Somerset 353 for 7 (Hildreth 137, Trescothick 71, Davies 55, Gurney 5-66) v Nottinghamshire
The two familiar Somerset figures who batted for the bulk of the day at Trent Bridge had plenty on their mind. James Hildreth's spritely hundred was a response to England rejection whereas Marcus Trescothick has once again felt the love and loyalty from his beloved Somerset and is musing on whether this time it should go unrequited.
The West Country has become used to an England side without Hildreth; with every year his chances of winning recognition lessen. He might only be two years older than Joe Denly, summoned for the tour of Sri Lanka at 32, and he might have a superior first-class average, but it is opening batsmen - or theoretical opening batsmen - that England need.
But a Somerset side without Trescothick? The apple orchards would drop their produce in sorrow, Wells Cathedral's 14th century clock would run backwards in the hope of reversing time and hikers would sit at the top of Glastonbury Tor and feel that the walk back down was more than they could be bothered with. Surely, as long as another contract is on offer, it is unthinkable?
Trescothick, now 42, does have a one-year contract on the table, issued as automatically as a space in the car park, but reports that he has signed it have been premature. With the end of the season will come his decision and all of Somerset hopes for "yes". But a pair in his last match against Surrey at Taunton, inflicted by the latest county to end Somerset's dreams of a first Championship title, was hardly designed to sharpen his appetite.
An assured half-century on a benign pitch against a Nottinghamshire side fading to the finishing line will have provided some reassurance that he has more to give. It promised to give Somerset much the better of the opening day, but Harry Gurney hit back well with 5 for 66 (Hildreth, Lewis Gregory and Steve Davies all mopped up after tea) as Notts chased the five bonus points that, even allowing for Lancashire heroics in Southampton, would ensure them of Division One survival.
Trescothick surpassed Harold Gimblett's record of most Somerset first-class centuries last season, but has still to pass his runs. His team ethic runs too deep, though, to stay on if he feels the next generation can do better.
A demanding season has yielded only one Championship century, against Lancashire, and even then it came with a broken foot as he approached the landmark. He did well to battle back from that, and looked unruffled enough in making 71 from 141 balls, all his 11 boundaries stroked through the off side, but he was visibly frustrated by his dismissal in mid-afternoon as his balance was awry and an inviting drive offered up by Gurney, at the start of a new spell, flew to extra cover where Ben Duckett held a low catch to his right.
Hildreth, dropped at slip by Steven Mullaney off the offspinner Matt Carter on 30, passed 1000 first-class runs this year on 48 and stayed on to make 137 from 203 balls, stronger through the off side, and nimble enough on his feet to pick off Carter - who is slower than most spinners on the county circuit - pretty much as he pleased. A square cut against Luke Fletcher brought up another hundred that will lie at the bottom of the ECB In Tray. Gurney finally silenced an innings of burgeoning ambition from around the wicket as he pushed loosely at one outside off stump. He probably felt he had earned such liberties by then.
It was a strange Trent Bridge day: little sign of movement off the pitch or in the air and an offspinner wheeling away by lunch. Carter had played more of his Championship matches on the ground of his opponents (three) than he had in Nottingham (this was his first), but he did have one wicket to mark this strange phenomenon - Tom Abell pushing forward to be caught at first slip.
There was a Nottinghamshire connection for Somerset's opener, Tom Banton, who was playing his second Championship match. His innings soon ended when he fell lbw to Luke Wood, but that a gentle thud on the pad on a sedate pitch was a gentler way to go than that experienced by his father, Colin Banton, in the last of his seven first-class matches for Nottinghamshire in his only season in 1995, as Allan Donald struck him on the forearm during a particularly fiery spell on a Trent Bridge green top and he retired hurt before he had scored.