of play, Rew said: “I try not to look too much at statistics, but the lads have been joking about it in the changing room. I just try to take every innings as it comes. It was nervy at times early on today and I was in a bit earlier than expected.
“Andy Umeed helped start the recovery and played well. He absorbed a lot of pressure by facing around 60 balls and playing the sort of innings we needed at that time.
“I have had a couple of good partnerships with Kasey Aldridge and enjoy batting with him. He took pressure off me and put it on them by scoring at around a run a ball for much of his innings. That helped me find my rhythm at the other end.”