A season in which little has gone right has reached a crucial juncture as Surrey do battle at the Guildford Festival with Somerset.

Defeat by Warwickshire – who were rock bottom of Specsavers County Championship Division One after starting with three losses – put even more pressure on the defending champions.

Draws against Essex, Somerset and Kent were no mean feat in a season ravaged by injury but last week’s 130-run reverse at Edgbaston left Surrey 42 points adrift of leaders Hampshire, albeit with a game in hand, and 35 behind Somerset.

And it meant that this week’s match against Somerset at Woodbridge Road could become pivotal if Surrey are to have a chance of retaining the title won so convincingly last year.

They were left to rue George Bartlett cracking 137 out of 344 all out on the first day, making the most of being dropped first ball off paceman Matt Dunn by Rikki Clarke at first slip.

So safe are Clarke’s hands usually that it was difficult to find anyone who could remember the last time he shelled an opportunity but Bartlett, the 21-year-old born in Frimley, ensured Surrey paid dearly in a fine innings punctuated by 19 fours – taking advantage of the quick outfield – and a six.

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Support from Tom Banton (44), Steven Davies (41) and Craig Overton (40) in the middle-order left Somerset in a powerful position at 298-5 before the new ball finished them off – Morne Morkel claiming four wickets, with three apiece for Dunn and Clarke – but Surrey’s inconsistent batting was under pressure again on the second day at 38-3 as bowlers again made the early going on a rain-hit second day.

It took a second-wicket partnership of 81 between Ben Foakes, who hit a fluent 57, and Scott Borthwick – making a stubborn 37 – which rescued the hosts, Ryan Patel taking them within sight of saving the follow-on.

Foakes commented: “Last year everything fell into place and the wins came out way. I don’t think we’re too from that happening but maybe we’ve not put it together all through games.”

At Edgbaston they had allowed Warwickshire to flourish from 186-8 to 293 all out, chiefly thanks to tailender Liam Norwell’s 64. A fighting 57 from Ben Foakes could only propel Surrey to 188 and the hosts showed great enterprise on the final day, after a large chunk of the third had been rained off, in hitting their way to 166-9. The chief beneficiary of their charge was veteran off-spinner Gareth Batty as he claimed career-best figures of 8-64 including the second hat-trick of his career.

A target of 272 always looked unlikely and Surrey had no answers to Warwickshire’s own off-spinner, Jeetan Patel, who claimed 8-32 in 31 overs and finished with 12 wickets in the match, only Clarke (51no) flourishing while his side fell to 141 all out.

Surrey host Yorkshire from next Monday in the second match of the Guildford Festival.