County Championship round-up: Van Jaarsveld and Jones dampen down Somerset

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The Independent Online

Somerset's gathering momentum as Championship challengers ran into difficulties at Canterbury yesterday, where rain restricted play to fewer than 60 overs. Before that, they encountered problems of their own making in failing to make the most of the opening-day, 253-run stand between Arul Suppiah and James Hildreth.

Having resumed on 363 for 7, they lost their remaining wickets in short time to be all out for 380, which meant they had surrendered their last seven wickets for 68 runs following Suppiah's dismissal at 312 for 4.

Their bowlers made inroads as Kent began their reply. Joe Denly fell to a brilliant one-handed catch by Craig Kieswetter off Ben Phillips for eight, after which Phillips was granted lbw verdicts against Rob Key and Sam Northeast in the space of eight balls as Kent slipped to 47 for 3.

But they were unable to separate Martin van Jaarsveld (70) and Geraint Jones (49) before play was called off for the day and their partnership is worth 128 runs so far. Ominously for Somerset, the pair are in fine form having shared a partnership of 176 against Essex last week.

Essex themselves are in trouble after the first day of their match against struggling Warwickshire at Southend, where rain restricted play to 43.5 overs. It was long enough for the home side to lose nine wickets against their bottom-of-the-table opponents, whose bowlers continue to give a much better account of themselves than their batting colleagues.

Three wickets each for Neil Carter, who has 40 for the season, and Rikki Clarke helped reduce Essex to 149 for 9, with Ravi Bopara out for one. Only 21 overs were possible at May's Bounty, where Hampshire moved from 373 for 5 to 421 for 5 against Durham.

In the Second Division, Leicestershire edged in front of Derbyshire after a long-delayed start at Grace Road, while on day one of their match against Worcestershire at the Cheltenham Festival, William Porterfield hit a career-best 175 for Gloucestershire.