Neil leads fightback on rain affected day one


Neil Wagner made a battling half century as Somerset’s lower order fought back against Warwickshire on the opening day of this LV=Insurance County Championship game at Edgbaston.

After rain meant that there was no play before lunch, Somerset won the toss but slipped to 37 for six against a seam-attack led by Chris Rushworth who finished the day with four for 33.

However, Tom Abell (22 from 84 balls) and Lewis Gregory (39 from 48) added 56 for the seventh wicket and, after they perished with the total still short of 100, Wagner (55 not out) and Josh Davey (28 not out) added an unbroken 84.

Rushworth and Olly Hannon-Dalby started this match with 100 Championship wickets between them this season and took just seven overs to lift that tally to 103. Tom Lammonby offered no shot to a ball from Rushworth who also had Lewis Goldsworthy taken at first slip by Rob Yates whilst Sean Dickson was given out lbw to Hannon-Dalby.

Both change bowlers then struck in their first over as Andy Umeed edged Ed Barnard to Will Rhodes at second slip and James Rew was caught in two minds on a pull shot and top-edged a return catch to Craig Miles.

When Barnard changed ends, he knocked out Tom Banton’s off-stump and Somerset were in trouble at 37 for six. However, Abell, who had already dug in deep, found some support from Gregory, whose forceful 39 included eight fours before he lifted Rushworth to extra cover. The former Durham seamer quickly added his 655th First Class wicket when Abell edged to wicketkeeper Michael Burgess.

That was 96 for eight but Wagner and Davey batted with freedom to post a half-century stand in 69 balls. Wagner reached a fluent 47-ball fifty with a four hammered through the covers off Will Rhodes and the pair remained intact overnight and ready to push on in the morning.

At the close of play, Head Coach, Jason Kerr said: “It was frustrating after we had an opportunity to bat first on this wicket. We knew the new ball would be challenging as it has been all year for our top order.

“Looking at the scorecards across the country you have got to get to 25 overs with as little damage as possible before the ball changes and it becomes a little bit easier.

“Unfortunately, we made it difficult for ourselves again today but the partnership between Lewis and Abes started to wrestle some momentum back and that fantastic partnership with Wags and JD has certainly got us right in the game.”