In London it felt more like June than March today, so I imagine in the South West it was positively tropical. Under sunny skies, and on a typically true Taunton pitch, Surrey succumbed to a strong Somerset batting lineup by 50 runs.
Given the conditions, the pitch and the reputation of Taunton as a batsman's paradise it was surprising that stand-in captain Jade Dernbach elected to have a bowl. Somerset made him pay, racking up 300-5, Kieswetter with 81 and Peter Trego 99, bowled by Chris Jordan with the final ball of the innings.
Matt Spriegel returned 1-36, accounting for Kieswetter. Jade Dernbach and Jon Lewis also picked up a wicket apiece while Meaker and Linley went begging.
Rory Burns was promoted to open the innings with Arun Harinath but didn't last very long, gone for just 8 in the third over. Jason Roy joined Harinath and between them they amassed a 132 run partnership at a good pace. Once Harinath departed for 62 the Surrey innings faltered, wickets falling regularly until Tim Linley was last man out with the score on 250.
With Hamilton-Brown rested it was a chance for one of the fresher batsmen to step up and to his great credit Harinath did just that. In the Second XI trophy last season he scored heavily and quickly, it would be good if he and Lancefield (29 runs today but had a thankless task as the asking rate climbed and wickets fell) could push for a slot in the limited overs batting order.
Linley will have been disappointed to go without a wicket again today and may be feeling a bit of pressure from Meaker and Lewis. He'll want to turn it around over the next three days, and in the university game at the weekend.
It was good to see a couple of batsmen in the runs today, Maynard and Hamilton-Brown in particular will want to follow suit in the coming fixture. The focus switches to the red ball from tomorrow onwards and the preparation will start to get serious. Six days of cricket remain until the season begins in earnest, there's still plenty to play for!
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