Nottinghamshire strengthened their claims of playing in the first division of the LV= County Championship next season after scoring 406 in their first innings, to secure maximum batting points.
On a day that was top and tailed by bad weather, Somerset had reached 183 for two, with James Hildreth unbeaten on 102, when bad light brought a premature halt with 17 overs still remaining.
The Nottinghamshire first innings lasted for a further 35 minutes after play eventually began at 1.15pm following a morning of thick fog and steady drizzle.
The resumption brought the immediate downfall of Nottinghamshire’s eighth wicket. Paul Franks (15) was adjudged to be leg before wicket to a full, swinging delivery from Alfonso Thomas.
Luke Fletcher joined Brett Hutton and the pair comfortably took Notts to maximum batting points, the seventh time this season that the county has gone past 400 in their first innings.
Fletcher (12) then clipped Thomas off his pads but picked out Nick Compton at deep square leg. Harry Gurney (0) only lasted four balls, before gloving the same bowler through to Craig Kieswetter, leaving Hutton undefeated on 20.
“I felt I hit it alright,” said Hutton. “There were one or two dodgy shots but I was quite pleased to score twenty not out on my championship debut.”
Hutton made his sole first class appearance in 2011, when Notts played the MCC in the champion county match in Abu Dhabi.
“It has been a long time,” he said. “But Notts have been a strong side over the last few years. I’m still only a young lad but now I’m in I want to try and stake a claim to stay in the side.”
On the overall situation, which saw Notts enter the game not mathematically certain of remaining in the first division, Hutton said, “I’d like to think we’re safe but we want to win this to make sure. I’d also like to get amongst the wickets – I want at least one tomorrow in the wicket column.”
In murky, overhead conditions, with the floodlights on Somerset’s batsmen were put under pressure by an accurate opening burst from Fletcher and Gurney and it was no real surprise when the breakthrough materialised in the sixth over.
Having removed Marcus Trescothick (2) in the recent YB40 semi final, Gurney got his man again, having the Somerset skipper lbw.
Compton, who scored a century in this fixture two years ago and a double hundred last season, had some early alarms against the left-armer.
Gurney thought he’d had him caught behind for nought and then lbw for one but on both occasions, with the whole Notts team celebrating, umpire Llong turned down the appeal.
Chris Jones (4) captained Durham MCCU at Trent Bridge in April and nicked catches through to Read in both innings then and did so again, off Fletcher in the eleventh over.
Compton and James Hildreth had put on 217 together in last season’s match and this time they extended their stand to an unbroken 172 by the early closure.
Compton, who finished the day on 62 not out, was content to play second fiddle but broke free to loft Samit Patel over the long off ropes to bring up a battling half century from 91 deliveries, with 8 fours and that one six.
Hildreth also hit a maximum, pulling Fletcher over deep square leg as he brought up a run-a-ball hundred, the 29th of his career, with 17 boundaries.
On an easy-paced wicket, which has already produced three centuries, both counties will hope to have already done enough to have beaten the drop.