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Devon Conway, Steven Davies half-centuries propel Somerset effort

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Century opening stand lays base but visitors fight back following rain interruptions

Somerset 242 for 7 (Conway 88, Davies 65) vs Leicestershire

Devon Conway marked his first-class debut for Somerset with 88 on a rain-affected opening day of the LV= Insurance County Championship match with Leicestershire at Taunton. The New Zealander faced 146 balls and hit 15 fours, sharing an opening stand of 143 with Steven Davies before Will Davis and Gavin Griffiths led a spirited Leicestershire fightback, which saw the hosts close on 242 for 7.

Davis ended the day with 2 for 40 and Griffiths 3 for 48. Play was interrupted three times by rain and it certainly worked in the visitors’ favour after Conway and Davies had dominated the opening exchanges.

Leicestershire skipper Colin Ackermann took the obvious decision to field after winning the toss on a heavily overcast morning at the Cooper Associates County Ground. Davis caused Conway problems early on and looked unlucky not to dismiss the New Zealander with the closest of several lbw appeals.

The seamer’s initial spell of seven overs cost him just ten runs. But there was little support as Conway and Davies assumed control. The pair had put on 44 when the first shower caused a very brief interruption and 83 by the time more rain brought an early lunch at 12.45pm. Davies looked in good touch from the outset, appearing to have plenty of time to play his shots. He was unbeaten on 32 at lunch, with Conway 43 not out.

Both batsmen moved to half-centuries on the resumption, Conway first to fifty, off 82 balls, with 10 fours, while Davies followed, off 79 balls, with five boundaries. They took the score to 134 with few alarms before the rain turned heavy at just after 2.15pm. Play resumed at 4.20pm, an early tea having been taken, and the complexion of the innings was soon transformed.

Davies fell to Davis, bowled playing an indeterminate defensive shot, and Lewis Goldsworthy quickly followed, edging the same bowler to Ackermann at second slip.

Left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson was struck for successive boundaries by Conway, but responded immediately by beating the batsman’s defensive push and bowling him in the 45th over. James Hildreth, on 5, survived a sharp chance to Rishi Patel at short leg off Parkinson. When George Bartlett fell lbw to Ben Mike playing no shot, Somerset had lost four wickets for 39 runs.

Leicestershire’s fight back continued as Tom Lammonby edged a loose drive off Griffiths to second slip where Ackermann took another catch. Griffiths, whose first five overs had cost 38 runs, had Hildreth and Craig Overton, captaining Somerset for the first time in red -all cricket, caught behind off outswingers to leave Somerset 224 for 7.

Roelof van der Merwe, who lofted a six off Parkinson, and Josh Davey saw the hosts through to the close of a day restricted to 74 overs.

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