"IT was great to be back scoring runs," said Tom Banton, after his return to form led Somerset to a nail-biting seven-run Vitality Blast win over Hampshire Hawks at the Cooper Associates County Ground on Friday night.

The home side posted 172-9 after losing the toss in Taunton, with Banton smiting a brilliant 77 off 37 balls and 19-year-old Will Smeed contributing an unbeaten 63.

Hampshire replied with 165-8, Colin de Grandhomme’s bludgeoning 66 backed by 37 from D’Arcy Short.

Somerset seamer Marchant de Lange bowled his four overs for just 13 runs, which would prove vital in the final reckoning.

After James Hildreth (3) had fallen cheaply at the start, Devon Conway (5) marked his Somerset debut with a cover-driven four, only to fall in the same over, the third of the match, bowled by his New Zealand international team-mate de Grandhomme.

It was 47-2 at the end of the six-over power play, Banton having got into his stride with two sixes and a four off de Grandhomme in the fifth over.

Two more maximums followed off the same Scott Currie over, as Banton showed the quality which has already earned him England recognition in white-ball cricket.

But Lewis Goldsworthy (9) was caught at cover off Currie and when Mason Crane bowled Tom Lammonby for a duck Somerset were 63-4.

Banton, who had scored just 33 runs in his previous four Blast innings, went to fifty off 22 balls, finding a reliable partner in Smeed as the pair added 58 in seven overs.

A switch-hit six and two fours with the same shot further stamped Banton’s innings of the highest class, before he was eventually caught at long-off in the 15th over, sent down by Currie (4-31).

By then teenager Smeed was also going well, striking two sixes and four fours on his way to a 39-ball half-century.

Despite the early loss of James Vince and Tom Prest, Hampshire raced to 58-2 at the end of six overs in their reply, as Short and de Grandhomme cut loose in devastating fashion.

Short cleared the ropes twice in the same Josh Davey over before de Grandhomme launched Craig Overton for a massive six over mid-wicket, in cracking 18 off four balls.

The pair had added 78 in 6.2 overs when Short holed out to Max Waller at long-on off Goldsworthy’s left-arm spin.

A late cut for four off Waller took de Grandhomme to an impressive fifty off 27 balls.

The experienced New Zealander then took three boundaries off Lewis Gregory in the 15th over before falling to an Overton catch at deep cover.

By then his side needed only 35 for victory, but it proved too many, with de Lange bowling his heart out and Waller pinning Lewis McManus for a duck.

The tide had turned and Somerset could afford a couple of dropped catches as Hampshire's batting folded tamely at the death.

Banton said afterwards: "I actually feel quite emotional.

"The season hadn't gone according to plan for me and it was great to be back scoring runs at a place I love, in front of Somerset supporters.

"I used to open the batting with Will Smeed when we were at school, so it was great to bring back a few memories.

"We just tried to make maximum use of the shorter boundary and in my case that meant playing a few switch-hits."

Somerset sit in fifth place in the South Group table, with eight points from seven games, ahead of the trip to face Kent Spitfires on Monday (7pm).