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Kent facing Taunton battle
Kent facing Taunton battle

Tom Lammonby repaid Somerset’s faith with his first century of the season as the hosts ran up 214 for two after losing the toss on a rain-shortened opening day of the LV= Insurance County Championship match with relegation-threatened Kent at Taunton.

Having played in all 12 previous games without reaching three figures, the 23-year-old opener got the monkey off his back in style by hitting a brilliant 109 off 151 balls, with 16 fours. Lewis Goldsworthy marked his first Championship appearance of the season by making 70 not out and contributing to a second-wicket stand of 132.

Kent’s woes were compounded by an injury to Michael Hogan, the 42-year-old seamer limping off disconsolately with what looked like a hamstring or thigh problem having bowled 11.2 overs for 30 runs.

Morning rain led to a 1.45pm start, with the day’s play initially being reduced to 63 overs, and Kent’s bowlers looked to have ideal conditions when they took the field. The pitch was green and the floodlights were already on beneath overcast skies.

But, having left out their specialist spinners, the visitors’ seam attack failed to get enough balls in the right areas to capitalise on any movement, allowing Lammonby and Tom Abell to make a positive start to the Somerset innings.

Skipper Abell, promoted to opener in the absence of Sean Dickson, whose partner has just given birth, gave a more solid look to the top order, while Lammonby went for his shots from the outset, producing two fine straight drives for boundaries.

The left-hander hit 3 fours in an over from Arafat Bhuiyan, who struggled for line and length in his opening spell. Hogan switched ends after bowling three overs, but was unable to make a mark, while being typically economical.

First innings runs have long been a problem for Somerset, but Lammonby and Abell comfortably brought up a half-century stand in the 14th over, the former moving to a fluent fifty off 52 balls, with 10 fours.

Their partnership had reached 73 when Abell, on 20, played a loose shot to an Arafat  delivery wide of off stump and edged to Tawanda Muyeye at first slip. By then Somerset were well placed and Goldsworthy, also batting higher in the order than usual having spent much of the season in the second XI, helped Lammonby build on their encouraging start.

The pair produced another half-century stand off 83 balls, both producing an array of attacking shots in taking the score to 127 for one off 31 overs at tea. Lammonby had played and missed a few times, but otherwise looked in fine form to be unbeaten on 70.

He gave a chance on 76 at the start of the final session when Daniel Bell-Drummond spilled a sharp chance at gully off Jaskaran Singh before a two through the leg side off Hogan took him to his highest score of the summer, beating the 78 made against Lancashire at Old Trafford.

The dependable Hogan departed soon afterwards. Kent’s attack lacked variety as Goldsworthy moved to 49 when more rain brought a short interruption, with three more overs lost. His fifty occupied 85 balls, with 7 fours, surely laying down a marker for regular selection next season.

A single off Joey Evison took Lammonby to his hundred off 137 balls. It had been an apparently effortless innings packed with sweetly-timed strokes, but hopes that he would still be there at stumps ended when he nibbled at a decent delivery from Bell-Drummond and edged through to wicketkeeper Harry Finch.

Goldsworthy’s innings lost nothing by comparison and he was still there, having faced 150 balls and hit 9 fours, when bad light ended play for the day at 5.55pm, with a possible 6.4 more overs to be bowled.

Somerset centurion Tom Lammonby said: “I am still learning my trade and about the ups and downs of cricket. Hopefully, what I have learned this summer will help me get out of ruts quicker in future.

“The season I have had will make me a stronger player and I look forward to the next few years ahead.

“I am a naturally positive player and if I get a bad ball I want to put it away. I think that is a good mentality to have.

“Today I got some loose deliveries up top and they enabled me to get away. I made my first hundred with Tom Abell at the other end and I always enjoy batting with him, so I couldn’t have hoped for a better opening partner.

“Lewis Goldsworthy has waited for an opportunity this season and took it really well.

“Having been put in on a potentially tricky pitch, we could have been in trouble had we lost early wickets. So it was nice for me to bat for most of the day, even if I am a bit frustrated at getting out near the end.”

Kent head coach Matt Walker said: “The day didn’t go as we anticipated. It was a good toss to win under cloudy skies with the pitch have been under covers for 24 hours or so.

“The wicket was very green and unfortunately we didn’t use the conditions to our favour. We just didn’t put enough balls in the right area.

“When we did there was plenty there for the bowlers. But we weren’t able to create any pressure at all.

“Tom Lammonby got one of the easier hundreds you are likely to see, so it was very disappointing.

“When you talk about injuries it always sound like you are making excuses, but they have been ongoing all season and Michael Hogan’s today has topped it off.

“You’ve got to laugh or cry. It was a big ask for our young seamers today, but they have bowled better.”