Chris Rushworth appeals for the wicket of Chris Jones before lunch
STUMPS, Day 4. Durham 308 & 213-9 dec (Collingwood 52*) v Somerset 185 & 246-4 (Compton 100*, Kieswetter 78*). Match Drawn.
Points: Durham 11, Somerset 8.
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For the second successive match, Durham had to settle for a draw as a resilient Somerset side prevented the champions from registering a first win of 2014.
Nick Compton (100*) and Craig Kieswetter (78*) were the main protagonists, as the pair put on 154 for the fifth wicket to deny Paul Collingwood's side a sniff of victory.
Setting Somerset 337 to win from 82 overs, Durham needed quick wickets and Chris Rushworth picked up two before lunch to give home supporters some encouragement.
But Compton and Kieswetter stood firm, as Durham were left to rue the mixture of rain and fog that had blighted any chance of play on day three.
By contrast, bright sunny conditions on St George's Day attracted a good crowd and Durham started brightly as Paul Collingwood cut two balls down through the vacant third man region for four. Jamie Harrison added eight to his overnight score before he could only get half-forward to a Lewis Gregory delivery and Umpire Michael Gough raised his finger.
The lead moved past 300 when Collingwood stretched to reach a short and wide delivery from Trego, with the Durham skipper able to cut the ball away for a boundary. Graham Onions then joined in the fun, with an extra cover drive a particular highlight of his innings before he scooped a catch to the tumbling Compton at deep mid on.
The field was spread, with every Somerset fielder on the boundary for Collingwood, but he continued to find the gaps as he neared a 70th first class half-century. A late dab down to third man for two runs brought up the milestone and shortly afterwards, the declaration was signalled.
Onions and Chris Rushworth, after sharing eight wickets in the first innings, tested the Somerset openers with some good deliveries early on and two edges from Marcus Trescothick fell just a few inches short of the slips. The visiting captain's luck ran out when Rushworth trapped him LBW for just five however and Nick Compton, having recovered from a neck spasm that forced him to bat at eight in the first innings, was then almost bowled first ball with a delivery that kept low.
A bit of variable bounce was beginning to trouble the batsmen, and Jones nearly gloved a catch into short leg's path. Rushworth then decided to switch ends, and a nagging line and length paid dividends as Jones was trapped on the crease and departed for 24.
Somerset went into lunch in a spot of trouble, but the experienced pair of Nick Compton and Alviro Petersen dug in after the interval to frustrate Durham's attack. It took an hour for the third wicket to fall as Usman Arshad charged in from the Lumley End and coaxed Petersen to probe at a delivery, with Borthwick clinging on to a good catch at second slip.
In his next over, the buoyant Arshad removed James Hildreth when the former Millfield pupil drove at a delivery and edged through to Phil Mustard.
The visitors were fortunate not to lose another wicket when Onions found a thick edge from Craig Kieswetter's bat. Borthwick got two hands to the ball but couldn't take the catch, much to his obvious frustration.
Apart from that though, there were very few other scares and Compton had reached an excellent fifty before he and Kieswetter saw their side through to tea.
Try as they might the bowlers couldn't dislodge the pair, with a century partnership brought up as the clock ticked past five. The wicket was seemingly offering very little assistance and Onions, Rushworth and co could only toil away in the hope of an error by the batsmen.
It didn't arrive, and Compton went on to register an impressive century, just as he did in the game between these two sides at Taunton last season.
As supporters began to drift away towards the exits, the players shook hands on a draw at quarter to six.
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Day 3. No play.
Durham 308 & 152-7 v Somerset 185 at Emirates Durham ICG. Durham lead by 275 runs with three second innings wickets remaining.
Points - Durham 6, Somerset 3.
A combination of heavy morning showers and bad light during the afternoon ensured that no play was possible on day three.
Rain fell steadily throughout the morning, prompting the ground staff to cover the middle and the players to take an early lunch.
Heavy fog then set in during the afternoon and play was eventually abandoned for the day at 5pm.
The forecast for Wednesday is much brighter, with play due to start at 11am.
DAY TWO VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS - bit.ly/1kWbVft
Durham's deadly duo of Graham Onions and Chris Rushworth ensured the champions assumed a fairly commanding position on day two against Somerset.
Both bowlers took four wickets to dismiss the men from the Westcountry for just 185, giving Durham a solid first innings lead of 123.
In reply, Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick fell early before a flurry of quick wickets near the close gave Somerset some hope, although Durham remain favourites.
Peter Trego (3-46) and Lewis Gregory (2-55) combined to make sure the game had progressed quickly by the close, as supporters enjoyed a second day of entertaining Easter cricket.
Play began under bright sunshine, though overhead conditions failed to stop the ball moving around as the Somerset openers played and missed, with the occasional edge dropping just short of the slip cordon.
The batsmen's luck ran out however when Marcus Trescothick attempted to play a trademark late cut, only to chop the ball onto his stumps to give Onions the breakthrough.
After a metronomic start, the batsmen were being tied down and as the pressure built, Onions struck again. This time the England bowler sent Chris Jones' off-stump out of the ground, much to the delight of another healthy crowd at Chester-Le-Street.
Chris Rushworth then got in on the act, removing Alvaro Petersen for only 11, largely thanks to a sharp catch by Scott Borthwick at second slip. Less than ten minutes later James Hildreth was making his way back to the pavilion, trapped plumb in front by Onions without scoring.
The hosts were flying, with Somerset floundering at 48/4.
Durham old boy Johann Myburgh strode out to the crease and along with Craig Kieswetter, the pair steadied the ship. Just when Myburgh was beginning to look settled on 22 though, Jamie Harrison celebrated wildly after striking him on the pad with a brisk, straight delivery.
Having lost five wickets before lunch, Kieswetter and Peter Trego decided to indulge their natural attacking instincts and began to play in a positive manner.
Trego, with tattoos covering both arms, tucked in to a number of meaty drives down the ground. The Weston-Super-Mare born man was given a let off when Borthwick put down a difficult chance from another good Harrison delivery, but generally Trego batted with impressive determination.
A spirited recovery had seen Somerset reach 164/5, but then two wickets in successive overs took the game back Durham's way.
Onions dismissed Trego two short of his half century and six balls later Rushworth found the edge of Kieswetter’s bat, giving Phil Mustard a simple catch.
Due to a neck spasm, Nick Compton had dropped down the order to eight, and the former Middlesex man could only watch helplessly at the non-strikers end as first Gregory (12) and then Meschede (4) departed.
Compton was the last man out, with Usman Arshad adding his name to the wickets column, but the innings belonged to Durham's outstanding new ball pairing.
With a healthy lead, Durham were dealt two early blows when they lost Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick. Stoneman looked disappointed to be given out LBW, whilst a leg side flick from Borthwick was superbly caught one-handed by Jones at short midwicket.
Keaton Jennings and Michael Richardson rebuilt though, as they put on 57 for the third wicket to take the lead beyond 200. The partnership was broken when Jamie Overton banged the ball in short and a pull from Richardson went straight to Gregory at midwicket. After making a solid start, a kick of the turf from Richardson highlighted his frustration at a chance missed.
Jennings looked on course for a second half-century in the match until he drove at a half-volley from Myburgh. The ball turned, found the edge and Trescothick clung on at first slip.
As the evening sunshine stretched across the ground, Somerset's weary attack suddenly found some joy. Peter Trego enticed Mustard to feel forward and he edged through to Kieswetter, before Breese was struck on the pad to be dismissed for a golden duck the very next ball.
Usman Arshad survived the hat-trick ball but only lasted three more deliveries as a full-blooded drive gave Hildreth a catch at second slip.
Collingwood (19*) and the ever-improving Harrison (15*) settled any jitters and saw their side through to the close. Durham will hope to push the lead beyond 300 on day three. Play begins at 11am.
Day 1: Durham 308 all out v Somerset 7-0, at Emirates Durham ICG
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Points - Durham 3, Somerset 3.
Durham fought back strongly on day one of the first home game of the season, as a partnership of 65 for the eighth wicket gave last season's champions a useful first innings total.
A crowd of 1,784, the highest for an LV=County Championship match at Emirates Durham ICG since 2011, enjoyed an entertaining day that ebbed and flowed.
Keaton Jennings made an excellent half-century, but Durham's other top order batsmen couldn't build on some promising starts.
All of the top six got into double figures, but only Jennings (80) pushed on as Durham were bowled out for 308.
Somerset will probably feel that they let a promising position slip, after winning the toss and electing to bowl first.
Marcus Trescothick's bowlers were wayward for much of the morning session, but dragged themselves back into the contest, with Lewis Gregory picking up four wickets.
However, some attacking stroke play from Gareth Breese and Jamie Harrison ensured that Durham built a decent total, on a pitch which at times showed evidence of variable bounce.
Durham started the day on the front foot as Mark Stoneman struck a six and a four in the first over of the morning from Lewis Gregory. But in Gregory's second over, Stoneman tried to cut a wide delivery and edged through to Craig Kieswetter.
Some attacking batting and generous bowling had ensured Durham reached 50 by the 10 over mark, with Somerset's bowlers finding it hard to find a consistent line and length. A flurry of no-balls was not helping their cause.
However, just two balls after pulling Peter Trego for four, Scott Borthwick was then tempted to nibble at a delivery from the same bowler and departed for 14.
The hosts' continued to score quickly and had former Durham man Johann Myburgh to thank as the champions brought up three figures. Michael Richardson pushed a ball off the back foot into the offside and went for a quick single. Myburgh fielded and took aim at the non-strikers end, but his throw missed and the ball raced to the boundary, giving Richardson five runs.
Richardson had scored two half-centuries last week at Northampton, but on the stroke of lunch he was struck on the helmet by a short-pitched delivery from Jamie Overton. With the very next ball, the Durham batsman was caught on the crease as he leant back and fended a ball into the hands of Gregory at gully.
Whilst Richardson was unable to recreate his efforts against Northamptonshire, Keaton Jennings continued his promising start to the campaign, looking completely unflustered on his way to a half-century. He and Phil Mustard were looking in control after lunch until Mustard left a delivery from Craig Meschede that shaped in and struck him on the pad.
Jennings continued to exhibit his full repertoire of shots - drives down the ground were complimented by deft sweep shots against spin. Using his height to his advantage, Jennings cut and drove off the back foot with consummate ease against the quicks, highlighted by his punch through the offside that brought up his side's 200.
The partnership between Jennings and Collingwood was flourishing, with the pair scoring quickly and rotating the strike with plenty of sharp singles. Collingwood was looking in fine form as he drove Gregory to the extra cover fence, only for Gregory to strike him on the pad with his next delivery to send the Durham skipper back to the pavilion for 36.
Gregory, the pick of the Somerset attack, then found some extra bounce to account for Jennings, who edged the ball straight to James Hildreth at first slip.
The loss of Jennings was a big blow, and after Myburgh had drawn Usman Arshad forward to have him caught at slip, the visitors had clearly gained the ascendancy.
Jamie Harrison tried to shift the momentum back as he dispatched Jamie Overton for consecutive boundaries. Harrison, who made a maiden half-century just last week, followed up a sumptuous off-drive with a thumping flick through mid-wicket. Overton responded by switching to around the wicket and bowling some short-pitched deliveries - one of which struck Harrison on the helmet.
Breese decided to attack as well, using his feet to strike Myburgh for 12 in a particularly productive over, but Somerset took the new ball and Peter Trego ended a punchy innings of 45. Onions then followed just four balls later, departing in the same fashion after being hit on the pad.
The innings was swiftly wrapped up when Chris Rushworth was dismissed without scoring, leaving Harrison stranded on 37.
That gave Onions and Rushworth six overs to try and grab a late wicket but Marcus Trescothick and Chris Jones just about held firm. Breese couldn't hang on to a tough chance at third slip after an edge from Trescothick, and both bowlers beat the bat a few times, so there was plenty of encouragement ahead of day two.