By Mark Kidger (@MarkFromMadrid)
We do not quite have a full round of matches as Essex and Hampshire played a T20 last night and do not play today. At the end of this round, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire will have played nine matches and will be into the final run-in, in which every point counts. All other sides will have played eight matches and will have six left.
Today we have three, classic encounters, headed by the Roses match which, this year, takes on a special significance with Yorkshire in the relegation places and Lancashire one place above them, with a game more played. We also have a face-off between first and second and Somerset against the bottom side, needing a win to get back into Championship contention.
It has been a day of wild swings in the action, of many LBWs and the day that one Championship contender may well have said good-bye to its chances.
Lancashire v Yorkshire
Even though both teams have their England Test players available ahead of England’s series against India and thus Yorkshire can field a full-strength team, they hand a debut to on-loan Warwickshire leg-spinner Josh Poysden on a one-match deal, while Matthew Fisher missed out with a lacerated toe sustained on Lions duty and was replaced in the XII by Josh Shaw. Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow play against England team-mates Jimmy Anderson and Jos Buttler, giving this match excellent quality. The auguries are not great for Lancashire as they have not beaten Yorkshire at Old Trafford since 2000 – their only home win coming during the exile to Aigburgh. Defeat for Lancashire in this game would be catastrophic.
Play was delayed due to the miserable, wet morning conditions at Old Trafford, although the rain relented enough to allow an 1145 start to be contemplated. Yorkshire won the Toss and elected to bat. Yorkshire seemed to be recovering well from the early loss of Harry Brook to Graeme Onions (22-1), with Joe Root looking in prime form, when Jordan Clark came in for his third over. Little did the Yorkshire fans appreciate what was to come when Joe Root eased the second and third balls of the over to the boundary. The last three balls of the over produced a hat-trick. First, he pinned Joe Root LBW for 22 from 19 balls. Kane Williamson came in and went LBW first ball. And Jonny Bairstow got a snorter that he could only edge to Jos Buttler behind the stumps. 59-4 and some disarray in the visitors. Jordan Clark had dismissed the numbers 3, 4 and 16 in the ICC World rankings: Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Jonny Bairstow. It was the first hat-trick in a Roses match at Old Trafford since 1933 and the first in an Ashes match since Ken Higgs took one at Headingley in 1968. At Lunch, Yorkshire were 61-4 and needing Lyth and Ballance to steady the innings. Ballance though did not hang around after Lunch and was bowled by Onions for 9: the fact that he did not offer a shot to the ball did not make it any better. 78-5 and, already, a leading contender for the “Wally of the Day” award. Bresnan then made his bid for the award by running himself out as Lyth drove the ball back at bowler Clark and he deflected it onlto the stumps with Bresnan backing-up too far. Yorkshire were 86-6 and hearing the whisper of relegation threats in their ears.
As Lyth and Patterson battled on, Liam Livingstone dived for a catch in the slips and took the ball on his wrist. Yorkshire had a life and Livingstone had to go off for treatment. Yorkshire could not take advantage of their luck for long as Petterson edged Bailey to Jennings at First Slip for 22 and Lyth fell to Anderson, also to a catch by Jennings. 131-8 and Yorkshire back up against it.
Jack Brooks and Josh Poysden though saw Yorkshire through to Tea with some sensible batting at 166-8 and gave some hope of a batting point. Clark though was not finished with Yorkshire and got Brooks to edge to Hameed, in the covers, straight after the resumption. Enter Ben Coad with a swinging bat. Poysden and Coad added 26 in 23 balls and seemed to be about to lead their side to an unexpected batting point when Coad got a straight one: need you ask who the bowler was? Jordan Clark ended with 5-58 and a run-out: career-best figures and not a bad day’s work!
Lancashire made a slow start with just 3 runs from the first five overs, then Jennings and Davies broke loose with five boundaries in eleven balls. Finally, Tim Bresnan brought the breakthrough. Keaton Jennings smashed the ball towards Joe Root at Mid-Wicket; Root flew through the air and took a brilliant one-handed catch and Yorkshire had their breakthrough: 46-1. Once again, a second wicket fell quickly as Haseeb Hameed’s nightmare season continued as he shouldered arms to a ball from Patterson that thudded into his stumps. Two balls later Dane Vilas fell LBW to Patterson for a duck and Lancashire were 55-3. Jos Buttler came in for a rare Championship innings and survived just four balls before leg-glancing a ball from Bresnan behind, where Jonny Bairstow took a smart catch to make it 66-4: Yorkshire were roaring back into the match.
Davies reached his 50 but fell immediately, edging Coad to Bairstow. Lancashire 92-5 and the match, wide open again. In came Bailey, out went Bailey, bowled second ball by Coad. 92-6 and, incredibly, Yorkshire were right on top. In came Onions and he too fell, second ball, bowled by Coad to give the bowler a rare, triple-wicket maiden. Six overs still remained, with Lancashire struggling to see out the day. Three balls into the next over Jack Brooks got Jordan Clark as Tim Bresnan caught him at Deap Square Leg and Lancashire had collapsed from 46-0 to 92-8: four wickets had fallen in eight balls for no addition. Seven wickets had fallen in ten overs and Liam Livingstone was presumed unfit to bat. Jimmy Anderson and Matt Parkinson managed to get through to the Close at 106-8, but Yorkshire are right on top and looking set for a desperately needed win that would compound Lancashire’s relegation worries.
Nottinghamshire v Surrey
Second plays first. After this match Nottinghamshire will have just five games left. With Nottinghamshire 22 points behind Surrey and only five games left after this one, a Surrey win would almost end Nottinghamshire’s chances of winning the Championship. Surrey play Australian Aaron Finch and recover Sam Curran and Ben Foakes from Lions duty. Nottinghamshire have Stuart Broad back, meaning that both sides can boast a very strong attack.
The Toss was uncontested and Surrey did not hesitate in putting in Nottinghamshire. Their decision was rewarded immediately as Jade Dernbach had Mullaney caught behind by Foakes, second ball, for a duck. 0-1 and Surrey had made an immediate statement. For a while, things seemed to be under control as Nottinghamshire reached 59-1 without further alarm, at which point Morkel took Fraine to catch by Ollie Pope. 50-1 became 60-3 as Morkel then added Jake Libby and then Sam Curran added Samit Patel. Nottinghamshire were 74-4 and in trouble. What Nottinghamshire did not need was for Billy Root to give a second catch to Ollie Pope in the penultimate over of the morning. Nottinghamshire 94-5 at Lunch and seeing the chances of the Championship title disappearing.
After Lunch Surrey seemed to struggle to maintain the intensity, but then they only needed one wicket to have Nottinghamshire wobbling again: Jade Dernbach duly took it by removing Riki Wessels for 23; 121-6. Morkel then got Stuart Broad caught by Sam Curran for 3 and Nottinghamshire were a very unhappy 128-7. Luke Fletcher and Tom Moores worked hard to push Nottinghamshire towards a batting point, but their stand was cut short at 36 when Rikki Clarke got Tom Moores LBW. As so often happens, one wicket brought two as Luke Fletcher was bowled by Morkel for 21: 165-9. Harry Gurney and last man, Jake Ball, hung around and took Nottinghamshire to a batting point that they would scarcely have expected a while before, swinging the bat merrily. In the end, Sam Curran launched a straight one at Jake Ball and sent the middle stump cartwheeling: 210ao, but it could have been so much worse.
The Nottinghamshire innings though was put into sharp contrast as Surrey set off in pursuit at a frantic pace. Mark Stoneman decided that the best way to get some form back was to attack and he did so with gusto. After just ten overs Surrey were 61-0 with Stoneman 43* and starting to enjoy batting again. The next three overs then went for 26. Stoneman’s first fifty of the summer took just 40 balls of carnage as Surrey continued to score at faster than a run-a-ball. The hundred partnership came up in one ball under sixteen overs. Stoneman fell finally to Jake Ball to a catch behind for 86, Surrey were 147-1, but the damage had been done to Nottinghamshire’s title hopes.
Surrey reached Stumps at 223-1, with Rory Burns on 97* and 19*, already 13 ahead and looking to eliminate Nottinghamshire as a title rival on Day 2.
Worcestershire v Somerset
After a win in their last fixture, Worcestershire can now see light at the end of the tunnel. Another win in this game would end Somereset’s title hopes and boost their own chances of survival. The big news for Somerset is that Marcus Trescothick is available after his successful 2nd XI return from what many feared was a career-ending injury whilst Jack Leach and Dom Bess are also available again after returning from England Lions duty. Matt Renshaw though has been forced to end his season through injury and Somerset are still without Tim Groenewald (groin), although Azhar Ali was available to make his debut. For Worcestershire, wicket-keeper batsman Alex Milton makes his Specsavers County Championship debut: captain of Cardiff MCCU this summer, he replaces Ben Cox who is ruled out with cracked ribs suffered in the Championship game versus Nottinghamshire. Incredibly, despite his injury, Cox has continued to play in the Blast but the injury has now become too painful for him to be able to play a four-day match: a sore (literally) loss for Worcestershire.
Both sides wanted to bat, but it was Worcestershire who won the Toss and elected to field, no doubt hoping to reduce the influence of Leach and Bess. The Somerset start was awful as Byrom was given caught behind to Magoffin for 5 (11-1) and Marcus Trescothick’s return was brief as he fell LBW, four balls later, to Wood for 6 (11-2). Another wicket would have been serious but, as so often this season, James Hildreath applied his calm head to the situation and, ably supported by Azar Ali, re-built the innings and even went on the attack, with 20 coming off the last two overs before Lunch, which was taken with Somerset at 95-2 and in a much happier place than they had been an hour and a half before. It did not last as Azar Ali edged Pennington behind for 37 from the bowling of Pennington, but 110-3 was a lot healthier than 11-2. In his next over, Pennington bowled Hildreath for 57 to a ball that the batsman was trying to leave (!!) and Somerset were 115-4, with two new batsmen at the crease and back in danger.
However, Steven Davies and Tom Abell were still there for Somerset and they had added 95 by Tea, leaving Somerset 214-4 and the happier of the two sides. Davies on 50, Abell on 49. Moeen Ali, having his first bowl of the season for Worcestershire, had caused problems, without having any luck but, after Tea, he finally got his reward. Steven Davies played back to a ball which turned from the Beard that is Feared, got a nick and ‘keeper Milton did the necessary. Davies out for 72 and Somerset 241-5. Then Moeen added Peter Trego LBW for 1 and Somerset were 251-6, with Tom Abell still there, although not for long, as Steve Magoffin got him LBW for 70: Somerset 266-7 and in danger of falling short of 300. The Overtons though had no intention of letting slip the match position and started to hit out, taking Somerset past the 300. 53 runs came in 7 overs. Finally, Craig Overton edged Moeen to slip for 31 and, soon after, Jamie Overton fell LBW to Ed Barnard for 28, making it 323-9. Stumps were drawn at 324-9, with Leach and Davey holding out, the former undoubtedly looking with interest at the turn that Moeen Ali was obtaining on Day 1.
The highlight of this round was undoubtedly Kent entertaining Leicestershire: 2nd v 4th, with Leicestershire knowing that a win would shake up the promotion race. Elsewhere, Sussex have the chance to keep their chances of promotion very much alive with a win against Glamorgan.
Derbyshire v Northamptonshire
The Derbyshire decision to bat looked pretty dubious when they fell to 21-3 and Northamptonshire had their first bowling point in little more than a quarter of an hour of play. Things got no better as Nathan Buck bowled Hughes to leave Derbyshire 53-4. It looked though as if Hossein and Critchley were weathering the storm until Nathan Buck got one through Critchley and sent the sides to a premature Lunch at 113-5. After Lunch, the Northamptonshire bowlers worked their way through the Derbyshire middle order and, at 183-8, things did not look good for the home side, but Gary Wilson was still there and got some solid support from Dan Wheeldon, adding vital runs and taking Derbyshire to 222-8 at Tea.
Still Derbyshire batted on and even when Wilson fell, bowled by Nathan Buck for 66, Wheeldon and Qadri took them to the second batting point. The fun ended finally on 260 when Prasanna bowled Qadri.
Northamptonshire got off to an excellent start in reply, Luke Procter and Ben Duckett adding 53 at better than 4-an-over. However, the fall of Duckett for 29 led to a mid-collapse as Vasconcelos fell two balls later for a duck – two in three balls to Tony Palladino. Three overs later Luke Procter fell LBW to Viljoen for 30 and Northamptonshire were 59-3 and Derbyshire were back in the game. Buck and Wakeley took Northamptonshire through to the Close at 74-3, with the game well balanced.
Gloucestershire v Durham
Gloucestershire brought in the recovered Benny Howell for the disappointing Graeme van Buuren and elected to bat. After his success against Sussex, Miles Hammond kept the opening spot, with Benny Howell slotting-in down the order. For Durham, Ben Stokes got a rare County Championship outing. Solid starts have not been a feature of the Gloucestershire batting this season but Dent and Hammond were giving the home team one of their better starts before Ben Stokes got Chris Dent LBW for 19: 40-1 and Chris Dent’s disappointing season continues. Stokes then hit James Bracey a heavy blow on the arm and forced him to retire hurt. Benny Howell came in at #4 to replace him. Whatever concerns there might have been about Ben Stokes’ ability to bowl his full share of overs in a Test, were dissipated further as he got Howell to nick it through to Cameron Steel: 48-2 and the Gloucestershire fans thinking “here we go again…” Miles Hammond though has a good head on his shoulders and, in partnership with Gareth Roderick, took Gloucestershire through to Lunch at 88-2.
Miles Hammond duly went through to his 50, confirming that in Bracey and Hammond, Gloucestershire have two young batsmen to watch. Sadly, though, just as he had against Sussex, where he seemed to lose concentration on reaching his century and get out immediately, he was dismissed immediately after reaching his fifty, when Chris Rushworth flattened his off stump for 51. With Bobby Bracey unable to return and in hospital with a suspected broken arm, Ryan Higgins came in and accompanied Gareth Roderick to a fine fifty and a fifty-partnership. Higgins then went on to his third fifty of the season. As Higgins reached his fifty, Ben Stokes started rubbing is left knee and went off for a time at the end of the over before coming back just before Tea. Roderick and Higgins went on to the century partnership. Gloucestershire 218-3 at Tea and Higgins just short of his highest First Class score.
Roderick fell LBW to Salisbury, second ball after Tea, for 67 and James Bracey came back bravely, arm well strapped. Higgins roared past his highest ever First Class score, supported by the valiant Bracey, until the new ball did for Bracey, LBW to Chris Rushworth for 38; 283-5 after a partnership of 64. Rushworth then bowled Noema-Barnett for 7 before Higgins hit consecutive boundaries off Salisbury, the second, a hook to the Fine Leg boundary to reach his first First Class century and bring up the Gloucestershire 300. Ryan Higgins fell finally to Ben Stokes for 105 and Stumps were called at 315-7: Stokes can be satisfied with a fine day’s work, as can Ryan Higgins, with honours even on the day.
Kent v Leicestershire
A year ago, any county seeing Leicestershire as visitors on their fixture list would have licked their lips and anticipated slaughter. This season though, Leicestershire have suddenly come alive and consecutive wins have left them in with a realistic chance of promotion. This thus became the original “promotion 48-pointer”: not something that many would have predicted back in April. Leicestershire elected to bowl at Canterbury and saw their decision justified rapidly as two wickets from Ben Raine in his fourth over shook-up the Kent batsmen. Raine dismissed Bell-Drummond and Kuhn with consecutive balls, leaving Kent 25-2. From there, things just got worse as Zak Chappell came on as first change and scythed through the Middlesex middle order with three wickets for very little, supported by the dismissal of Sam Dickson by Gareth Griffiths. At Lunch Kent were 73-6 and in desperate need of both Live Aid and Band Aid from the old rocker, Darren Stevens.
Things though got no better after Lunch as “Fireball” Dexter bowled a double-wicket maiden, getting both Harry Podmore and Gavin Stewart and leaving Kent 78-8. In a match that that Kent could not afford to lose, their promotion bid seemed to be running out of oxygen with the summit in clear view. A third wicket for Raine and a wicket for Mohammed Abbas and Kent were 104ao and in desperate trouble, not half way through the first day. A quick response was needed and Harry Podmore took just two balls to clean-up Harry Dearden: 0-1 and this game was not making plans to go into a fourth day.
Darren Stevens added Ackerman and, at that point, had the extraordinary figures of 5.1-4-1-1, with Leicestershire 17-2 and struggling in turn. Paul Horton edged Thomas through to Sam Billings and it was 47-3. Mark Cosgrove fell LBW to Gavin Stewart: 51-4 and Kent right back in the match. Leicestershire though had Fireball Dexter and Ned Eckersley together: they put on 70 and got Leicestershire into the lead before Ivan Thomas bowled Dexter for 41: 121-5. Joe Denly came on late in the day and produced an expensive first over before getting Raine with the last ball of the day. Leicestershire have ended the day 149-6 and Kent can still hope to keep their first innings deficit under control.
Middlesex v Warwickshire
Middlesex won the Toss and batted in a must-win match on a track that looked full of runs. With pre-season expectations set so high: promotion and the knock-out phases of at least one of the Cups, as a minimum, this was a last chance for Middlesex to set down a real marker, as Gus Fraser indicates that there will be a major re-think about the playing staff this winter. Chris Woakes and Ryan Sidebottom returned for Warwickshire to give the home side’s batting a serious test, with Woakes immediately promoted from recovery in the 2nd XI to new ball duty. For Warwickshire, a win would leave them with one foot in Division One and just requiring a steady run-in to get promoted. For Middlesex, Sam Robson was out with a broken finger. Middlesex featured a new 1st XI coach whose influence was reflected in the choice of Stirling to open with Gubbins, with Holden dropped back #6. Stirling immediately launched into Woakes, who produced one jaffa and two very slightly short balls that were hammered to the boundary, suggesting that the batsmen may still have been in T20 mode. In the commentary box, Kevin Hand made an immediate check of the colour or the clothing and the ball on the field, concluding that this was, genuinely a County Championship match: given Middlesex’s lack of success in T20, one wondered if it was a sound strategy to use T20 techniques. Stirling whacked four boundaries in the first two overs before edging behind to the last ball of the second over. With Stirling’s dismissal, the game started to look more like four-day cricket again. Hannon-Dalby then game on and bowled a ball that snorted back in and castled Nick Gubbins. Chris Wright then removed Eskinazi to a catch by Jonathon Trott at First Slip. Middlesex were 53-3 and already in some difficulty.
Things rapidly got worse and the riches of 51-1 soon became 76-6 as Malan, Morgan, Simpson and Harris departed in swift succession. The good news for Middlesex though was that this brought in James Fuller, whose form for Middlesex 2nd XI and, latterly, for the 1st XI, should see him awarded a Superman cape rather than a County Cap. Although he was lucky to see Tim Ambrose drop him on 29, Fuller and Max Holden decided to take the attack to the bowlers and score runs while they were available. The result was a quick fifty-partnership and a switch in the balance. Finally, Max Holder tried one hit too many at Jeethan Patel and was LBW for 48 after a partnership of 86. Fuller though kept on his merry way going on to a 50 with 5x4 and 1x6. With Ollie Rayner back from loan and back in favour, batting at #10, Fuller found a solid partner in a ninth wicket partnership that earned the first batting point. As Fuller took a rest and let the Brighton Bradman, Ollie Rayner, take the lead, the fifty partnership came up in good time, before Rayner was adjudged caught behind off Wright for 28 and very unhappy with the decision.
Rayner’s dismissal brought in the Lambeth Lara and Tim Murtagh set off to show just why the fans call him that by joining Fuller in some swinging to push Middlesex towards what would have been a totally implausible second batting point. Finally, Fuller got a straight one from Hannon-Dalby and departed for a brilliant 71. Middlesex 236ao.
There were a few scares for Warwickshire when they batted but, in general, Middlesex bowled a little too short. James Harris though bowled a straight one at Sibley and pinned him to make it 20-1 and give the bowlers a lift. Ian Bell came in, hit two gorgeous fours and the Murtagh got him LBW with a ball that swung a little. 30-2 and game on! Rhodes and Trott – playing his last game at Lord’s? – batted solidly to the tune of an 88 run partnership before Rayner who, a fortnight earlier looked to have played his last game for Middlesex, pinned Trott LBW for 47. A second wicket came for Tim Murtagh when he got Tim Hain LBW for 16: yet another LBW on a day when there was an incredible quantity of LBWs around the country.
Warwickshire reached Stumps at 152-4, with the match in the balance.
Sussex v Glamorgan
This was the joker in the pack. With Sussex having got their promotion bid back on track, they played host to Glamorgan in a day-night match, knowing that Kent’s innings was in tatters before they started. Sussex won the Toss and batted. Salt and Wells added 73 for the first wicket, before Salt edged Hogan to ‘keeper, Cooke. Tom Haines came in and kept Luke Wells company, with Sussex going to Lunch at 114-1, Wells 48* and looking to make their decision to bat count.
The afternoon session, though, was a bad one for Sussex. From the riches of the lunchtime score they slipped to 171-6, squandering the opportunity to turn the screw. The rot started immediately after Lunch when Lukas Carey dismissed Haines for 18, without addition to the score. Harry Finch came in and acted as sleeping partner for Luke Wells: his contribution to a stand of 25 was a single. Hogan got him to another catch behind to wicket-keeper Cooke: 139-3 and some of the shine was going off the scorecard. Luke Wells was next to go, in Hogan’s next over, for 71 and Sussex had slipped to 140-4. Burgess was joined by captain Ben Brown, needing a partnership to steady the innings, but the former became the first of two victims for young Jeremy Lawlor, promoted from Glamorgan 2nd XI after some solid all-round performances and playing just his seventh First Class match. Burgess became the third catch for wicket-keeper, Cooke. In his next over, the same combination accounted for David Wiese for 2 and Sussex were 171-6 and sinking.
Ben Brown though was still there and Chris Jordan has considerable talent with the bat, even if he does not always use it. Together, they added 83 and brought up two batting points, with Jordan reining-in his attacking tendencies. The pair were turning around the day again, when Ben Brown fell to the off-spinner Andrew Salter for 49, giving Cooke his fifth catch of the day. Jordan, on 46, was joined by the hero of the Sussex win against Gloucestershire: Jofra Archer. Just four balls later, Jordan fell too, bowled by Hogan for 46 and 254-6 and dreams of 300+ had become 254-8. Hogan had 4-29 and, as so often this season, was holding together the Glamorgan attack with another heroic bowling performance, taking him to 28 wickets at 20.2 for the season. Ollie Robinson joined Joffra Archer with nearly 20 overs of the day remaining and Sussex struggling to see out the day.
Glamorgan took the new ball, hoping to finish off the innings quickly. It took Timm van ter Gugten just three balls to break though, dismissing Ollie Robinson for 6. With only Danny Briggs left, Archer was a model of self-denial, scoring off just 3 of his first 29 balls (and 5 of his first 47, although four of those scoring-shots were boundaries) as Danny Briggs cracked-on at the other end towards the third batting point. A boundary from Archer off Hogan brought up the 300 and three batting points: Sussex cannot afford to leave bonus points behind and were grateful for this unexpected last wicket stand. As the tenth wicket partnership pushed on towards fifty, Glamorgan were probably happy to keep the batsmen quiet rather than have to come out to bat for a few overs under lights, although there was no hint of the extreme behaviour of the ball that the Kent bowlers had found a few weeks earlier against Middlesex. Consecutive boundaries to Danny Briggs off Lukas Carey took Briggs to 40 and brought up the fifty partnership in what was no longer a nuisance stand and was becoming a major annoyance, with even a fourth batting point looming into view.
With two overs of the day remaining, Glamorgan were guaranteed not to have to bat, even if the last wicket fell and the major question became whether or not Briggs, scoring at better than a run-a-ball, could reach his fifty before Stumps. Archer played out a maiden to Hogan and the last over started, with Briggs on 46*. Sadly, for Briggs, he fell, first ball, to Lawlor – yet another LBW – and Sussex were all out for 327: fewer than they would have expected at Lunch, many more than seemed likely at Tea. Glamorgan will bat in the morning against a strong Sussex attack: this will be one of the decisive days of the Sussex season if they are to exploit Kent’s difficulties.
5/11/2018 0 Comments
By David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
Ball dominated bat on the opening day of the fifth game week of the Specsavers County Championship Division One season, no fewer than 39-wickets fell as the heat subsided and the cool air returned to give the bowlers a much-needed lift.
We’ll start with the leaders Nottinghamshire who endured their worst day since promotion after finding a rampant Lancashire side too hot to handle at Trent Bridge. An already talented Red Rose bowling attack was further bolstered by a fired up James Anderson keen to bounce back from a disappointing match last week against Somerset. With that in mind, Lancashire skipper Liam Livingstone used his right to do away with the toss and invited the hosts to have the first crack at batting. Jake Libby and Steven Mullaney negotiated Anderson’s first over fairly successfully but couldn’t see our Graham Onions’ first over unscathed as the former Durham man removed with Nottinghamshire skipper Mullaney with the penultimate ball of the 2nd over. The naggingly accurate pace duo continued to frustrate the Outlaws top order with runs very much a premium under the hazy Trent Bridge sky. Chris Nash and Libby plodded their way to 46-1 from eighteen and a half overs when Nash was finally put out of his misery departing gritty 18, Onions again the man with the breakthrough. In his very next over, the former England man struck for a third time, this time removing the dangerous Ross Taylor for a duck. Libby must have been watching at the other end of the wicket, thinking ‘come on chaps, this isn’t that hard’. He had moved on to a very patient 34 but must have been dreaming of a nice warm cuppa as he wafted at a ball from Jordan Clark and was snaffled at slip by Livingstone. That left the hosts in a spot of bother on 80/4 and in unfamiliar territory given their largely enjoyable return to the top flight. All that was left now from a Lancashire point of view was for James Anderson to join the wicket-taking party and he did just that striking twice in quick succession to remove Riki Wessels and Tom Moores with Samit Patel run out in between also to leave the hosts on 106/7 and in need of some Stuart Broad magic. After all, he has had the magic touch all week you only have to look at his football fantasy team to know that. The Nottinghamshire faithful were treated to a little 28-ball cameo from the England man but his 20 wasn’t enough to rescue an already sinking ship. Indeed, Tom Bailey finished off the tail and the hosts were dismissed for a disappointing 133.
Fifties for Keaton Jennings (52 not out) and Alex Davies (50) had seemingly given the visitors the upper hand, but a late fightback with the ball has meant that there is still work to do for the Red Rose as they look to finally capitalise on a good start to a County Championship fixture. They close day one with a lead of 24, on 157-4.
Ollie Pope’s blossoming career continued at the Oval as the youngster helped Surrey return back to the straight and narrow against Yorkshire. The Tykes enjoyed a promising start removing four of the top five before 70 was notched up on the scoreboard. That left the Surrey chairmen seeing if the ink had dried on that Virat Kohli contract and getting out the tipex to see if they can change the start date of his contract to today. Dean Elgar and Pope though began to calm the nerves in Surrey dressing room with good measured cricket shots as they slowly silenced an excitable Yorkshire fielding side. The duo shared an unbroken 50-run stand together before the White Rose were back off celebrating again as the South African departed for a well-made 61, England’s Joe Root acting as the golden arm again. Unprederbed though, Pope continued on his merry way slotting the ball away with ease and grace in front of the watching England captain, who would surely be impressed by the 20-year-old. The Londoner would need a partner though if he was going to help the Rey put a decent score on the board, and he finally found one in Rikki Clarke. The former Warwickshire man played a masterful counter charge act to offer the perfect support to Pope. Clarke and Pope took the score beyond 250 and towards 300 as the pair found the rope with alarming regularity. Pope had hit 22-fours in his unbeaten 131 at close, whilst Clarke had his 10 fours and 2 sixes during his entertaining 91-ball 71. Connor McKerr joined the Pope following Clarke’s departure and the young pair would take the hosts through to a dominant position at close at 366-7, a million miles away from the trouble they had previously found themselves in after lunch.
Elsewhere, Worcestershire enjoyed their best day of the season against Champions Essex at New Road. Bizarrely, given their batting fragility at the moment, Ryan ten Doeschate decided to chance his arm at having a toss seemingly forgetting the fact he could’ve just chucked an equally dodgy batting line-up into the cauldron. Instead, the South-African born Dutchman decided to have a bat in gloomy cold conditions in the Midlands. It would prove to be a fateful decision as the visitors never looked comfortable on a pitch that offered early movement. Indeed, only Alastair Cook looked remotely in control during his innings, but even he could only manage 37. The Essex batting line-up looks a shadow of the 2017 side that won by an innings quite frequently during their unbeaten Championship winning season. Tom Westley, who fought his way into the England Test side last year looks rustier than a nail that has been left in the rain too long, he will perhaps be pleased he reached double figures though after his wretched run of low scores. Of course, credit must be given to the Pears pace attack who piled the pressure on the visitors with some tight overs, and that pressure built to create plenty of errors from the Eagles batsmen. It is become a worrying norm to see players like Peter Siddle (playing his last game for the Eagles in this game week) and Simon Harmer digging the top order out of a hole. Again, the Australian added vital lower order runs making 29 to help the visitors to 177. Josh Tongue was the pick of the host's attack collecting four for 45 as the visitors fell short of expectation again. In quickly fading light the Pears easily survived 17-overs of Porter, Siddle and Cook to reach 47 without loss at the close as they enjoyed a very positive opening day.
Lastly, Somerset continued their fine early season form to gain the upper hand in their rain-affected opening day encounter with Hampshire at Taunton. Somerset skipper Tom Abell was the unlikely hero with the ball claiming 3-18 as the visitors crumbled to 198-8 at close. The part-time spin of Abell accounted for James Vince – who again failed to kick on after making another decent start, Joe Weatherley and Lewis McManus. Rilee Rossouw made a pleasing 38 as he slowly starts to return to form before becoming Dom Bess’ only wicket on the innings thus far. But it will be Abell who will be the happiest man in the West Country after collecting 3-wickets to help justify his decision to bowl first after Hampshire asked to have a toss at the County Ground.
5/6/2018 0 Comments
By Mark Kidger (@MarkFromMadrid)
The games at Old Trafford and The Oval are heading for the most tedious of draws, but events at Chelmsford have more than made up for them. As for Trent Bridge, a finish is on the cards, but there is still plenty of life in the game.
Only six times in Championship history has a side been bowled out for fifty or fewer in the first innings and won. The fans would have turned up at Chelmsford this more expecting a tight finish, after all, Essex were 97-4 and only needed 141 more to win, with two set batsmen at the crease. A tight finish threatened. What no one expected was that, after a steady start, they would implode in the most extraordinary way. Six overs were seen off, seventeen added. Suddenly, things went horribly wrong for Essex. Ben Coad got ten Doeschate and James Foster with the second and fifth balls of the 39th over and Harmer with the last ball of his next over. Then Steve Patterson took Dan Lawrence. 114-4 had become 114-8 and the match was all over bar the shouting (mainly expressed as fevered appeals). Although Siddle, Porter and Cook hung around for a while, the result was never in doubt. Yorkshire came back from being bowled out in a little over an hour on the first morning to win by the large margin of 91 runs and go top of the table, at least temporarily.
No such fun at Old Trafford, or at The Oval. Both games look set to end in the driest of dull draws. Surrey must have been licking their lips and be anticipating an easy win when they saw that Worcestershire would be coming. Reality though has been different. Worcestershire have passed Surrey’s 434 with something to spare and could yet get far enough ahead tomorrow to make Surrey bat for survival. Given though that the biggest danger to the batsman on this pitch is boredom, it will take something nigh on miraculous to produce a result. Worcestershire will begin the final day 469-6, 35 ahead and will be hoping to add enough runs to make Surrey at least a little nervous tomorrow.
At Old Trafford, any chance of a good finish tomorrow depended on Lancashire making a monumental score and being able to put some pressure on Somerset in the last two sessions. The good news for England was that Keaton Jennings took full advantage of the benign conditions to score an excellent century. He has been getting in recently, but not pushing on – trying too hard, perhaps? – but, today, it came right. In the company of Dane Vilas, who made the first double century of the season, they nullified the Somerset attack (perhaps “attack” was being generous here, with conditions so loaded in favour of the bat). They put on 201 together. At 431-5, Lancashire looked set for a big lead. An amazing collapse in the circumstances saw them fall to 443-9 before Clark and Parkinson added 49 for the last wicket. With no Marcus Trescothick, Renshaw opened with Davies and saw Somerset to 51-0 and near parity at the Close. It is now hard to see any way that there can be a result here.
At Trent Bridge, there should be a finish. Nottinghamshire batted far beyond the point at which there was any reason to do so, finally setting Hampshire 469 to win. Ross Taylor scored 83 in just 69 balls and the score mounted at an astonishing pace. Nottinghamshire batted in full T20 mode at the end of their innings and lost some wickets doing so, but they were set on enjoying themselves and did not care in the slightest about wickets. Tasked with surviving four and a half sessions, or a nominal 140 overs, Hampshire started well, but Nottinghamshire just needed a breakthrough. When Samit Patel, who finished the day with remarkable figures of 8-5-6-1, got Weatherley, Gurney added Jimmy Adams quickly and then Stuart Broad bowled a fine delivery to get James Vince cheaply. Amla and Wood hung on to the Close, but it will be a huge surprise if Nottinghamshire does not close this one out and leapfrog Yorkshire back into top spot.
5/4/2018 0 Comments
By Mark Kidger (@MarkFromMadrid) and Harry Hill (@HarryHill96)
It is Spring Bank Holiday weekend. The weather is nice. The rain is forgotten. Pakistan take on Ireland in their inaugural Test next week, before facing England. It is time for England’s stars to show that they are up for it and for suitors for the open positions at opener and at #3 to hammer helpless attacks into cringing submission. That at least is the theory. The practice was that the star opener of the day is a sprightly 42-year-old and that the England stars making hay in the Sun were a little in short supply.
We start at Chelmsford. Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Cheteshwar Puajar, Gary Ballance, Dan Lawrence, Tom Westley. Just tell the bowlers to take a couple of Aspirin before plays starts to dull the pain of a cricked neck caused by watching the ball whizzing past at great speed off broad bats. That was the theory. The reality was that the day looked more like a homage to the Marx Brothers’ classic “Duck Soup”. There was even, at one point, the very real possibility that the extra half hour could be requested to finish the game on the first day. Had it not been for Ballance’s 22 from 41 balls, Yorkshire could genuinely have lost in one day. Harry Brook went for the first duck of the day after nine balls of the morning. Adam Lyth, with seven Tests behind him, joined him back in the Pavilion pretty quickly. Joe Root took his cue from this and got a first-baller. None of them had troubled the scorer and Yorkshire were 9-3, all the runs to Pujara. Sam Cook had 3 wickets and the locals were rubbing their eyes. Pujara, who was obviously getting embarrassed by the length of his stay, rapidly joined the queue of batsmen at the door of the Pavilion. 27 balls. 11-4. Jonny Bairstow, who reportedly only had his first net of the season on Monday, also fell cheaply and surprise at the goings on was no longer sufficient: the members had to resort to astonishment. Six overs of – gosh! – sensible batting followed. Were Yorkshire going to dig in and scramble out of the mire? They reached 41-5 before the question was answered. The last five wickets fell in twenty-six balls for just nine runs. Yorkshire 50 all out and much consulting of the record books.
Surely Essex were going to return some equilibrium to the Force? After all, it was Star Wars day. Answer: no! Alastair Cook added his homage to the Marx Brothers (six balls, caught behind off Jack Brooks). Tom Westley may have fond thoughts of getting his England place back, but his innings, like Joe Root’s, was the shortest possible. In no time Essex were 12-3 and that Yorkshire total started to look like a decent score. The only batsman who seemed not to be in a hurry to get back and have a cup of tea and a chat with his teammates was Dan Lawrence, who even threatened to make a fifty. When Lawrence fell, the procession resumed. With more than forty overs of the day remaining, Essex were 93-7 and a result on the first day looked all too possible. Harmer and Siddle pushed the total up to 142. Yorkshire needed 92 to avoid the innings defeat. There were 31 overs left, plus the possibility of an extra 8. Let the fun begin! And it did, but suddenly it was the batsmen who were enjoying themselves. Jonny Bairstow was sent out to open and responded with 6x4 and 1x6 in a 44-ball 50. Harry Brook, demoted to #3, took his cue from that and Yorkshire knocked-off the deficit at quicker than a run-a-ball. We do not know what the batsmen were served at Tea, but it was certainly performance-enhancing. The bottom line is that Yorkshire lead by 62, with 8 wickets left and suddenly and bizarrely are on top. How often a side is dismissed for 50 in just over an hour and can end the day saying that is open to question. Heaven only knows what these two sides have planned for Day 2.
At Old Trafford it was definitely a batting day and what a hero to take advantage. Marcus Trescothick could well decide to call it a day if Somerset do not win the Championship this year but, if he does, he has shown that he still has runs in him. When Banger was an England regular, Jimmy Anderson was just getting established in the team. Today, he appeared on the pitch as a dyed blonde, possibly hoping to dazzle the batsmen into submission. Even if Matt Renshaw failed to score a century, Banger certainly had no intention of missing out. In the company of George Bartlett the batsmen set about the Lancashire attack, which was made to look pedestrian and helpless. What we did not know is that he had broken a bone in his foot in an awkward fall as he approached his century. Trescothick, who was in obvious pain, got those last few runs, before falling almost immediately to the leg-spin of Livingstone and heading straight off to hospital, where the break was confirmed. Hildreth missed out, but Bartlett went on his sweet way to his own century in company with the gloriously revived captain, Tom Abell. Lancashire were watching the overs ticking-down and beginning to wonder if they were going to get any more than the single bowling point that had been obtained by mid-afternoon. Two wickets in the last hour sweetened the medicine a little, but Somerset will certainly be hoping to obtain full batting points still. Oh yes… Jimmy Anderson ended with 0-70 and added his name to the list of England players who did not have the best of days. Somerset are making a fast start to the season and look to be real contenders for that Championship Pennant.
The Oval, in contrast, saw a day of more attritional play. Worcestershire’s start to the season has been dire and Surrey were in no mood to give anything away. with one exception (need one say that it was a candidate to open the batting in the 1st Test?) Rory Burns batted through the day for 137* and will come back tomorrow hungry for more. When anything happened for Worcestershire it was thanks to Barnard, Leach and Cox in differing combinations. Barnard ran out Stoneman for 28 – his second highest innings of the season so far, his best being 29 – Borthwick and Patel must be twins, both falling for 10 to catches by Cox off Leach, but Ben Foakes, one of the few England possibles to be scoring runs for fun, put on 125 with Burns before falling to the Cox/Barnard combo. With Ollie Pope bedding-in, there is a real danger of Worcestershire having to settle for a single bowling point in the morning. Surrey will hope to accelerate against a tiring attack and rub in their advantage. One thing that Worcestershire will not want is to spend five sessions in the field and concede well over 400, but that scenario looks more than likely right now. Worcestershire may be thinking fondly of how much easier life was in Division 2 last season and consoling themselves that another promotion bid lies in store in 2019. Surrey, in contrast, will be thinking of a 22-point win and getting themselves up into the jostling pack at the top of the table.
Last, but by no means least, the current leaders of Division 1, Nottinghamshire, can reflect on a thoroughly satisfactory day. At 27-3 in the seventh over, they would have settled gratefully for 302ao and three batting points. Their total was based on solid contributions from Ross Taylor (47), Samit Patel (73), Rikki Wessels (54), Tom Moores (29) and Stuart Broad (33), although it took one of those tenth wicket partnerships that drive opposing teams to distraction to add the third batting point, as Harry Gurney and Jake Ball added 27. What was remarkable is that the runs were scored at a fast rate and left Nottinghamshire plenty of time to go at Hampshire with the ball in the evening. While most of the England team and the possibles are having a fairly torrid time, Stuart Broad seems to be reborn. His form has definitely been the exception to the rule and he looks to be raring to go. 3-28, 38 & 1-17 v Worcestershire. Now, 33 with the bat and a fine new ball spell to put the skids under Hampshire and leave them 17-2. Broad has ended the day with figures of 7-3-19-2 and is currently averaging under 11 with the ball and 35 with the bat this season. Those figures won’t last, but the Stuart Broad of a few years ago seems to be back and loving playing cricket. We know how Stuart Broad saves his best for Pakistan and, yes, they are the first Test opponents that he will face. Luke Fletcher supported him well at the other end and, needless to say, another England hopeful, James Vince, his hapless victim. Scores of 75, 12, 6, 33, 47 & 5 make him one of the form England batsmen this season – arguably the only one and will probably earn him a place in the squad for the 1st Test, but today was definitely not his day with the bat. Amla and Rossouw have steadied the innings and taken the score from 23-3 at the fall of Vince, to 70-3 at the Close, but Nottinghamshire know that an early wicket will open-up an end with Liam Dawson at #6 and a long-looking tail. While the late partnership has evened things up, you cannot help thinking that, with the pace that this game is progressing, the win is there for Nottinghamshire if they want it.
Glamorgan V Kent
Allow me to briefly set the scene in Cardiff this morning, everything was calm, Nick Selman and Jack Murphy enjoyed a solid start with a 57 run partnership during the morning session, but the supporters in attendance at Sophia Gardens were unsuspecting of the drama that was about to unfold. After the lunch break, Kent stalwart Darren Stevens was a man possessed and on a mission, aided well by Matt Henry, 8 wickets fell in the first hour. Opening batsman Murphy was left stranded on 39 as Glamorgan fell to 94 all out. In overcast conditions, the Glamorgan batsman couldn’t read the movement that 42-year old Stevens achieved, as he finished on very impressive figures of 6-26. Without being too cheeky, one might wonder whether the Glamorgan batsman got a bit confused and thought the T20 Blast campaign started, falling inside just 15.3 overs after lunch. Perhaps with the surprise of getting out to bat so early in the day, the Kent batsman got off to a shaky start thanks to a good opening spell of bowling from Timm van der Gugten. Nevertheless, Kent skipper Joe Denly steadied the ship in a way the Glamorgan batsman failed to earlier in the day, sharing an important 78 run partnership with rising-star Zak Crawley. Not to be downhearted, van der Gugten soon got back to work, adding Stevens, Rouse and Henry to his scalps, finishing the day with 6-40. Harry Podmore offered some late resistance and is still at the crease with Ivan Thomas, with the spitfires closing on 163-9, 69 runs ahead of their hosts.
Durham v Leicestershire
A huge clash is taking place at Chester-Le-Street as last years’ bottom sides are looking for vital points to kick-start their respective seasons. Leicestershire’s opening batsman, Michael Carberry and Paul Horton got the Foxes off to a fantastic start with an opening partnership of 146, with the level of dogged resistance rarely seen this season. Durham skipper Paul Collingwood must have expected better from the likes of Chris Rushworth and Nathan Rimmington, who were unable to offer much threat with the new ball. Runs continued to flow after lunch with the introduction of Barry McCarthy and James Weighall into the attack. Carberry and Horton went on to make fifties alongside Mark Cosgrove, who were very patient in their attention of the Durham attack. In the final overs of the day, Durham were unable to find a 5th wicket that might open the match-up on day 2, as Mark Cosgrove returns to the crease with Lewis Hill on 66*. Leicestershire reached 301-4 at the close, with more Durham toiling in the field expected tomorrow.
Sussex v Middlesex
Middlesex’s blushes were sparred on the south coast today thanks to a fluent 84* from young Max Holden, who seemed to be the only batsman capable of facing Ollie Robinson in the form that he showed today. More top order woes will be a concern for Dawid Malan’s men, with Gubbins, Robson, the skipper himself and Cartwright all falling short of meaningful contributions. Despite this, full credit should go to Ollie Robinson, achieving career-best figures of 7-58 on a lively pitch at Hove. It could have been worse for Middlesex, had Sussex not dropped the three chances they created, although Stevie Eskinazi and Hilton Cartwright will be disappointed to have not punished such mistakes. At 169-8, and looking like missing out on any batting bonus points, Tim Murtagh added some useful late runs with Holden, as Middlesex finished on 230 all out. However, with the bat, Sussex were unable to capitalise on Robinson’s good work, thanks to some very tight bowling from Tim Murtagh in particular, who picked up the wickets of the opening pair of Luke Wells and Philip Salt. In honesty, it was difficult to see what Middlesex could achieve in the tricky 21 overs left in the day, but the Londoners will be delighted with the wicket of the dangerous Luke Wright towards the close. Sussex will return in the morning 60-4, with Harry Finch set on 26*, 170 runs behind.
5/3/2018 0 Comments
By David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
With the weather set fair, international star aplenty, it would be rude to not spend your Bank Holiday weekend at the cricket.
We’ll start at Chelmsford where perhaps the most intriguing battle of the game week will take place. Former England Captain Alastair Cook takes on his successor Joe Root as Essex take on Yorkshire at the Cloud FM County Ground. Root will be joined by fellow England internationals Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance to give the White Rose battling line-up a much-needed boost. The Tykes fell to a humbling defeat at Taunton last week with the batting desperately letting the visitors down so seeing the current England captain at the crease will be a welcome sight for the Yorkshire faithful.
Despite their 118-run defeat in the West Country in Game week three there were still some positives to take from their encounter, Ben Coad continued his fine form and another impressive display in the East of England will further boost his chances of gain a place in the England Test side, particularly after the news of Toby Roland-Jones season-ending injury. Indeed, he will be involved in the second interesting little battle that’ll take place in this fascinating clash. With Root, Cook, Bairstow, and Ballance on show in the same match you can be sure that new England selector Ed Smith will be in attendance and that gives both Coad and fellow England hopeful Jamie Porter the potential stage to shine on.
Cook impressive in Essex’s limited game-time in Southampton looking back to the sort of form we are used to seeing. The England opener struck a fluent 84 in the Eagles one-innings bonus point shootout draw with Hampshire. He will be keen to feel some sun on his back and continue to enjoy some time in the middle ahead of the summer tour starting this month. After seeing a complete washout in the reverse fixture both sides will be keen to avenge wasted time as they look to pinch vital points off each other and separate themselves from the bottom end of the league.
Essex remain unchanged with Porter, Harmer, Sam Cook and Peter Siddle tasked with upsetting the Yorkshire party, whilst Alastair Cook, Nick Browne, Tom Westley and Dan Lawrence will all be hoping to impress to watching England selectors.
For Yorkshire, as previously mentioned Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow come in to replace Alex Lees and Andrew Hodd.
Team News in full:
Essex: Ten Doeschate ©, Foster w/k, Beard, Bopara, Browne, Chopra, A.Cook, S.Cook, Harmer, Lawrence, Porter, Siddle, and Westley
Yorkshire: Ballance ©, Bairstow, Bresnan, Brook, Brooks, Carver, Coad, Leaning, Lyth, Patterson, Pujara, Root and Shaw
Weather watch: Largely sunny with highs of 23.
Where to follow: Live streaming service provided by Essex Cricket TV with Commentary from BBC Essex.
Elsewhere, perhaps the surprise package of the division, Somerset travel to Old Trafford looking to make it three wins on the spin. Many tipped the West Country boys to struggle but some shrewd arrivals have made all the difference early on in the season. The signing of Matthew Renshaw, in particular, appears to be inspired, the Australian, who was a late replacement for Cameron Bancroft has looked in great touch in early season and his magnificent pre-lunch century on the opening day against Yorkshire all but led the way to victory in tricky batting conditions. He, again will prove important for the visitors who’s batting has improved of late with Tom Abell and James Hildreth amongst the runs too. The bowling speaks for itself with the spin twins Dom Bess and Jack Leach always likely to cause problems even in these early season conditions being well backed up by some more than useful pacemen in the Overton brothers and Lewis Gregory.
Their hosts, however, have enjoyed a less than stellar start to the season, but they began to show signs of life during game week three, they finally remembered how to bat with half-centuries for Liam Livingstone, Shiv Chanderpaul, Steven Croft, Jordan Clark, Tom Bailey and Joe Meenie in their mammoth score of 439-9 declared against Surrey last week. There is still the worry that the top three (all tipped for relatively bright England futures) still struggling to make any serious runs but if they do start to fire there are signs that they can be the dangerous side everyone thought they would be. There bowling is probably their strong suit and it fired against a very strong Surrey batting line-up at Old Trafford failing an agonizing four-wickets short of victory as time caught up with them. The Red Rose bowling attack will be boosted further by the appearance of England bowling superstar James Anderson, the Lancashire faithful will be hoping the extra class of the Burnley express will help turn the frustrating draw against Surrey into a fabulous win against Somerset.
Team News in full:
Lancashire: Livingstone ©, Anderson, Bailey, Chanderpaul, Clark, Croft, Davies (w/k), Haseeb Hameed, Jennings, Mennie, Onions, Parry, Parkinson, Vilas
Somerset: Abell ©, Bartlett, Bess, Davies (w/k), Gregory, Groenewald, Hildreth, Leach, Overton, Renshaw, Trescothick, van Meekeren, van der Merwe
Weather watch: Largely sunny with highs of 22.
Where to follow: A live stream will be available with BBC Lancashire commentary.
Table toppers Nottinghamshire will be looking to stretch away from their visitors to Trent Bridge during game week four by collecting their third success of the summer when they face Hampshire. It is their first time on home soil this season and they will be hoping to prove that Don Topley’s comments about them being ‘lucky’ is a load of cobblers. Topley tweeted in the week that Nottinghamshire have been fortunate that the fixture gods were smiling on them having played away from home during their opening three games. Of course, there is some logic behind it, it has given them the opportunity to insert their opposition in every encounter in favourable April conditions but Topley’s comments were disrespectful nonetheless.
The Outlaws have adapted very well following their promotion back to the top flight and with players like Jake Ball and Harry Gurney in fine form, it is little surprise to see them sitting pretty at the top of the Championship after winning two from their first three games. They need more from their batting line-up though to help their talented bowling attack as they cannot keep relying on being ‘got out of jail’ by the likes of Ball, Gurney and Fletcher.
It will be interesting to see how they fair back in familiar surrounding and how they will react to being asked to bat first against a very talented Hampshire bowling attack.
For Hampshire, they will just be hoping for some sunshine after freezing during their weather-affected encounter with Essex last week. Images circulated around Social Media of a very cold looking Hashim Amla donning a woolly hat and about 18 sweaters.
They have enjoyed an indifferent season with one win, a loss and a draw from their opening three fixtures of the season. They will be without Sam Northeast again who is continuing his recovery from a broken finger suffered whilst practising slip catching prior to their match last week.
In the cricket that was played in their one-innings bonus point frenzy against the Eagles, they looked decent. Runs from Amla, Jimmy Adams and Kyle Abbott propelled them to 351/7 against what is thought to be one of the stronger bowling attacks in the division. They also enjoyed some success with the ball before Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara stemmed the momentum the hosts had built up when they had reduced Essex to 61/3.
It is widely expected that Hampshire will start this encounter in the Midlands with an unchanged team, whilst Nottinghamshire have Stuart Broad still available in a team that will also likely to be unchanged from their stunning 5 session success over struggling Worcestershire.
Team News in full:
Nottinghamshire: Jake Libby, Chris Nash, Steven Mullaney (c), Stuart Broad, Riki Wessels, Harry Gurney, Matt Milnes, Luke Fletcher, Samit Patel, Tom Moores (w/k), Ross Taylor, Jake Ball, Billy Root.
Hampshire: Adams, Wood, Dawson, Vince, McManus, Weatherley, Amla, Rossouw, Abbott, Edwards, Wheal, Berg and Sole
Weather watch: Largely sunny with highs of 22.
Where to follow: A live stream with BBC radio commentary will be available through TrentBridge.co.uk
Lastly, Worcestershire travel to London looking to show they are worthy to be in the top flight after a woeful start to their season.
Following promotion from the Second Division the Pears have suffered a defeat in five sessions to Nottinghamshire, and two heavy defeats to Somerset and Hampshire respectively. It is safe to say this isn’t the dream return the Midlanders had hoped for. Just when they would have been looking for some kind of respite they travel to the Oval to face a Surrey side sure to be on the buzz after the news broke of Virat Kohli’s impending arrival in June. Kohli will add to an already stacked side that will be sure to cause Worcestershire all sorts of bother. A bowling attack that will be keen to make amends following a disappointing display by their high standards last week against Lancashire. The batting is more than solid with Ben Foakes in the form of his life as he eyes an England call-up and young Ollie Pope also impressing with the willow.
Perhaps the most exciting prospect coming out of Surrey at the minute though is Amar Virdi. England have been crying out for a genuine turner of the ball and in Virdi they hope they have found their man. The right-arm off break bowler is currently the ‘Reys top wicket-taker with 8 and has already been likened to Monty Panesar thanks to his elaborate celebrations. He is another man that Worcestershire’s fragile batting line-up will have to look out for.
The Pears much break the 250 mark at the bare minimum as they have far too frequently been blown away by sides, to give themselves any hope of victory in this one they will have to hope they bowl out Surrey cheaply and capitalise on one of the best batting tracks in the country. This is the opportunity Joe Clarke has been crying out for as he looks to stake a claim for a chance in the England set-up.
Team news in full:
Surrey: Burns, Batty, Borthwick, Clarke, Curran, S. Dernbach, Foakes, Mckerr, Meaker, Patel, Pope, Stoneman and Virdi
Worcestershire: Mitchell, D’Oliveira, Fell, Clarke, Head, Cox (w), Barnard, Leach ©, Tongue, Morris, Magoffin and Twohig
Weather watch: Largely sunny with highs of 25.
Where to follow: Live stream on the Surrey cricket website with live BBC London radio commentary.
7/1/2017 0 Comments
Alex Hales struck a stunning unbeaten century to guide Nottinghamshire to a four-wicket success over Surrey to become the first county to pick up silverware in 2017.
The England one-day opener struck 20 fours and four sixes on his way to a record-breaking unbeaten 187 as the Outlaws chased 297 to win the Royal London One-Day Cup on a warm day at Lords.
In front of a large Nottinghamshire following at the Home of Cricket, Hales shared 137 for the sixth wicket with Nottinghamshire stalwart and leader Chris Read to seal a memorable win for the Trent Bridge based county.
Having chased a mammoth 370 to reach the final against Essex a couple of weeks ago, the Outlaws wouldn’t have been too disappointed to be invited to bowl first by Gareth Batty at the toss.
But the Surrey opening pair of Jason Roy and Mark Stoneman appeared to have vindicated that decision to bat first by reaching 74-0 inside the first 10 overs. Roy, who has been struggling for form in recent months had his blushes spared after Riki Wessels dropped an edge from the first ball of the match at first slip. To further add to the frustration for the sizable Nottinghamshire supporters at Lord’s, Steven Mullaney dropped a sitter at extra cover of Stoneman after Harry Gurney invited the Surrey man into a lofty drive in the 8th over.
Despite this, the Notts bowlers couldn’t quite find the right line, with Luke Fletcher and Harry Gurney offering too much width outside the off stump, which was punished by the left-hander Stoneman in particular. It took Samit Patel to halt the Surrey pair when Roy attempted to play against the spin into the leg side; an outside edge found Mullaney at mid-off and the England man returned to the hutch with a breezy 23 to his name. Kumar Sangakkara looked set for a big score on 30 before he nicked a ball off Mullaney to Notts’ keeper Read, who was standing up to the stumps. Patel and Mullaney offered the most threat, as Scott Borthwick fell for 14 after playing a pull shot to midwicket of Patel. Wickets kept falling around Stoneman as Ben Foakes and 19-year-old Ollie Pope both went early, shifting the momentum to Notts as Surrey went from 83-1 to 180-5. Stoneman reached a glorious ton, finishing on 144*, to hold the innings together. Surrey though could only add 71 runs in the last 10 overs, finishing with 297-9.
Alex Hales was the star man with the bat for Nottinghamshire in reply; it could have been very different had Ollie Pope held onto a drive at extra cover when Hales was on 9 in the 2nd over. Sam Curran found the pads of Michael Lumb with a full and straight ball to fall leg before for 21. Wessels was next to go after Ravi Rampaul nipped one back into the right-hander down the slope for just 6. Hales carried on regardless, with little concern for the bowling figures of any Surrey bowler, with a collection of superbly balanced front foot cover drives when width was on offer. After Patel was caught at deep fine leg taking on a short ball, both Brendon Taylor and Steven Mullaney fell, leaving Hales and Notts skipper Chris Read in a precarious position with the score at 150-5. With immense calmness, a partnership was finally built, and by the time Read fell for 58, the match was all but won. James Pattison had the honour of scoring the winning run, handing the One-Day Trophy back to Trent Bridge for the first time since 2013, as Hales finished on 183*. It was a fitting tribute to soon retiring Notts skipper Chris Read, but give a thought to Surrey’s Mark Stoneman, who in a similar fashion to Hales played his part in a superbly captivating contest.
By Harry Hill (@HarryHill96)
Despite the sun finally appearing in game week four of the County Championship, early rain in the week meant only one result was achieved on final days action.
In the Rose's match, Peter Handscomb struck a memorable quick-fire century but it was all in the name of entertainment as the match had petered to a draw long before the Australian smashed Lancashire to all parts of Old Trafford. In truth, the moment Ryan McLaren (84) and Stephen Parry had taken the hosts passed the follow-on total this game was as good as confirmed as a share of the spoils. McLaren, Simon Kerrigan (59) and Tom Bailey (40) had some fun in the Manchester sun though to boost the Red Rose passed 400 and put the hosts in a no lose position. Indeed, it left Lees and Handscomb the task of entertaining the sparse crowd with some hard hitting. Lyth missed out on the fun after seeing his stumps disturbed by Kerrigan for nine to become the only man to fall. Handscomb rushed to his ton though seemingly wanting to get an early dart back to Headingley smashing 12-fours and a six during his 77-ball stay at the crease. Lees meanwhile was slightly more sedate striking eight-fours and a six in his unbeaten knock of 62. All that was left was for the Australian to pick up his Roses ton and shortly after he raised his bat, the players shook hands and trudged off with a share of the spoils. The visitors finished on 177/1 picking up nine points whilst Lancashire claimed 10.
Another century maker was veteran opener Marcus Trescothick, the former England opener single-handedly saved the game for Somerset as Warwickshire finally showed signs of life in this Championship Campaign. In this rain-affected encounter, the hosts began the final day in a spot of bother on 94/4 with all hopes hanging on Somerset's favourite son. And Tresco didn't disappoint, the hard-hitting opener struck eleven fours on his way to a vital century but he couldn't save his side from avoiding the follow-on with only Peter Trego (52) offering any sort of support. Grant Thornton (4-34) and the ever-reliable Rikki Clarke (3-29) were the picks of the Warwickshire attack as the visitors dismissed their hosts for 230, and then promptly invited the West Country club to bat again in the hope for an unlikely success on the road. That hope was boosted when they struck early through Sukhjit Singh, but that man Trescothick stood firmly in their way. The opener finished unbeaten on 46 as he and skipper Tom Abell (35 not out) steadied the ship to ensure the points would be shared in Taunton.
In Division Two, Worcestershire skipper Joe Leach was the hero for the Pears as they hurried to a final day success over Derbyshire. Leach took 5-32 as the hosts were dismissed for a paltry 98 on a final day collapse that the Derbyshire faithful would sooner forget. Shiv Thakor (4-45) and Jeevan Mendis (4-98) had earlier rushed through the Worcestershire middle order to ensure the visitors didn't run away with the game as the Pears declared on 415/9. The clatter of wickets in the morning session was a sign of things to come as Derbyshire never threatened to save the game, Their top order was blown away by Ed Barnard and Leach as they slumped to 18/4 before collapsing further to a shocking 59/8 with skipper Leach running through the middle order quickly. Only the unlikely duo of Tony Palladino (28) and Tom Taylor (9) offered any real long-term resistance but they could only lead the total to two shy of a team hundred as Nathan Lyon finished the match off removing Palladino to take the Pears to an innings and 42-run success on a memorable final day for the visitors.
The other two finished encounters ended in a draw with Kent and Leicestershire, and Nottinghamshire and Glamorgan forced to share the spoils.
In Cardiff, Chris Cooke and Colin Ingram batting all day to rescue the hosts an unlikely draw the jaws of defeat. The duo met at the crease last evening with the total on 194/5 with the Outlaws looking likely to wrap up yet another innings success. But Cooke and Ingram had other ideas as they guts and gritted their way through the final day. The pair both made deserved centuries with Ingram finishing on an unbeaten 155 hitting 14-fours during his mammoth 427-ball stay at the crease, whilst Cooke struck 17-fours and a six in his unbeaten 113. It was a heroic effort from the pair who shared 226-runs for the sixth wicket to frustrate the visitors as England's Stuart Broad went wicketless.
Meanwhile, Darren Stevens struck another century to continue his fine early season form as Kent drew at Grace Road with Leicestershire. The veteran all-rounder struck exactly 100 before falling to Tom Wells. His innings included 15-fours and a six in a typically aggressive knock which was hit at more than a run-a-ball. He was well supported by wicket-keeper Adam Rouse who reached a fifty before falling just ten runs later. Matt Coles (56 not out) and James Tredwell (55) added some late runs to ensure the Spitfires were in a position where they couldn't lose the game. But in reality but for a freak occurrence the draw was almost the most likely outcome. The experienced Paul Horton ensured that there would be no late scares by making a patient and assured 40 before becoming the first man to fall with the score on 57. The fall of Harry Dearden for 17 signalled the end of the game as the players shook hands and called it a day with the points shared.
In the only ongoing game in game-week four, Sussex took control of their encounter with Durham at Hove following a stunning double century from Luke Wells. The Sussex top-order batsman shared a massive 376-run third wicket stand with Stiaan Van Zyl as the hosts began to bat their Northern visitors out of the game. Van Zyl struck a century of his own to close Day Two unbeaten on 144 hitting 15-fours and a six as Durham toiled in the South Coast sunshine. And nobody enjoyed the sunshine more that Wells who smashed 34-fours and seven sixes on his way to a career-best 258 as he helped the hosts to a 452/4 at close on the second day a lead of 165. Durham will hope for early wickets on the third morning if they have any chance of salvaging anything from their trip to the coast.
N.B. Middlesex v Surrey report at the bottom of Cricky's brilliant column on Kumar Sangakkara.
Reports are written by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
4/10/2017 0 Comments
Some dodgy batting, brilliant bowling, stunning fielding and cracking sunshine welcomed the County Championship season back. We saw five centurions, eight ‘Michelle’ five-fers and three sub one hundred innings scores during a dramatic opening game week.
In Division One, Hampshire stunned bookies favourites Yorkshire by securing a well-deserved four-wicket success. The South Coast county's achievement is all the more impressive given the fact Craig White’s men were 132-runs adrift on the first innings after Ben Coad starred with the ball for the Tykes in taking 6-37 to help dismiss the visitors for just 141. That was after the host made 273 with Gary Ballance top scoring with 120. The game changed on a sixpence when Hampshire’s new arrival Kyle Abbott used all his international experience to collect brilliant figures of 7-41 to give the visitors a genuine sniff of victory as the hosts were skittled out for 187. That left Hampshire with 320 to win with a day and bit to spare, and they got off to the best possible start with Michael Carberry fresh from his successful battle against cancer and Jimmy Adams sharing 91 for the opening stand before Coad removed the former England man for 41. Adams though remained patient and vigilant in his task going on to top score with 72 finding support from skipper James Vince and sharing 69 before falling leg before to Azeem Rafiq. His demise brought to the crease another debutant in Rilee Rossouw who struck eight fours in his 47. He shared just 16 with Vince though who fell to Coad for 44, that wicket gave Yorkshire some hope and that hope turned into belief when Tim Bresnan removed Sean Ervine (8) just five overs later to leave the visitors on 195/4 still 125 behind. England’s Liam Dawson joined Rossouw and the pair went about their work with a mixture of aggression and patience to take the visitors towards the winning line before the South African edged through to Hodd off the bowling of Bresnan with the total on 252. Still requiring a further 69 the visitors knew work was still to be done. Young wicketkeeper Lewis McManus was the man to join the pressure cooker alongside the experienced Dawson. And that pressure went up a notch when Dawson was magnificently caught and bowled by Bresnan for 37. But that was to be the final success for the hosts as Gareth Berg and McManus coolly guided the visitors to victory with an important 58-run stand. Berg sealed the win in style with a six off Coad to secure an unlikely success.
At the Oval, Mark Stoneman enjoyed a memorable Surrey debut as he starred with the bat to help his new club to an innings and one run victory over Warwickshire. The former Durham man struck a stunning century to guide the hosts to 454, hitting 24 fours and a six on his way to 165 to comfortably top score. Rory Burns and Kumar Sangakkara (both 71) also played their part in running the Warwickshire bowling attack ragged. Credit must go to Chris Wright who stuck to his task manfully to grab a five-wicket haul finishing with figures of 5-113. Their tiredness showed when they strode out to bat, losing five batsmen for a duck as they stumbled to an embarrassing 91 all out on a pitch that offered little to the bowlers, or so it seemed. Mark Footitt, who struggled in his maiden season in London, made up for all that disappointment with a stunning six-wicket haul to rip through the Bears top order including the key wickets of Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell both falling without score. To nobodies surprise with a mammoth lead of 363 to their name Surrey asked their visitors to bat again. The Bears were in immediate trouble again in their second innings as they threatened to fold like a pack of cards for a second time falling two down for just 37-runs. That brought two former England men together at the crease and they were determined to make up for lost time after both failing to trouble the scorers in the first innings. They were key to any chances of a miracle for the visitors and they shared a century stand before Ian Bell (64) fell soon after reaching his half-century to a moment of brilliance from that man Stoneman again who produced a stunning slip catch to remove the former England number three. A mini collapse ensued as Jade Dernback removed Sam Hain (3) before Thomas Curran took the wickets of Tim Ambrose (0) and Rikki Clarke (8) in quick succession, but Trott continued on his merry way and completed his century to remind everyone of his class. He, alongside Keith Barker (57) frustrated the Londoners for 42-overs sharing a stand of 124-runs in the process before Barker was trapped leg before by the evergreen Gareth Batty. Curran continued to impress with the ball collecting the wicket of Jeetan Patel (29). But the vital wicket of Trott – who by now had reached a brilliant 151 went to Footitt who had the Warwickshire number three caught by Dom Sibley. They were in sight of making the ‘Rey’ bat again and save themselves the embarrassment of an innings defeat but they fell an agonising one-run short when Wright was bowled by Curran (4-88) for 8 as Surrey wrapped up a comprehensive win before lunch on the final day.
Finally, at Chelmsford, Dan Lawrence struck a match-saving 141 not out to guide Essex to an unlikely opening game draw on their return to Division One against Lancashire. In a topsy-turvy game in sunny Essex, the hosts enjoyed a positive start on their opening day back into the top flight as they had their Red Rose counterparts in a spot of bother on 160/6 with Jamie Porter (2-64) and Aaron Beard (3-47) impressing on their maiden forage into Division One cricket. Porter got the ball rolling post-lunch with the key wicket of England hopeful Haseeb Hameed who had looked untroubled until the fair-haired seamer knocked back his stumps to leave the visitors on 118/3. Skipper Steven Croft who had shared 68-runs with Hameed soon fell after for 48 giving Simon Harmer his first scalp in an Eagles shirt. And when Ryan McLaren fell first ball Essex would’ve been dreaming of removing the visitors for a below-par score after losing the toss and being asked to bowl on a flat looking Chelmsford wicket. But debutant Dane Vilas (74) frustrated the Eagles alongside Jordan Clark (24) and Steven Parry (19) before becoming the ninth man to fall with the score on 268. Essex were left to rue a last wicket stand of 51 between James Anderson and Kyle Jarvis who guided the Red Rose beyond 300. Jarvis (28) was the last to fall caught by Chopra off the bowling of Neil Wagner (3-100) but by then the visitors had reached a respectable total of 319 a total that proved too hot to handle for the hosts who suffered a baptism of fire on their batting return to the top-flight being dismissed for just 159 with only really Dan Lawrence (37) and Ravi Bopara (46) threatening to trouble a decent Lancashire bowling attack. Lancashire declined the opportunity to put Essex in again, and that proved to be a wise call with Alex Davies (140 not out) and Vilas (92) putting Essex to the sword once more to leave the hosts with little chance of victory. Croft’s men declared just before tea on the third day in the hunt for some late wickets before having a real go on the final day. They did snare two with Chopra (29) and Nick Browne (18) falling before close. The hosts knew they faced an uphill battle on the final day, but they enjoyed a promising start to the final day with academy pair Dan Lawrence and Tom Westley both reaching half-centuries to guide Essex through to lunch unscathed. Westley, who harbours England hopes looked assured and didn’t offer a chance before being bowled by Parry for a well-made 61. But it was 19-year-old Lawrence who was really stealing the show at the other end as he showed maturity beyond his years to bat with great grit and determination to thwart everything thrown at him by a skilful Lancashire attack that included Jimmy Anderson and Kyle Jarvis. Despite wickets falling around him with Bopara and Wheater falling cheaply the youngster remained calm at the crease and completed a magnificent century coming off 216-balls. The late loss of skipper Ryan ten Doeschate threatened to throw a late spanner in the works but Lawrence - who by now had been at the crease for eight-hours, ensured Essex grabbed a vital opening day draw with some gritty resistance from partner Harmer. Essex finished on 316/6 with the 19-year-old unbeaten on 141.
In Division Two, no game reached the final day as Northampton breezed past Glamorgan by an innings and 22 runs inside three days, Kent thrashed Gloucestershire by 334-runs and Nottinghamshire made a statement on their return to the second tier with a routine 10-wicket success.
Northampton took just two days to defeat their Welsh visitors with Rory Kleinveldt starring with both bat and ball to ease his side to a comprehensive success. The South-African born all-rounder took 3-35 as the Steelbacks dismissed Glamorgan for just 101 after the visitors had won the toss and elected to bat. Kleinveldt wasn't finished there though and with the hosts struggling on 170/6 the experienced Northamptonshire stalwart top scored with 86 to guide his side to a useful 310, a lead of 209. That proved to be more than enough as Glamorgan’s batting frailties reared their ugly head again as Ben Sanderson (4-31) and the brilliant Kleinveldt (3-54) combined again to do the damage as the Welshmen struggled their way to 187 all out, 22-runs short of the Steelback’s first innings total.
Red-hot promotion favourites Nottinghamshire flexed their muscles to secure a comfortable ten-wicket success over Leicestershire. James Pattinson, fresh from getting off the plane from Australian showed no signs of jet lag as he produced a cracking all-round display to ensure Nottinghamshire would ease to success. Pattinson took 3-55 as Leicestershire were dismissed for 251 in their first innings with Ben Raine (55*) and Mark Cosgrove (57) in the runs for the Foxes. The Australian then showed that he is no mug with the bat either sharing a 122-run eighth wicket partnership with England’s Stuart Broad (52). Pattinson ended the innings unbeaten on 89 to top score for the visitors who were dismissed for 329. Honours just about even you would think, but Pattinson and Luke Fletcher (4-35) had other ideas as the duo combined to blow the Leicestershire batting line-up away. The hosts were dismissed for a paltry 81 with the impressive Pattinson finishing with figures of 5-29. That left Nottinghamshire with the simple task of getting three runs. A task emphatically finished off by Greg Smith who thwacked the winning runs for six to give the Outlaws a winning start in Divison two whilst defeat further compounds the Foxes' misery following their 16-point deduction.
Finally, at Canterbury, Kent secured a comfortable win over Gloucestershire after dramatic post-lunch day three session brought a quickened end to the game. The Bristol-based club’s batting frailties let the visitors down in both innings as the hosts eased to a mammoth 334-run success. Joe Denly struck a half-century in both innings to help the hosts to respectable scores of 298 in the first innings and 246 in the second. Liam Norwell was the pick of the Gloucestershire attack in both innings taking match figures of 8-105, but he was badly let down by his batsmen. Indeed, the visitors fell straight behind the eight-ball by being dismissed for just 149 in their first effort of the season with the bat Chris Dent the only man to offer any sort of resistance top scoring with 67. That below-par score left the visitors chasing an unlikely 396 to win. Then utter madness occurred after lunch on day three as the evergreen Darren Stevens (6-22) and Kent new boy James Harris (3-26) tore through the Gloucestershire line-up to dismiss the visitors for just 61 to give Kent a massive opening game win.
Reports by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu on twitter)
4/6/2017 0 Comments
Division Two kicks off tomorrow with an unfamiliar face set to line up in the second tier for the first time in ten years as Nottinghamshire fresh from their shock relegation from Division One face Leicestershire at Grace Road.
Leicestershire has just been hit by the news that they will start life in Division Two in minus digits after being hit by a 16-point penalty for breaching ECB rules regarding obscene language and/or gestures made by skipper Charlie Shreck during a recent university fixture against Loughborough. It is a blow for the Midlanders who will now be immediately on the back foot as they face the toughest looking side in the Division on the opening day. Leicestershire, have been quiet over the winter but have recently recruited batsman Colin Ackerman to bolster their batting ranks ahead of their opening game against the Outlaws. The Foxes are blessed with experience with the bat with Mark Pettini, Paul Horton and Michael Cosgrove all in their thirties, it will be key those three alongside the newly signed Ackerman score in abundance for the Midlanders to spring a surprise or two this summer, but they will have to do without their skipper Cosgrove as he will have to sit out following the incident that occurred last week. With the ball, they loss of Shreck will hit them hard as he faces a spell on the sidelines he is a reliable seamer who has a history of picking up wickets with the new ball, much will rely on the all-round expertise of Ben Raine and the experiences Clint Mckay as they look to shock Nottinghamshire at Grace Road.
For Nottinghamshire, they are rightly the red hot favourites for promotion back to the top-flight, and this game will be the perfect spring board to kick start their season in style. They are blessed with talent with Stuart Broad, new overseas signing James Patterson and Harry Gurney all ready to let rip with the ball in hand. Their batting isn’t bad either with Alex Hales, Chris Read, Michael Lumb and Riki Wessels all more than capable of making 1,000 runs this year. You would expect them to be strong and new coach, former England coach Peter Moores at the helm you would also expect them to be tactically strong too. I expect them to overpower Leicestershire and stroll to a routine win in the East Midlands.
Weather watch: Friday: cloudy with highs of 13, Saturday: Sunshine with highs of 16, Sunday: Sunshine with highs of 20, and the final day will be played under cloudy skies with highs of 11.
Toss Prediction: I suspect Notts will look to bat Leicestershire out of the game and seek an innings win, so Nottingham to bat first if they win the toss.
Match odds: Leics: 11/5, Draw: 0/1. Notts: 4/9
Team news in full:
Leics (from): Cosgrove (capt), Ackermann, Ali, Chappell, Dearden, Eckersley, Griffiths, Hill, Horton, McKay, Pettini, Raine, Wells.
Notts (from): Read (capt), Broad, Fletcher, Gurney, Hales, Hutton, Libby, Lumb, Moores, Patel, Pattinson, Read, Smith, Wessels.
Whilst, Nottinghamshire may be favourites for promotion another team who may have a say in that matter are Kent, who face Gloucestershire at Canterbury in their opening match of the season. True to the current County set-up at the minute, the Spitfires too have a new coach in former Kent and Essex batsman, Matt Walker. Walker has assembled a side packed full of local talent and experience as he looks to put a promotion on his coaching CV. There is no doubting that he has the batting at his disposal with future England star Daniel Bell-Drummond set to open the batting alongside former England opener Joe Denly, with skipper Sam Northeast coming in at three, on paper, it looks to be a strong top order at this level. With the ball, they have the wily old hands of Darren Stevens and James Tredwell alongside the pace of Mitch Claydon and James Harris – who joined from Middlesex on loan last week. It is a strong side, and one that should they hit their straps will be the surprise package of the summer
For Gloucestershire, our friends at GlosFans on Twitter has informed us in our preview that they don’t hold much hope for a promotion but they do have some handy players that will cause the Spitfires some problems in game week one. Phil Mustard, who arrived permanently in the winter will captain the side and if his batting is anything to go by you can expect some explosive captaincy from the wicket-keeper batsman. He is just one of many dangerous players Kent must watch out for, in Liam Norwell, they have a prized bowling asset at Division Two level and David Payne and Craig Miles are also dangers with the ball. Chris Dent is the run getter having scored 1000 runs last summer and he will be key not only in this match but also for the entire season.
This fixture will be tight with the strong possibility of a draw.
Weather watch: Friday: Dark clouds with highs of 12, Saturday: light clouds with highs of 13, Sunday: Sunshine with highs of 18, and the final day will be played under light clouds with highs of 13
Toss: Gloucestershire will look up to the heavens and take the option to bowl first as the away side.
Match Odds: Kent: 5/8, Draw: SP/1, Glos: 11/8
Teams in full:
Kent: 17 Sam Northeast (c), 23 Daniel Bell-Drummond, 6 Joe Denly, 9 Joe Weatherley, 42 Will Gidman, 3 Darren Stevens, 10 Alex Blake, 12 Adam Rouse (wk), 26 Matt Coles, 15 James Tredwell, James Harris, 8 Mitch Claydon.
Glos: 15 Chris Dent, 43 Cameron Bancroft, 4 Will Tavare, 12 Graeme van Buuren, 21 George Hankins, 28 Ian Cockbain, 19 Phil Mustard (c, wk), 10 Jack Taylor, 34 Craig Miles, 14 David Payne, 24 Liam Norwell, 23 Craig Liddle, Oliver Currill.
The final fixture of this Division Two game week sees Northamptonshire take on Glamorgan.
It is not often that Northampton has a player in the Wisden’s top five players of the year, but in Ben Duckett, they have a star in the making. Duckett may have struggled in the winter during his brief foray with the England squad but there is little doubt the hard-hitting opener will get his chance with the three lions again in the near future. For now, though it is about doing the business for his beloved Northants, it is testament to his loyalty that the much talked about top order batsman has remained a Steelback when he could’ve sealed a move to a top-flight county with ease. But Division One’s loss is Northampton’s gain and they will once again rely heavily on his runs if they are to seriously challenge for promotion this year. He will need assistance though and in Josh Cobb and Alex Wakely they have player capable of making runs, it is with the ball you fear they may struggle with this summer, a look at the squad list for this fixture shows you that only really Ben Sanderson (who burst onto the scene last season) and new signing Nathan Buck strike any fear into a side.
Looking at Glamorgan’s squad for this fixture tells you why many aren’t expecting them to have a spectacular season, it’s a team mixed with youth and experience but one that doesn’t really strike you as a team that will threaten. There is potential with Donald and De Lange as well as the upcoming Harry Podmore, but the loss of Timm Van Der Gugten will hit them hard. They may trouble Northampton but there are far stronger outfits than the Welsh contingent of the County Championship.
Weather Watch: Friday: Cloudy with highs of 12, Saturday: Sunny with highs of 16, Sunday: Sunny with highs of 20, and the final day will be played under white clouds with highs of 11.
Toss: Glamorgan to take the option of bowling.
Match odds: Northants: 4/5, Draw: 0/1, Glam: 6/5
Teams in full:
Northants: Buck, Cobb, Duckett, Holden, Kleinveldt, Levi, Newton, Rossington (w/k), Wakley ©, White, Sanderson
Glam: Rudolph (c), Selman, Lloyd, Ingram, Cooke, Donald, Carlson, Meschede, Morgan, Salter, De Lange, Carey, Podmore
Previews by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
7/2/2016 0 Comments
Sunday sees first meet second in Division Two as well as being dubbed the Battle of the Bridge at Chelmsford, leaders Kent will look for their first victory of the season over the Eagles having fallen to defeat at the Essex County Ground in both the T20 Blast and the Royal London One-Day Cup. The hosts welcome England skipper Alastair Cook back into their side as they look to return to winning ways and back to the summit of the Division Two table.
For Kent, South African seamer Kagiso Rabada makes his first Championship appearance as the Spitfires strengthen their bowling ranks as they look to tighten their grip on the singular promotion spot.
Elsewhere, in Division Two fellow promotion hopefuls Worcestershire are in action against the much-improved Leicestershire at New Road with both sides looking to close the gap on the top two.
In Division One, bottom of the table Hampshire travel north to Durham looking for a second win that could see them climb out of the wooden spoon spot. The visitors will be without their inspirational skipper James Vince who is away with England.
Meanwhile, in the picturesque setting of Scarborough, second-placed Yorkshire take on title rivals Middlesex looking to close the gap on Red Rose rivals Lancashire who face Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. The Outlaws will look to get their season back on track with victory and their hopes will be boosted by the arrivals of Imran Tahir and the returning England man Stuart Broad.
As always, View from the Outfield will bring you everything you need to know ahead of Sunday’s action below with squad news, weather, and match odds as the Championship season reaches the halfway point.
Durham v Hampshire:
Where? Riverside, Chester-Le-Street
When? 3rd – 6th July 2016 @ 11am
Durham: P7, W2, L0, D7 (4th)
Hampshire: P7, W1, L2, D4 (9th)
Last time out:
Durham: Match Drawn v Yorkshire
Hampshire: Match Drawn v Somerset
Last meeting: Hampshire won by seven-wickets at Chester-Le-Street, September 2015
Durham: Stoneman ©, Jennings, Borthwick, Burnham, Stokes, Richardson (w/k), Pringle, Coughlin, Arshad, McCarthy, Rushworth and Onions
Hampshire: Smith ©, Adams, Weatherley, Ervine, Alsop, Berg, Andrew, Carberry, McManus, Tomlinson, McLaren, Wheater ©, Crane and Best
Sunday: Overcast with highs of 17c
Monday: Overcast with highs of 17c
Tuesday: Sunny intervals interspersed with rain with highs of 17c
Wednesday: Overcast with highs of 18c
Nottinghamshire v Lancashire:
Where? Trent Bridge, Nottingham
When? 3rd – 6th July 2016 @ 11am
Nottinghamshire: P9, W1, D4, L4 (7th)
Lancashire: P8, W3, L2, D3 (1st)
Last time out:
Nottinghamshire: Match Drawn v Warwickshire
Lancashire: Match Drawn v Middlesex
Last meeting: Lancashire won by eight-wickets, Old Trafford, April 2016
Nottinghamshire: Broad, Gurney, Hutton, Libby, Kitt, Lumb, Mullaney, Patel, Read (c, w/k), Tahir, Taylor and Wessels
Lancashire: Croft (©, w/k), Brown, Buck, Clark, Hameed, Jarvis, Livingston, Parkinson, Proctor, Smith and Wagner
Sunday: Sunny intervals with highs of 19c
Monday: Rain interspersed with sunny intervals with highs of 17c
Tuesday: Sunny intervals with highs of 19c
Wednesday: Overcast with highs of 19c
Yorkshire v Middlesex:
Where? North Maine Road, Scarborough
When? 3rd – 6th July 2016 @ 11am
Yorkshire: P7, W2, L0, D5 (2nd)
Middlesex: P8, W1, D0, D7 (3rd)
Last time out:
Yorkshire: Match Drawn v Durham
Middlesex: Match Drawn v Lancashire
Last meeting: Middlesex won by 246 runs, Lords, September 2015
Yorkshire: Ballance, Bresnan, Coad, Gale ©, Hood (w/k), Leaning, Lees, Lyth, Patterson, Rafiq, Rhodes, Shaw and Williamson
Middlesex: Franklin ©, Bailey, Eskinazi, Finn, Fuller, Gubbins, Harris, Higgins, Murtagh, Rayner, Robson, Roland-Jones, Simpson (w/k) and Stirling
Sunday: Sunny intervals with highs of 18c
Monday: Rain showers with highs of 17c
Tuesday: Rain interspersed with sunny intervals with highs of 17c
Wednesday: Overcast with highs of 16c
Essex v Kent:
Where? Essex County Ground, Chelmsford
When? 3rd – 6th July 2016 @ 11am
Essex: P8, W2, L1, D5 (2nd)
Kent: P9, W2, L0, D7 (1st)
Last time out:
Essex: Lost by four-wickets v Leicestershire
Kent: Match Drawn v Derbyshire
Last meeting: Kent won by an innings and 207 runs, Tunbridge Wells, July 2015
Essex: ten Doeschate ©, Foster (w/k), Bopara, Browne, Cook, Lawrence, Masters, Mickleburgh, Napier, Porter, Quinn, Westley and Zaidi
Kent: Northeast ©, Denly, Dickson, Cowdrey, Blake, Ball, Stevens, Jackson (w/k), Claydon, Tredwell, Rabada and Thomas
Sunday: Sunny intervals with highs of 21c
Monday: Overcast with highs of 20c
Tuesday: Rain with a chance of sunshine with highs of 20c
Wednesday: Overcast with highs of 21c
Worcestershire v Leicestershire:
Where? New Road, Worcester
When? 3rd – 6th July 2016 @ 11am
Worcestershire: P8, W1, L1, D6 (5th)
Leicestershire: P8, W2, L1, D5 (4th)
Last time out:
Worcestershire: Match Drawn v Derbyshire
Leicestershire: Match Drawn v Gloucestershire
Last meeting: Worcestershire won by seven-wickets, Grace Road, May 2016
Worcestershire: Mitchell ©, D’Oliveria, Fell, Clarke, Kohler-Cadmore, Whiteley, Cox (w/k), Leach, Barnard, Shantry, Abbott and Morris
Leicestershire: Robson, Horton, Dexter, Cosgrove ©, Pettini, Ali, Eckersley (w/k) Raine, Taylor, McKay, Jones, Shreck and Sykes
Sunday: Sunny intervals with highs of 20c
Monday: Overcast with highs of 19c
Tuesday: Rain with a chance of sunshine with highs of 20c
Wednesday: Overcast with highs of 20c
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Previews by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
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