April 20, 2001

Chapple shines as Lancashire dominate against Somerset

Glen Chapple bustled out Somerset's middle-order to take 6-46 as Lancashire enjoyed the better of exchanges after winning the toss on a cold, but clear opening day at Taunton.

Having bowled out the home side for a modest 204, the visitors replied with 114-3, losing Mark Chilton to the final delivery of the day for a solid 53. That full-length ball from Richard Johnson, which smashed Chilton full on the boot, gave the former Middlesex seamer his second Somerset wicket and backed up the county's hopes that he can fill tbe centrally contracted Andy Caddick's boots this season.

Johnson ended the day with 2-36 from 13.5 overs. His efforts, allied to those of Championship debutant Joe Tucker, Steffan Jones and Graham Rose, suggested it will be no easy ride for Lancashire to establish a commanding first innings advantage on a pitch offering the pace bowlers plenty of encouragement.

Chapple exploited it perfectly with good variation of pace and perfect length to take 5-28 from 7.5 overs after lunch, bowling from the River End.

Skipper Jamie Cox had earlier done his best to guide Somerset out of trouble, driving exquisitely both straight and through the covers, to make 66 in confident style.

But once he departed to leave the total 120-4 Chapple ripped into top gear and soon the scoreboard read 158-8. Somerset were then indebted to some late order belligerence from Johnson and Steffan Jones to scramble them to a solitary batting point.

Ryan Driver and John Crawley both fell cheaply, despite a cautious approach, when Lancashire replied, while Chilton needed a life on 17, dropped by Keith Dutch diving to his right at third slip off Jones. The opener profited to reach his half-century off 114 balls, with 10 fours.