ALFONSO Thomas’ five-wicket haul handed Somerset the LV= County Championship initiative against Durham at Taunton.
The 37-year-old South African claimed five for 41 as Somerset restricted Durham to 155 all out on day one of the Division One clash at the County Ground.
Scott Borthwick fired 59 but Durham were unable to stave off Thomas and company, with Peter Trego and George Dockrell claiming two wickets apiece.
Somerset lost two early wickets in reply, but Johann Myburgh had reached 28 not out by the time the hosts closed on 51 for two.
Home seamer Thomas wasted little time uprooting the visitors’ first innings, clean bowling Mark Stoneman for just two runs from six balls.
Durham’s six for one quickly became 11 for two when Thomas removed Keaton Jennings for eight, caught by James Hildreth.
Trego got in on the act next by trapping Michael Richardson lbw for just three runs, with the visitors 24 for three inside 12 overs.
Trego plundered his second wicket with the very next ball, sending Phil Mustard trudging back to the pavilion without scoring.
Captain Paul Collingwood might be famed for grinding out important innings, but not even the former England man could resist Somerset’s fast-increasing momentum.
Thomas clean bowled Durham’s danger man for 32 runs from 43 balls, and then removed milestone-maker Scott Borthwick for 59 from 103 balls.
At 116 for six Durham were then indebted to Gordon Muchall for adding what respectability he could muster.
George Dockrell removed Ryan Pringle for eight, and then Thomas trapped Wood lbw for two.
Dockrell took care of Muchall for 30, caught by Alviro Petersen, and Craig Overton forced Chris Rushworth to edge to Craig Kieswetter without scoring.
Neither Marcus Trescothick nor Nick Compton could fire for Somerset, the hosts’ two wickets to fall before the close of play.
Trescothick fell on the innings’ first ball, with Rushworth profiting from Muchall’s catch.
Compton did his best to weather the early storm but had only mustered seven runs from 26 balls when caught behind by Mustard off Mark Wood’s bowling.
Myburgh and Alviro Petersen guided the home side to the close without further loss, at 51 for two.
H Gloucestershire sensed a first LV= County Championship Division Two victory of the season after compiling an imposing 351-run lead at the County Ground against Kent.
Gloucestershire coasted to 213 for four at the close of play, with Alex Gidman making 85 before succumbing to the bowling of Darren Stevens, while Hamish Marshall was not out on 66.
The match had looked well poised after the home side were restricted to 252 in their first innings, only for Kent to be skittled for a paltry 114.
Kent started the day on 33 for six, still 219 runs behind, having lost six final-session wickets in a humiliating collapse.
And while they faired moderately better when play resumed - resistance was offered by Sam Billings with 42 and Adam Ball’s 37 - they still fell too easily.
Apart from Billings and Ball, no player was able to reach double figures, with James Fuller and Will Gidman spearheading Gloucestershire’s assault with four wickets each.
Early hopes of gaining something from the match rose when Kent sent Chris Dent and Michael Klinger back to the pavilion cheaply, but Gloucestershire soon steadied the ship.
William Tavare fired a rapid 27 before Gidman and Marshall began flailing Kent’s struggling attack with Stevens, who finished with three wickets, their only genuine threat.
A first win in six games now beckons for Gloucestershire, who have two days to wrap-up victory.