Somerset denied by champions

Lv County Championship

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Last-wicket pair Rikki Clarke and Oliver Hannon-Dalby defied Somerset’s bowlers for 21 overs to earn champions Warwickshire an unlikely LV= County Championship draw at Taunton.

It was perhaps fitting that such a thrilling Division One contest ended in nerve-jangling fashion, yet the hosts will no doubt rue some bad luck and poor execution.

When Chris Wright fell lbw to Alfonso Thomas, Warwickshire were 379 for nine chasing a notional 515 and Somerset had plenty of time to wrap up victory.

They should have done just that; two catches were shelled off Clarke, who ended on 61, and umpire Nick Cook surprisingly failed to raise the finger when Hannon-Dalby clearly edged the outstanding Jamie Overton behind.

However, that should not detract from the application and courage the pair showed, particularly Hannon-Dalby in overcoming a blow to the wrist and seeing off Jack Leach - who claimed 5-63 - at al.

Rikki Clarke

Rikki Clarke struck a defiant unbeaten 61 to help earn Warwickshire an unlikely LV= County Championship Division One draw against Somerset

His efforts proved crucial as Warwickshire claimed six points and Somerset - whose players hardly moved due to disappointment as the game ended - 11.

Clarke and Hannon-Dalby followed up the impressive efforts of Varun Chopra, Laurie Evans and Tim Ambrose - who struck 108, 55 and 65 respectively.

Having resumed on 81, Chopra survived one close call in moving to his century when, on 94, he drove in the air and narrowly escaped being caught and bowled by Thomas.

Dropped by Craig Kieswetter diving in front of first slip on 106, Chopra added two more to his total before being bowled behind his legs by left-arm spinner Leach attempting to sweep.

Evans dug in to bat through the morning session and found good support from Ambrose thereafter, amid Kieswetter being forced off the field due to a thumb injury, with Jos Buttler taking the gloves.

Ambrose and Evans moved to their half-centuries in the same over during the afternoon, the former having hit 10 fours in 82 balls and the latter seven from 138.

But their stand of 102 was finally broken when Ambrose attempted to pull a short ball from Overton and got a top-edge, James Hildreth backpedaling at first slip to take a fine catch.

Evans was caught by the same man after edging an attempted cut from Overton, who claimed his third wicket soon after tea when bowling Chris Woakes for 42.

The umpires took the players off due to bad light at 4:20pm, but they returned less than 10 minutes later and only two overs were lost.

Somerset were unable to use the pace of Overton immediately on the resumption due to the light so Leach took up the attack and immediately had Jeetan Patel caught at slip by Marcus Trescothick off bat and pad.

Thomas pinned Wright lbw for a duck, but Clarke and Hannon-Dalby dramatically earned a share of the spoils by taking Warwickshire to their highest-ever fourth-innings score, of 427 for nine.

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