posted by John Winn
An early start on Sunday morning saw me at The Riverside in plenty of time to see the new procedures governing who does what at the start of this season's championship matches. Promptly at 10:30 Messrs Bailey and Cowley walked to the middle where they soon attracted quite a crowd (picture above) and where after a short wait they were joined by Durham captain Paul Collingwood and new Somerset skipper Chris Rogers. Watching closely there was no sign of a coin being flipped and it was soon announced that Rogers had cast aside centuries of tradition by declining the toss and asked Durham to bat which came as no surprise to anybody*.
The sun kept its promise and shone all day and as long as you were prepared to follow its progress round the ground, watching cricket in mid April at nearly 55 degrees north was a not unpleasant experience. I was joined by a number of friends most of whom I had not been seen since September and it was good to see them all in apparently good health. Stoneman and Jennings did not appear unduly troubled by a Somerset attack minus the Overton brothers until the former played a loose shot to hole out at point to Gronewald who had opened with Gregory, The next five hours belonged to Jennings who appeared relatively untroubled on a day when both Borthwick and Richardson fell lbw to balls that appeared to keep low and Burnham and Collingwood were both bowled by what I believe in cricketing parlance are known as 'jaffas'. Burnham had added 79 with 'KK' before Davey knocked two of his stumps out of the ground and Collingwood, who just a week ago had been in the 40 degrees of Kolkata, got a ball from Gregory which twitter later showed had done enough to bowl a man in mid season prime form, let alone one facing his first delivery of the season.
When Pringle went at 172 for 6 it was advantage Somerset but Jennings received good support from Arshad and a further 72 were added before the opener top edged one to Trescothick and departed for 116, an excellent start for a young man who had lost his place in July last year. His dismissal was the signal for me to head home where I arrived to find Durham had been all out for 256, considered to be about par for first innings at The Riverside in April, and that Somerset had lost three early wickets which tilted the day back in the Prince Bishops' favour. The traditional Sunday evening G and T went down nicely.
* It is believed that Angus Fraser, on hearing the new rules surrounding the toss, texted Paul Collingwood to inform him that Middlesex will be fielding when they visit Chester le Street in two weeks time.