THE sun was out, the stand which bears his name was almost full and Marcus Trescothick was battling hard to save a match for Somerset. 

Add into the mix the fact he was doing so alongside a fellow stalwart in Peter Trego, and the 41-year-old opener would have been hard pushed to choose a more opportune time to score the hundred he needed to stand alone at the top of the list of all-time centurions for his home county.

The scene was set for history to be made and, having crept through the nervous nineties, a single into the leg side saw a weight that had been in place since he levelled the record at Trent Bridge last July lifted off his shoulders. 

Fifty centuries, separated by 23 years, and a record which had stood for 64 years was broken by a man who, at points in his early career, wondered whether he would make it at county level and even now admits he has sleepless nights over his form.

Those initial concerns may seem misplaced with the benefit of hindsight, but success was far from immediate for the young Keynsham-born left-hander.

Having chosen Somerset over Gloucestershire as a youngster, his debut came as a 17-year-old in 1993 in a memorable match against Lancashire at the County Ground, when Andy Caddick took 9-32 as Somerset dismissed their visitors for 72 to win by 15 runs. 

Trescothick, opening the batting alongside fellow prodigious youngster Mark Lathwell, contributed just one and three to the victory, starting a difficult opening season which saw him end with just 14 runs from six innings.

The following year was an improvement, but by 1997 Trescothick – now in his early twenties – was in and out of the team, though this led to a quite remarkable innings of 322 for the Second XI against Warwickshire as Somerset fell just seven runs short of chasing 612 to win.

That knock set in motion a chain of events that proved the catalyst for Trescothick to kick on and begin showing what he was truly capable of.

Consequently, Somerset saw comparatively little of their homegrown opening batsman for the first half of the 2000s as, having made his England bow at a time when the national side was in need of fresh blood, Trescothick’s attacking approach helped transform both the style and results of the Test team.

Watching the victory parade through Trafalgar Square after the 2005 Ashes, it would have been easy for Somerset fans to fear they would only sporadically see him opening the batting at the County Ground again, though soon he had no choice but to return to the domestic game.

Trescothick writes in his award-winning autobiography, Coming Back to Me, that during England’s tour of India in 2006 “you could have taken all my kit, all my money, taken my life away. I didn’t care. I was a shell.” 

Originally his return home from that trip was simply put down to ‘personal reasons’, and he continued to represent England at home the following summer, but a return of the stress-related illness nine days before the start of the 2006/07 Ashes marked the end of his international career.

Trescothick’s work since in reducing the stigma surrounding mental health issues in sport will be as much, if not more a part of his legacy than achievements on the field; it is impossible not to draw comparisons between Trescothick and the man whose record he broke, Harold Gimblett, who also fought off-field demons during and after his playing career.

“Of course I still doubt myself,” Trescothick said in the wake of his 50th Somerset century.

“I still have sleepless nights and there are times when I don’t feel good. I’ve got better at managing it over the years, but it will always be there.”

Many players struggle to find the motivation to represent their county having tasted the international scene, with Andrew Strauss, Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan among those to have retired almost instantly after ending their England careers.

There were no such problems for Trescothick, who relished being back in familiar surroundings and helped a strong Somerset team, led by Justin Langer, win the Division Two title in his first full season back in the side.

Prolific summers became common for Trescothick, who plundered 1,817 Championship runs in 2009 and 1,673 more two years later as England’s loss continued to be very much Somerset’s gain.

Throughout this period, it became easy to take Trescothick’s presence for granted without realising quite how fortunate you were to be watching him in full flow.

Here was an international-class batsman taking great pride in performing to the best of his ability at county level, and as I was regularly reminded while growing up watching him – his first Somerset century came three months before I was born - these were moments to savour while they lasted.

It has not all been plain sailing for the batsman in recent years - in 2013, he failed to score a century for the first time since 1998 - but, after a typically belligerent 133 against Durham got him back on track in 2014, Trescothick’s experience continued to shine through at times when the team truly needed it.

In September of the following season, for example, the batsman rolled back the years with a masterful double century at Hove  to help Somerset on their way to a draw which was integral in securing Division One survival.

Even last season, at the age of 40, it was Trescothick who led the way with 1,239 runs, as well as breaking the record for most catches taken by a Somerset player, as the Cidermen came so close to securing that elusive Championship title - surely the one prize that would mean more to him than all the individual honours.

The current campaign started slowly but, after 10 months tied at the top of the all-time centuries chart, Monday saw Trescothick’s wait for the record come to an end.

“I had all winter to dwell on it, so it is a very nice feeling to have got there,” he said after batting through all but seven overs of the final day across two innings to help his side to a draw against Warwickshire.

“I desperately wanted to do it here in Taunton, so I’m delighted to have done so.”

Gimblett remains 2,599 runs ahead of Trescothick in the all-time list of Somerset run scorers, a total the 41-year-old admits “does seem a long way off at this stage.”

As things stand, however, he remains the prized wicket for opposing sides and his fierce determination continues to inspire within the Somerset dressing room – it would be ill-advised to bet against this week being the final time Trescothick breaks records for a county he is proud to call his own.

What the players say...

“THERE’S no doubt his routines and behaviours had a big impact on my game, and putting runs on the board alongside him are times that I’ll never forget.” Nick Compton

“A great achievement for a fantastic bloke - he was a great role model for me with England, and Somerset are lucky to have someone like him here.” Ian Bell

“An incredible feat from an incredible man. Tres is a huge inspiration and what he does for Somerset is special - I’m lucky to be a teammate.” Tom Abell

“Dean Elgar told me recently he’s never seen anyone who just loves cricket as much as Tres, and I said exactly the same thing when I was new here last year - that tells you all you need to know. He simply strives for perfection all the time.” Chris Rogers

“It’s an amazing feat that is a credit to how he has gone about his business. I am proud to have opened the batting with him - we complemented each other well and I learnt a lot from him.” Arul Suppiah

What the supporters say...

"It's been no surprise to me to see Marcus continually breaking records for the county he loves. I hope this continues as this is a man who is totally irreplaceable." Sam Trego

"I have always heard the name heralded as one belonging to an iconic figure. Some years on, Trescothick remains on of the most brutal batsmen on the county circuit, and his love of the club is infectious: he is a true Somerset legend." Matt Roller

Top five tons...

121 v Surrey at Bath (16-20 June 1994) - The maiden First Class century that represented Trescothick’s first step on the path to Somerset folklore.

167 v Glamorgan at Taunton (2-4 September 1999) - Arguably the most important innings of the opener’s career in a match where no-one else scored more than 50. Watching on was new England coach Duncan Fletcher - the rest, as they say, is history.

284 v Northamptonshire at Taunton (8-11 May 2007) - A vintage knock that remains Trescothick’s career best.

133 v Durham at Taunton (19-22 May 2014) - Having averaged 28 the previous year and picked up a golden duck earlier in the match, this first century at the County Ground in 618 days eased the pressure on the captain and Trescothick ended the season with 1,049 runs.

106 v Warwickshire at Taunton (19-22 May 2017) - A vital innings that created history as well as saving a match for Somerset.