SOMERSET get their competitive season underway in less than two weeks time with an away championship fixture at Durham on Wednesday April 10, writes Richard Walsh.

With such a short amount of time left until the serious stuff gets going it is essential that the Cidermen are in peak condition to try to kick start their season with a victory in the north east.

And they have just one final pre-season game remaining, a three day contest against Derbyshire starting at the County Ground on Easter Monday.

Captain Marcus Trescothick is only too well aware of how important it is to be fully prepared for the new campaign.

He said: “The Derbyshire game is our last warm up game before we get into the start of the season. This is our last preparation so we need to be at least 95% ready ahead of flying up to Durham for the first championship game the following week.

“Although we would have liked the weather a bit warmer at least it has been dry and we have been able to get some good practice from the two matches that we have played.

“We have got some good mileage out of people in the games, but now we have to switch it on because it is now all about being virtually in top gear come the end of the Derby game.

“We have to try to make sure that we are ready a little bit before the first championship opener so by the second or third day of the Derby game our brains should be fully engaged so we can bat or bowl for long spells and do it consistently.”

This year there are even more players competing for places in the line up, as well as the difficulty caused with having two England ‘keepers in the squad.

Trescothick added: “There are always selection problems come this time of the year when you get some good youngsters coming through.

“We have got 18-year-olds and 22-year-olds who are all challenging for positions so there are a few headaches for the senior management who are fairly new at working together but it’s what you are used to at this time of the season with all the challenges ahead.”

Head coach Andy Hurry said: “The three day game against Derbyshire is the one that we are focussing on to make sure that we are up to speed.

“We will putting all of our emphasis on our bowling schedule, the areas we are going to hit and the consistency we are hitting them with and we will playing with real championship intensity.

“We will have Steve Kirby and Pete Trego back for that game and will be selecting what we perceive to be our strongest side.”

The Cidermen conclude their three day friendly against Middlesex tomorrow (Friday) and then start their final three day game also at home, against Derbyshire on Monday starting at 10.30am.