Mitchell enjoys the March sunshine

Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell held his side together with a battling 63 on the opening day of the first pre-season friendly of the season against Somerset at Taunton Vale.

Despite the late March start the weather was unseasonably pleasant but Worcestershire still struggled in seamer-friendly conditions as rookie Adam Dibble finished with four for 27.

At one stage Worcestershire were in dire straits at 82 for six but Mitchell, back from a successful winter playing club cricket in New Zealand, shored up the innings with his half-century.

The last wicket pair of Richard Jones and Jack Shantry also boosted the total with 66 valuable, if unlikely, runs which took Worcestershire to their tea-time declaration at 195 for nine.

Somerset, missing former Gloucestershire paceman Steve Kirby, who is in the UAE preparing for the MCC’s match against champion county Nottinghamshire this weekend, responded with 91 for two by the close of the first day of the two-day fixture.

Worcestershire left experienced seamer Alan Richardson out of their squad for this game, preferring to keep him fresh for more serious challenges ahead.

Australian seamer Damien Wright has yet to arrive in England for his stint as Worcestershire’s overseas player for the first two months of the season.

Batsman Jack Manuel, who underwent a shoulder operation after he returned home early from a winter stint playing club cricket in Australia, is still recuperating. Worcestershire next play Somerset in a one-day match at New Road on March 27.

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