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Somerset 271 for 4 (Abell 111, Bartlett 62) vs Northamptonshire
Tom Abell's fourth century of the season led a solid Somerset batting display against Northamptonshire at Taunton, on the day his club paid tribute to one of their most prolific ever run-scorers.
The lunch interval on the opening day of the LV= Insurance County Championship game saw the unveiling of the James Hildreth Stand by the player himself, who recently announced his retirement.
Hildreth hit more than 27,000 runs for Somerset, including 54 centuries, in over 700 appearances across all competitions, and ranks behind only Harold Gimblett and Marcus Trescothick in terms of first class runs for his only county.
Skipper Abell marked the renaming of the River Stand at the Cooper Associates County Ground with a textbook innings of 111, which Hildreth would have taken pride in, as Somerset ran up 271 for 4 after winning the toss.
George Bartlett contributed 62 to a third-wicket stand of 134 against some accurate Northamptonshire bowling, not aided by dropped catches. Seamers Ben Sanderson and Jack White, in particular, did not enjoy the best of fortune early on.
Opener Tom Lammonby had made only two when spilled at second slip by Emilio Gay off Sanderson, diving to his right.
With Somerset's total advanced to 25, Gay produced a virtual action replay, again failing to hang onto a chance offered by Imam-ul-Haq, on 13, as he dived in front of first slip, Lizaad Williams being the unlucky bowler.
The escape allowed Somerset to progress carefully to 49 in the 25th over before Gay atoned by clinging onto an edge from Imam off White. The Pakistan Test opener departed for 25, off 69 deliveries.
It was 55 for one off 30 overs at lunch, Lammonby having moved to 23. As against Warwickshire in the second innings of their previous game, Somerset displayed a patience missing from their top order batting for much of the season.
Lammonby was understandably frustrated when, having worked hard to get to 30, he edged Sanderson to second slip where the busy Gay accepted a diving chance.
Abell and Bartlett built steadily from 72 for 2, adding 91 before tea, which was taken with the Somerset captain having reached a 99-ball half-century.
By then there was little assistance from the pitch for the Northants attack, who kept a grip on the scoring rate without often threatening a breakthrough.
The final session saw Bartlett go to fifty off 111 balls, with six fours, shortly after the century stand had been brought up. It was another impressive contribution from the 24-year-old following his century at Edgbaston last week.
Bartlett, who spent much of the season in the second XI following an early shoulder injury, launched a six over wide long-on off Rob Keogh before falling two balls later.
Pushing forward defensively, he edged a catch to Northants skipper Will Young, the only slip. The stand with Abell had occupied 39 overs and put Somerset in control.
It was 227 for 3 when the second new ball was taken, with Abell on 91. He went to a chanceless ton with a three to third-man off Sanderson, having faced 164 balls and hit 13 fours.
Lewis Goldsworthy had helped add 53 for the fourth wicket when Abell sacrificed his wicket needlessly. Having stroked White to deep cover for a comfortable single, he turned for a second run that was never there and when Goldsworthy failed to respond, was easily run out by Williams' throw to the bowler's end.
Goldsworthy and James Rew saw Somerset through to the close, with the sun shining and the floodlights on, and their team will be targeting four batting points tomorrow.
Tom Abell, Craig Overton cap Somerset's escape with crucial season-saving win
Captain and senior bowler to the fore as Northants are swept aside to preserve Div One status
Unbeaten tons to Tom Abell, Tom Lammonby have Somerset in total control
Craig Overton bags five-for before hosts build on imposing lead over Northants
Craig Overton tightens Somerset's grip in bid for crucial victory
Will Young resists with 85 but hosts take control to inch away from bottom two