Joe Clarke hit 59 as Nottinghamshire fought hard to gain the upper hand over Somerset on the first day of the opening game of Division One of the County Championship in Taunton.
Clarke’s fluent knock, which included six fours and one six, underpinned the Green and Golds’ innings for the first half of the day as a competitive morning session saw Notts take lunch on 88 for two.
Captain Steven Mullaney then made 42, before his departure late on preceded a counter-attacking unbroken stand of 74 between Tom Moores and Liam Patterson-White as the Green and Golds concluded the day on 282 for six.
Having been inserted on a used and rather green surface, there was an early loss for the visitors as Ben Slater cut Jack Brooks to Tom Lammonby at backward point.
Despite that, it did little to faze Ben Duckett and debutant Sam Northeast, who initially repelled the home attack with a partnership of 37 that featured some confident boundary hitting by both batsmen.
Duckett was pouched by Roelof van der Merwe at short cover off Brooks for 24, but a steadfast stand was built once more, this time between Northeast and Clarke, to ensure Notts reached lunch without further loss.
Two runs to Clarke down to fine leg brought up the pair’s fifty stand, but moments later, Northeast was removed when he was pinned lbw by Josh Davey for 34.
Clarke and new man Lyndon James remained unbowed amidst a testing spell from Davey, and the former brought up his fifty with a nudged single off Marchant de Lange to take the Green and Golds past three figures.
However, his innings was brought to an end a short while afterwards, as he bottom-edged home captain Tom Abell through to Steven Davies behind the stumps to leave Notts 140 for four.
Academy graduate James has enjoyed quite the breakout season, and with a strike for four through backward point, reached the milestone of 500 career first-class runs as he and Mullaney once again turned the tide.
The pair’s stand was unbroken at tea, with the Green and Golds reaching the second break on 172 for four, and a clipped drive from Mullaney after the break marked the arrival of the second fifty partnership of the day.
Abell removed James for 33 via another Davies catch, but a no-ball from the Somerset skipper then allowed Notts to collect their first batting bonus point by virtue of reaching 200.
The pace of de Lange trapped Mullaney in front, but the Moores-Patterson-White axis saw the Green and Golds to another batting point, and ultimately end a bad-light-shortened day firmly in the ascendancy.
Having secured more points than any other side during the conference stage of the 2021 LV= Insurance County Championship season, Nottinghamshire will play two further home fixtures in the top section of the divisional rounds.
Lancashire and Yorkshire are the visitors to Trent Bridge with four day matches commencing at 10.30am on 5 and 21 September respectively.