Hildreth shines despite injury
James Hildreth overcame a freak injury in the warm-up to hit a fluent 73 as Somerset ran up 328 for seven on the opening day against Essex at Taunton.
The 25-year-old batsman slipped while playing a game of touch rugby and had to go to hospital for stitches after a team-mate’s studs left him with a cut knee.
Hildreth dropped a place down the order to five, but then produced a typically attractive 110-ball innings, including 12 fours.
Nick Compton and Zander de Bruyn also made significant contributions - 72 and 73 respectively - but David Masters, who took 3-54, ensured Essex stayed well in the game.
On a slower than normal Taunton pitch, Somerset struggled after winning the toss, losing Arul Suppiah with the total on 15, lbw to Masters on the back foot.
Marcus Trescothick managed only 12 runs in the first hour and on 19 the Somerset skipper spooned a catch to Ryan ten Doeschate at square-leg.
Compton, making his home debut, looked confident from the start and reached his half-century off 81 balls, with seven fours.
He and de Bruyn took the score to 142 before Compton's top-edged sweep off left-arm spinner Tim Phillips found Masters at short-fine leg.
Hildreth and de Bruyn then took control and Somerset were well placed at tea with the total on 213 for three.
However, soon after the interval de Bruyn lost his middle stump aiming a loose drive at ten Doeschate. The South African had faced 144 balls and hit 10 fours in a stylish innings.
Still it seemed the home side were on course for a formidable score as Hildreth produced a succession of his trademark shots through point to reach 50 off 73 balls, with eight fours.
But from 286 for four Somerset self-destructed. First Hildreth had his off bail removed by Masters as he shouldered arms to the second new ball.
Jos Buttler, Somerset's wicketkeeper while Craig Kieswetter represents England in the World Twenty20, had played well to reach 36 when a loss of concentration saw him lift Masters to John Maunders at short cover.
Damien Wright was run out without facing a ball as he reacted slowly to Peter Trego’s call for a single to mid-on. Maurice Chambers did the damage with a direct hit.
Trego was 30 not out at the close with the first day honours appearing about even.