LV=CC Durham v Somerset Day 1: Somerset bowlers compound Durham’s first innings woes

Durham LVCC awayDurham 189 (Jennings 49; C Overton 4-40, Groenewald 3-37, Allenby 2-12); Somerset 147-4 (Myburgh 57*, Hildreth 35; Rushworth 3-38). Somerset trail Durham by 42 runs with six wickets in hand. Somerset 3 points, Durham 0 points.

An excellent all-round performance from Somerset’s seam attack yesterday (Sunday) compounded Durham’s batting woes as they failed to reach 200 and collect a batting bonus point for the fourth time in seven games this season.

Durham were eventually dismissed for 189, after losing four wickets for just three runs in exactly four overs shortly after lunch, as Jim Allenby struck twice in one over.

In reply, led by a determined, unbeaten 57 from Johann Myburgh in his 100th first-class match, Somerset reached 147-4, just 42 runs behind with six wickets in hand.

Craig Overton followed up his 4-38 last time he played at Chester-le-Street with 4-40. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.
Craig Overton followed up the 4-38 he took on the last occasion he played at Chester-le-Street with 4-40. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.

Chester-le-Street is fast becoming a happy hunting ground for Craig Overton. The last time the young all-rounder played here in 2012, he took four Durham first innings wickets and he was again the pick of the bowlers yesterday, taking a further four, including the key wicket of captain Paul Collingwood without scoring.

Tim Groenewald also bowled well, taking three wickets, including Scott Borthwick whose runs have so frustrated Somerset in previous encounters between these two sides, while Jim Allenby put in a superb spell after lunch including those two wickets in one over which put Somerset firmly on top.

Lewis Gregory was expensive but bowled better than his figures suggested and and maybe taking time to regain his rhythm after being rested for last Championship match against Yorkshire. It was Jamie Overton’s turn to carry the drinks as Matt Maynard continues his policy of rotating his pace bowlers.

On a slow wicket, in conditions that offered a bit of assistance to the bowlers, the credit has to go to the fielding side who made things happen and seized the initiative to record one of the best days in four-day cricket against these opponents for a long time.

Tim Groenewald claimed three key Durham wickets yesterday. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.

Durham’s tendency to collapse in their first innings this season was highlighted as a problem for the north-east side before the game started by head coach Jon Lewis, who said it was something they needed to address this week. In truth, Somerset did not allow them to.

On a sunny day with a brisk wind, Durham won the toss and decided to bat. They had moved onto 31 without incident in the ninth over, when Overton struck, trapping Mark Stoneman lbw for 16.

Five overs later, Groenewald had Borthwick – who scored 94 and 51* in the corresponding fixture at Taunton in April – caught by Peter Trego in the slips for 8 and Durham were 45-2.

If Somerset thought they had made an important breakthrough, the crucial one came three overs later when Overton had Collingwood adjudged lbw before he had scored and Durham were 46-3.

Things appeared easier for the home side in the period leading up to lunch as opener Keaton Jennings and ‘keepeer Michael Richardson steadied the ship and took Durham into the interval on 107-3, a much-improved position.

The pair put on a further 10 runs after the interval before Groenewald had Jennings lbw for a patient 49 off 101 balls. He had put on 71 with Richardson for the fourth wicket in 16.1 overs. It was to prove to be Durham’s best partnership of the innings.

Jim Allenby struck twice in one over to put Somerset in command.
Jim Allenby struck twice in one over to put Somerset in command. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.

Three overs later, Allenby produced a superb double-wicket maiden which completely turned the momentum Somerset’s way. First he had Richardson pouched by Trescothick at slip for 32 and then two balls later had Calum MacLeod well caught by Myburgh before he had the chance to open his account. Allenby’s figures were now a remarkable 6-2-7-2.

Somerset weren’t done yet, as in the very next over Groenewald trapped Paul Coughlin lbw, out for the third duck of the innings and Durham were 120-7.

John Hastings put up some resistance for Durham at the end. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.

Things would have been much worse for the hosts had it not been for an enterprising eighth-wicket partnership from Hastings and Gordon Muchall. The pair shared a stand worth 52 in eight overs, dispatching the ball to the boundary as Somerset occasionally over-pitched in an effort to get the ball to swing.

Overton eventually had enough after being hit for two boundaries by Hastings at the beginning of his ninth over. He responded by unleashing a short ball and then following it up with a perfect yorker which knocked the Australian’s stumps clean out of the ground. Hastings had made 28 off 27 balls with 6 fours and Durham were 172-8.

Four overs later, Overton claimed his fourth wicket as Gordon Muchall was well caught, low down to his left at slip for 24, by Trescothick. Overton finished with figures of 4-40 from 11 overs.

Next over Rushworth was easily caught at short extra cover by Overton off Trego and Durham all out in 49.5 overs. In total, they had lost seven wickets for 72 runs in 17.1 overs since lunch

Durham's Chris Rushworth took six Somerset first innings wickets in April. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.
Durham’s Chris Rushworth took three Somerset wickets yesterday. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.

When Somerset replied, openers Tom Abell and Trescothick took the score to 21 when Abell was caught for 4 by Richardson attempting to drive a ball from Rushworth.

Myburgh came into join Trescothick who took his own score onto 26 when he was perhaps harshly adjudged LBW to Rushworth with the total on 34.

James Hildreth continued his run of good form and along with Myburgh saw up the Somerset 100 in an excellent partnership of 73 for the third wicket in 21 overs.

After Hildreth was caught by Hastings off spinner Borthwick for 35, Tom Cooper opened his account with two boundaries before being caught shortly afterwards by Muchall off Rushworth for 8 and Somerset were 118-4.

Myburgh and Allenby remained together until the close by which time Somerset had moved onto 147 for four off 44 overs. Myburgh – who had made 115 against his former county in the game at Taunton in April – was unbeaten on 57 off 96 balls with 7 boundaries with Allenby not out on 13.


Afterwards Craig Overton said: “I was very happy with the way that I bowled today and it came out very nicely for me.

“It has been sunny all day but a bit cold, the pitch is a bit slow and you have to bowl straight which is what we did today and we did well.

“We bowled well before lunch and then when we re-started we took four wickets in as many overs which was very much like what they did to us down at Taunton earlier in the season, which has cost them really.”

Craig added: “Batting out there isn’t easy and they are bowling straight but Johann has batted really well and Hildy was going really well until he got out near the end so let’s hope that we can kick on tomorrow and get a big lead for ourselves and go from there.”

The Verdict with Nicky King at Chester-le-Street

Weather throughout the day was sunny with some fluffy clouds around – definitely the warmest I can remember being here (certainly for a whole day). There was however quite a brisk wind which may have had some bearing on the bowling.

Rushworth always bowls well against us. Correct that, he seems to bowl well against everyone.  Today was no exception.  He took his 100th wicket since the start of the 2014 season. That’s 100 championship wickets in about a season and a third. I’m not saying he should be picked for England, but how the heck the guy doesn’t seem to merit a MENTION whenever selection is debated is beyond me. And he is nowhere near as fragile as his opening partner, Onions who went off the field this evening.

Johann Myburgh, who made
Johann Myburgh, who made 57* yesterday, pictured here acknowledging applause for his century against Durham at Taunton in April. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.

I’m a little concerned we may have pushed Tom Abell up to open a season too soon.  He did so well batting at, was it 4 or 5, in the few matches he played at the back end of last season. Maybe he would have benefitted from staying there for a season, or at least the start of the season when the ball moves around more. I get the feeling it is a bit like when England moved Joe Root up to open in the Ashes.

Marcus may have been unlucky with his lbw – I was more at fine leg so it’s difficult to tell, the general impression was that the umpire was quick to trigger the lbw’s today (there were 5 in total).

Hildy and Myburgh shared a great partnership. Played very sensibly and generally just pushed the ball around into the gaps, taking singles and well-run twos. Boundaries were scored through timing and placement rather than forcing the ball.

My impression is this pitch is on the slow side, although the odd ball does take off a bit and there is probably some variable bounce.  Hildy survived a dropped catch by Borthwick at second slip when he was in the teens but otherwise played very well until he was out trying to pull. It looked like it got the toe end of the bat from where I was sitting and went to mid-off. Tom Cooper slapped the ball straight to midwicket. It looked an awful shot, but it was an equally awful ball by the bowler and should have been dispatched.

Myburgh continued with Allenby until the close, who also looked secure.

The forecast tomorrow is to be a bit more overcast, with the possibility of some light showers (looked hit or miss on local weather map) and much colder.

A special thanks to Nicky for sharing her thoughts with us after close of play this evening.