Lancashire v Somerset, Aigburth, 1st day August 1, 2012

Trego swings it Somerset's way

Myles Hodgson at Aigburth

Lancashire 129 for 5 (Prince 51, Trego 4-34) v Somerset

It seems to have escaped many people's attention that, despite the loss of Marcus Trescothick for most of the season through injury, Somerset have remained one of the Division One title contenders. So it was fitting on his return that they continued that impressive form on a rain-hit opening day against Lancashire.

As captain, leading batsman and outstanding slip fielder, Somerset have struggled to replace Trescothick while he has been sidelined for the last three months with ankle ligament damage, yet they have remained consistent enough to be well placed behind the leaders, Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire.

During a day with enough rain around to dampen even the most enthusiastic of county cricketers, it became apparent why they have been so consistent, expertly exploiting bowler-friendly conditions to make major inroads into Lancashire's batting line-up in the 52.2 overs possible.

Perhaps inspired by Trescothick's first Championship outing since April, his comeback was overshadowed by an outstanding display from Peter Trego, their combative allrounder, who took his wicket tally to 38 by claiming 4 for 34. Bowling exclusively from the River End and benefitting from a stiff breeze that aided swing bowling for most of the day, Trego continued Lancashire's desperate form in the defence of their title.

Trego bowled six successive maidens from the start of the day and it was 41 balls before Lancashire were even able to score a run off his bowling. Bowling wicket to wicket and allowing the conditions to do the work, he had already dismissed openers Paul Horton and Stephen Moore by the time Trescothick allowed him a rest shortly before lunch with figures of 10-7-12-2.

By the time he returned for his second spell in the evening session - rain washed out most of the afternoon - he was required to break up a stubborn 79-run stand between Karl Brown and Ashwell Prince that threatened to turn the day in Lancashire's favour. Brown had battled for over two hours for his 39 when he drove loosely at Trego off the front foot and lost his off-stump, which precipitated a late collapse of three wickets for 15 runs in only 34 balls.

Steven Croft followed five overs later, edging Alfonso Thomas low to second slip to give Trescothick his second catch of the day, before Trego halted Prince's defiance with the first ball of the next over when he was adjudged to have edged behind.

Only four more overs were possible before rain curtailed play for the final time and Lancashire, whose batting unit have only passed 300 four times in the previous 11 completed Championship matches, look unlikely to improve on that dismal record. It should certainly be an interesting Championship debut for Andrea Agathangelou, a South-African born batsman with a Cypriot passport, who will resume tomorrow morning unbeaten on 0.

Lancashire, as they have to be wavering just above the relegation zone, remain optimistic and Brown believes the swing generated by Trego should also help their own attack. "Trego got a bit of swing, and if that movement continues it will really help our bowlers because Glen Chapple and Kyle Hogg swing the ball more than most bowlers," he said.

"Hopefully we can make the most of the conditions as well. He tries to do different things when he's bowling, he tries to get you out in different ways and he's quite clever the way he goes about it. I enjoyed the battle out there, getting stuck in, it was good fun. We are in a tough position in the league and we are going to have to fight our way out of it."