An inspired bowling performance by Glamorgan seamers Graham Wagg and Huw Waters saw the pair tear through a strong Somerset batting line-up to dismiss the Cidermen for just 137.
And despite three late wickets for Somerset spinner Arul Suppiah, confident half-centuries from Gareth Rees, Stewart Walters and Will Bragg guided the Dragons to a healthy 229/5 at stumps on day one of the two sides’ curtain raiser at Taunton yesterday.
New captain Mark Wallace’s decision to bowl first on a damp, green wicket was vindicated almost immediately when seamer Gareth Wagg sent opener Arul Suppiah back to pavillion with just two runs on the board.
But it was Wagg’s scalp of Somerset captain and talisman Marcus Trescothick for just 15 which really put Glamorgan in the driving seat before Waters dismissed Neil Compton just seven balls later to reduce the Cidermen to 41/3 after just an hour’s play.
Under crisp blue skies, Glamorgan’s bowlers looked in fine fettle and showed showed no signs of rustiness or despondency after a difficult winter break which saw captain Alviro Petersen depart for Essex and the club seek financial restructure to stave off the threat of administration.
And when Wallace turned to first-change bowlers Chris Ashling and Jim Allenby, the pair made short work of Somerset’s pedigree middle-order, first removing James Hildreth for 19 and then England duo Craig Kieswetter and Jos Buttler in quick succession before a brutish ball by Allenby splayed Peter Trego’s stumps to leave Somerset teetering on 87/7.
Lewis Gregory was dispatched leg before wicket to bring Adam Dibble to the square to partner Craig Meschede. The two youngsters set about rebuilding a desperately poor Somerset innings with a flurry of boundaries including successive fours off left-armer Wagg who returned at the New Pavillion End.
Their 40-run partnership was broken shortly after lunch, however, when Wagg trapped Dibble LBW before Waters cleaned up Meschede for 32 who edged to Allenby at slip to finish with impressive figures of 2/17. But a promising all-round bowling performance by the Dragons saw Wagg take 3/53, Allenby 3/20 and Ashling 2/44 which bodes well for the season ahead.
Openers Gareth Rees and Stewart Walters quickly set about Somerset firebrand Steve Kirby who was dispatched through cover point for four by Rees before a sweetly timed on-drive chalked up another boundary against his name.
Walters was equally distainful of first-change Trego, steering a loose ball behind square before smiting a drab loosener through extra cover for four more to steer the Dragons to 50/0 after just 13 overs.
Glamorgan’s opening pair continued to make hay on a beautiful Spring afternoon in the West Country when Dibble was brought back into the attack only to be driven nonchalantly through the covers by Rees to bring up his half-century off just 72 balls shortly before tea.
With the total on 121, Rees was finally caught behind for 68 attempting a violent pull off a wayward Gregory delivery to the delight of Somerset captain Trescothick who had seen his team’s meagre total almost overturned since lunch.
New batsman Will Bragg was happy to give Walters the strike as the Aussie notched his first 50 of the season with a delightful forcing shot through the leg-side, the 11th of his innings. But when Trescothick turned once again to dangerman Kirby, he was immediately drawn into a false shot and was caught at second slip for 63 with the Dragons on 155/2.
A succession of sparkling shots saw Bragg bring up Glamorgan’s 200 in stunning style, hoisting Suppiah for six and then bringing up his 50 with a swept boundary off spinner Max Waller.
But three quick wickets off the bowling of Suppiah brought Somerset right back into the game as the shadows lengthened over the County Ground. First, Bragg was caught behind trying to run the ball down to third man before Ben Wright was deemed LBW padding up to the spinner.
A late dart by new batsmen Allenby and Nick James brought a flurry of boundaries before James edged to Kieswetter behind the stumps leaving Glamorgan on 229/5 off 62.5 overs at stumps.
The two-day match is the earliest competitive match involving two UK county teams, eclipsing Glamorgan’s March 29 encounter with Northamptonshire in 2010.