Few bright spots on miserable day
Rain once again hampered the LV= County Championship action as only one of eight encounters enjoyed significant play.
Depleted Somerset, missing six players through injury and England Lion Nick Compton, enjoyed the better of the first day against bottom-of-the-table Durham in the Division One clash.
A pace attack consisting of Vernon Philander, Craig Overton, Craig Meschede and Peter Trego bowled brilliantly to dismiss the hosts for just 125 at the Emirates Durham ICG. Each seamer claimed a wicket; Overton, with 4-38, was the pick of the bunch.
The visitors, though, looked like they might not even build a lead in reply, slipping to 45 for four. But Trego hit 40, after which Meschede continued his fine day with an outstanding 60-ball 62 alongside Craig Kieswetter, who was unbeaten on 60.
That ensured Somerset closed on 220 for eight - 95 runs ahead.
Alex Hales compiled an unbeaten half-century as Nottinghamshire overcame the early loss of Neil Edwards to dominate a rain-affected day in their match against Middlesex at Trent Bridge.
Second-placed Notts, fresh from defeating County Champions Lancashire last week, decided to bat first - a choice that looked to have backfired when England paceman Steven Finn bowled Edwards for a golden duck with his first delivery.
Alex Hales, with 71 from 119 balls, and Michael Lumb, 51 not out, kept the Middlesex seam attack at bay to help Notts reach 132 for one before the heavens opened just after lunch.
Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell, who chose to bat, and Michael Klinger frustrated Surrey at New Road.
Mitchell struck an 30 in an unbroken opening stand of 58 with Australian Klinger, who was alongside him on 16 when rain intervened.
After more wet weather at the PROBIZ County Ground, Sussex’s clash with Lancashire was abandoned for the day.
In Division Two, Robbie Joseph strengthened his claims for a contract extension at Leicestershire with two wickets against Northamptonshire at Grace Road.
Fit-again captain Matthew Hoggard returned to four-day action with a bang as he trapped Rob Newton lbw in his second over.
But Northants recovered with opening batsman Stephen Peters and Scotland international Kyle Coetzer taking the score to 74 until Joseph struck.
The former Kent seamer had Peters, who made 32, and the experienced David Sales both caught behind by Ned Eckersley in quick succession.
Coetzer remained unbeaten on 43 alongside Alex Wakely with Northants on 99 for three.
Charl Willoughby, though, was the day’s outstanding bowler, claiming 4-8 as Essex moved into a dominant position against Kent.
Only 9.4 overs were possible at Chelmsford, but the visitors still closed on 17 for five as Willoughby shone in difficult conditions for batsmen.
Rain hampered the other matches in the second tier with Gloucestershire versus Yorkshire at Bristol and Derbyshire’s visit to Hampshire yet to get under away.