Somerset see off their neighbours
Craig Kieswetter helped Somerset kick off their NatWest T20 Blast campaign with a hard-fought 18-run derby victory over Gloucestershire.
Somerset lost Marcus Trescothick to the first ball of the match after being sent into bat but his opening partner Kieswetter, who was the leading scorer in last year's competition with 517 runs at an average of 65, helped lead his side's recovery with a patient 55 off 48 balls.
Overseas star Alviro Petersen added the impetus with a 36-ball 51 as Somerset, T20 runners-up in three of the last four years and winners in 2005, posted 156 for eight at the County Ground.
That proved just too much for Gloucestershire who, despite 54 from Hamish Marshall, were bowled out for 138.
Despite regularly losing wickets, the hosts were still in with a chance of victory until Somerset's other overseas player Dirk Nannes picked up the final two wickets in the penultimate over to finish the game.
The much-travelled Nannes, on his Somerset debut, finished with figures of four for 21.
Underdogs Gloucestershire came into the match struggling with injuries and having been docked two points for a sub-standard pitch from last season, but they could not have a better start after winning the toss as they snared Somerset skipper Trescothick first ball.
James Fuller was the man to make the breakthrough, having the former England opener caught by Liam Norwell at third man.
That was the first of four victims for Fuller (four for 32), who also sent back the equally dangerous Peter Trego for eight soon after to leave Somerset struggling on 12 for two.
However, Somerset are not short of aggressive stroke-players and Kieswetter and Petersen got them back on track with a third-wicket stand worth 91 to help set Gloucestershire a testing target.
The home side's reply started well enough with captain Michael Klinger and Chris Dent putting on 19 for the first wicket, but both openers and Alex Gidman then fell for the addition of just four runs to give control back to Somerset.
Former New Zealand Test player Marshall kept Gloucestershire in the hunt with seven fours in his half-century, but he could not find the support he needed as Somerset kept their cool to claim the spoils in the South Division clash.