Somerset keep survival hopes intact on day one of Middlesex clash

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Somerset kept their Specsavers County Championship survival hopes intact despite Middlesex spinner Ravi Patel claiming a career-best seven for 81 on an action-packed first day at Taunton.

The hosts have to win to stand any chance of avoiding the drop – with their opponents one of two sides who could now be relegated instead should they succeed.

From a promising 193 for four, Somerset crashed to 236 all out, but Craig Overton and Jack Leach then reduced Middlesex to 18 for three to leave the match finely poised.

Ed Byrom top-scored with 56, his maiden Championship half-century, before Patel took advantage of a dry, turning pitch.

Steven Patterson and Jack Brooks took three Essex wickets each to help Yorkshire secure their Division One place for another year.

Yorkshire started the day knowing a six-point swing with Somerset would finally allay any lingering fears they had of joining Warwickshire in Division Two next season.

When Somerset were bowled out having missed out on four batting points, coupled with the second of their three bowling points at Chelmsford, Yorkshire could breathe a sigh of relief.

Simon Harmer top-scored with 64 as champions Essex were bowled out for 227.

Hampshire are still not safe after play was washed out at Edgbaston, frustrating the south coast side in their bid to land some valuable bonus points against Warwickshire.

In the battle for second place, Sam Curran hit an unbeaten half-century before Surrey declared on 201 for eight, with Lancashire 17 without loss in reply at stumps.

In Division Two, Worcestershire, Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire are vying for the two promotion places but all saw their efforts hampered by weather on day one.

Northants, who began the day 13 behind Notts and 19 adrift of leaders Worcestershire, need a win to go up but were unable to take to the field against Leicestershire as a wet outfield prevented any play at Grace Road.

Worcestershire reached 90 for three from the 26 overs possible against Durham, with Joe Clarke unbeaten on a run-a-ball 46.

Nottinghamshire appeared well placed to secure an instant return to the top flight when three Steven Mullaney wickets reduced Sussex to 107 for five at Hove, but unbeaten fifties from Delray Rawlins and Michael Burgess saw the hosts reach 230 for five before bad light intervened.

Elsewhere, Glamorgan are 18 for one after a Joe Denly century lifted Kent to 302 all out and Derbyshire are 104 for two against Gloucestershire.

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