Few batsmen give the ball as good a thump as Peter Trego when he is in the mood. Last summer, as Somerset pulled off the extraordinary feat of chasing down 476 to win against Yorkshire, he cracked a century off only 54 deliveries.
He did not quite match that yesterday, but he was clearly in fine form. This time it was Lancashire who bore the brunt as Trego hit the quickest hundred of the season so far, off 83 balls, leading the way in a blistering partnership with James Hildreth that, in a match disrupted by gloomy weather, has given Somerset the upper hand.
The experience was all the more painful for Lancashire in that they knew they could have been spared much of the pain had Glen Chapple, of all people, not spilt a routine catch at mid-on or if Paul Horton had not dropped an equally easy take at first slip.
In a way it was typical Trego, who is inevitably prepared to take a risk or two. Perhaps that comes from his unusual history and reflects an appreciation of his good fortune at being on the field, doing what he clearly most enjoys. A Somerset lad, he played Under-19 cricket for England but never kicked on and for a while dropped out of the game altogether, working at different times on a building site and in a care home, and playing as a goalkeeper in non-League football with enough success to appear for Chippenham on Match of the Day in an FA Cup tie and score a goal for Margate in the Conference, before Somerset took him on again five years ago.
Daren Powell was the bowler at both of yesterday's chancy moments and how Trego punished Lancashire. If his first 50 was brisk, coming in 57 balls with eight fours, his second was extraordinary, requiring a mere 26 strokes, with eight more rushing off to the fence.
Powell got him in the end, claiming his first Lancashire wicket as Trego's attempt to heave through midwicket went soaring in the air to mid-off instead. Chapple held it safely this time, much to the amusement of his team-mates.
The partnership with Hildreth added 186 in just 32 overs and, up on the balcony, you suspect that Peter Moores, the Lancashire coach, might have been less inclined to chuckle, not least because Hildreth was also dropped twice, if more forgivably. He gave a fingertip chance to second slip on 62 and another semi-opportunity to square leg on 78.
The cost was not quite so heavy as Trego inflicted but Hildreth progressed nonetheless to 99 before somewhat giving his wicket away, caught behind off an indecisive stroke against Chapple.
Somerset advanced to a lead of 97 on first innings and Lancashire reflected on bowling figures that had taken a hefty hit, the price for offering too much width. Kyle Hogg, 3 for 44 off 20 overs overnight, ended 4 for 96 off 30.2. Bad light hindered the home side as they set about trimming the arrears and a draw looks the likeliest outcome.Reuse content