TWO late wickets helped drag Hampshire back into contention but Somerset will feel they have their noses in front after day one of the Championship clash.
The visitors reached stumps on 310 for six but the important dismissals of Peter Trego (21) and James Hildreth (76) will have improved the mood in the home changing room at the close of play.
Somerset dominated the morning session as Marcus Trescothick (53) and Tom Abell (88) shared a 92-run opening partnership before Gareth Berg made the breakthrough to remove the former England man.
Trescothick had already received one let-off on 30 when Liam Dawson put down a tough chance in the slips.
But Berg’s inswinger accounted for the veteran after reaching his 114th career first-class fifty.
Abell continued his determined innings – putting on 50 for the second wicket with former Hampshire man Johann Myburgh – before he was bowled by an excellent spinning delivery from Dawson (two for 59).
Myburgh (23) had been the second wicket to fall when he gave Jackson Bird a first scalp at the Ageas Bowl, chipping to Berg at cover point.
But Abell looked in fine form as he steered Somerset past the 200-mark in a 60-run stand alongside Hildreth.
The 21-year-old looked to be closing in on a maiden century but fell short and narrowly missed out on his previous top score of 95.
Jim Allenby (nine) was brilliantly snaffled by short leg Sean Terry to give Dawson his second wicket.
Bird impressed with the ball on his first Championship outing at the Ageas Bowl, as he ended the day with economical figures of one for 58.
The Australian Test fast bowler looked especially threatening with the second new ball and troubled Hildreth before striking the ex-England Lions batsman on the head. Hildreth, who had also been dropped by Dawson in the slips when he was on just 12, was eventually trapped leg before wicket by the returning James Tomlinson (one for 63), who grabbed his first wicket for six weeks.
Trego was clean bowled by Sean Ervine as Hampshire kept plugging away and enjoyed a late boost.
And when Hildreth followed him soon afterwards, it brought former Hampshire man Michael Bates to the crease.
After a warm welcome from those within the Ageas Bowl, Bates looked in decent nick and will be keen to build on his start on day two.