Poor start condemns Somerset

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reports from Taunton

Somerset 202

Surrey 203-3

Surrey win by 7 wickets

The Somerset captain, Andy Hayhurst, might have won the tactical battle, catching Surrey on a dusty pitch, and would have been pleased with his new off-spinner from Yorkshire, Jeremy Batty, but Surrey's strength down the order was eventually decisive.

Without their opening bowlers, Andrew Caddick and Andre van Troost, Somerset had to patch up the side with spinners, and after a disastrous start were able to set Surrey 203 to win this Benson and Hedges Cup match.

At 98 for 0 the result seemed a formality but Batty's arrival, first from the River End and then from the Old Pavilion End, where he bowled Graham Thorpe and had Alistair Brown brilliantly caught on the long-on boundary in the same over.

After Mushtaq Ahmed induced a mis-drive from Stewart, Surrey were, at 142 for 3 with 13 overs remaining, panting. Darren Bicknell survived a furious appeal for a catch behind but he and the reliable David Ward took Surrey into the last five overs with only 23 needed.

Hayhurst might have counted upon a wearing surface when he chose to bat first. As this square has betrayed him twice already this season, he must have felt, when the scoreboard read 0 for 2, like a man who had put his mortgage on Celtic Swing last Saturday. By the time Marcus Trescothick nudged a single in the fourth over, both Mark Lathwell and Peter Bowler had gone, caught behind and at slip.

Richard Harden mis-timed Martin Bicknell, Hayhurst stretched to drive, and when Mark Kenlock bowled Trescothick and trapped Rob Turner Somerset, at 44 for 6, were going down the Sedgemoor drains.

Graham Rose averted that with 30 overs of defiance in which he was never able to cut loose completely but still managed eight boundaries and a six.