By David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
Heavy overnight rain meant no play was possible at four of the six matches on the opening day of the County Season.
Heavy overnight rain in the north put pay to play at both Headingley and Old Trafford as standing water on the outfield gave the umpires no choice but to call play off for the day without a ball bowled.
There was more luck down south though as Hampshire and Worcestershire managed to duck and dodge to rain at the Ageas Bowl. Given the Spring-like conditions in the air it was no surprise that the Pears chose to take their option of holding an uncontested toss and skipper Joe Leach immediately ensured his decision was a good one by removing Lewis McManus early in the morning session to bag the first wicket of the county season. The young opener could only edge behind to fall early for just 2 but England’s James Vince and Hampshire stalwart Jimmy Adams combined to steady the ship for the hosts as the pair shared 106 for the 2nd wicket stand with Vince hitting a rapid-fire 50 in the process. Adams eventually fell for a well-made 33 from 62 balls to help break the back of the new-ball to help the South Coast club to a solid foundation. Steve Magoffin who had proved expensive in the morning returned in the afternoon session to first remove Adams and then four overs later take out the imperious Vince, who by the time the Australian had disturbed his stumps had move onto a better than run-a-ball 75. That brought overseas signing Hashim Amla to the crease to join fellow newcomer Sam Northeast. Amla, in his unfamiliar position of five, played a steady, if unspectacularly hand to help keep the score ticking over as the Worcestershire attack continued to plug away in the helpful seaming conditions. Leach struck soon after the dismissal of Northeast who made just 17 in his first competitive innings for his new county as he was removed by Josh Tongue, and the Pear skipper Leach soon removed the dangerous Roussow for a duck to leave the hosts 164-5. Amla and new man Liam Dawson had shared 29 when Leach struck again to remove the first of his many ‘dream’ victims of the summer, Amla. Leach would eventually finish with figures of 4-42 as Hampshire owed much to the late order runs of Gareth Berg who struck a fine unbeaten 75 including 10 fours and two sixes to help the hosts to a respectable 291 all out.
In reply in the darkening light, the visitors closed on 40-2 with the talented duo of Brett D’Oliveira (1) and Tom Fell (18) both falling to Fidel Edwards and Kyle Abbott respectively.
In Division Two, the clash between Kent and Gloucestershire and Warwickshire and Sussex both also fell victim to the weather.
At The Home of Cricket, they did manage some cricket though with 48.5 overs possible on the opening day of Middlesex Division Two adventure. After being offered to bat, perhaps unsurprisingly given the green nature of the pitch and the cloud cover above they got off to a slow, but ultimately steady start reaching 21 without loss after 8 and a half overs. Suddenly though, Ben Sanderson went bang bang to remove two in two to leave the hosts wobbling a little at Lords. The talented seamer first removed Max Holden caught smartly by Brett Hutton, before Robbie White shouldered arms to his first ball in his first-class debut only to turn round to see his off stuck cartwheeling towards the slips. That got the Steelbacks tails up and it was tasked with overseas recruit Hilton Cartwright to weather the storm for the hosts. He and Sam Robson stood tall for 8 and a bit overs before Brett Hutton removed the Australian for 30 to leave the hosts on 54-3. Robson didn’t last too much longer as the light began to fade in West London and he fell for a patient 14, trapped plumb in front by Hutton. Suddenly, Northants sniffed a chance of restricting the hosts to a poor looking score but Paul Stirling (40*) and John Simpson (31*) combined to ensure they would be there at the close in this light affected opening day as the hosts ended day one on 136-4.
View from the outfield will be live reporting over the weekend – follow up on Snapchat on VFTO.com where Matthew Layton will be at Edgbaston and follow us on Twitter @ViewFromTheOut for live updates throughout the second day.
Durham and Warwickshire both beat the weather to secure their first wins of the season in round six of the County Championship.
Warwickshire climbed to the top of the County Championship after collecting their first success of the summer at the hands of Nottinghamshire who endured a nightmare batting display to slip to a 53-run defeat. Only the brilliant Samit Patel threatened to stop the rampant Bears – who took seven wickets in a rain-affected final day. Patel struck a 68-ball century in an aggressive knock, he hit 12 fours and eight sixes before becoming the last man to fall for 124. Chasing 227 to win the hosts endured a terrible start falling to 25/5 after a terrific spell from Keith Barker (4-38) put the visitors in control. He added to the dismissals of Steven Mullaney and Michael Lumb from the previous night to remove Greg Smith (8) and Riki Wessels (0) to leave the hosts in a giant hole. Brendan Taylor (26) – the only other man apart from Patel to reach double figures shared an unbroken stand of 89 to halt the Warwickshire charge. But once Taylor fell to Chris Wright (3-23) the hosts crumbled to defeat despite Patel’s late fireworks. The spin of Jeetan Patel took two quick wickets to remove Chris Read and Brett Hutton to put the Bears on the brink. And when Wright returned to strike in consecutive overs the game was won to lead the visitors to the summit of Division One, a point above Yorkshire who could only draw in Taunton.
Meanwhile, Durham took ten wickets on the final day to secure their maiden win of the campaign collecting a 73-run win against a resolute Lancashire side. With poor weather forecasted on the final day Durham skipper, Paul Collingwood decided to declare overnight setting the visitors 325 to win. And it looked to be an inspired call as the Red Rose slumped to 97/5 as the top order looked to flay early runs in an attempted to reach their target. Their positive intent proved to be their downfall with many departing playing aggressive shots. Opener Karl Brown struck nine fours in his 26-ball stay before becoming the second man to fall leg before to Graham Onions playing across the line. Youngster Brydon Carse struck twice in back-to-back overs to leave the visitors in trouble on 97/4, and when Steven Croft fell to Barry McCarthy it seemed as though the game would be ending early. Alex Davies (39) and Liam Livingstone rallied though for the Red Rose as they threatened to spoil the Durham party. Livingstone struck an unbeaten half-century containing three fours and two sixes during his 105-ball stay. But after sharing 67 for the sixth-wicket James Weighell induced an edge from Davies to revive Durham’s hopes. Seventeen runs later they were off celebrating again after Tom Bailey fell to Carse who claimed his third wicket of the day. Neil Wagner fell to the spin of Scott Borthwick for four as the host attempted to wrap up victory quickly in the fading light. Still requiring a further two wickets the floodlights came on to provide extra light for the hosts and Weighell struck to bring an end to Kyle Jarvis’ dogged stay at the crease. The tail-ender faced 57-balls in difficult conditions to hold Durham up, but he edged to Keaton Jennings to fall for 28. And when Graham Onions returned to bowl last man Simon Kerrigan for four the hosts wrapped up victory just after tea.
Somerset were left frustrated by the weather as Yorkshire escaped the West Country with a draw. Jamie Overton struck early to remove Steven Patterson (32) with a hooping inswinger to leave the Tykes to follow-on. Under dark skies, the visitors produced a patience batting display to secure a draw. Alex Lees faced 97-balls without striking a boundary for his eleven in what proved to be the order of the day for the Tykes. Indeed, the White Rose only struck 12 fours in their entire second innings effort as they batted resolutely to frustrate the hosts. Adam Lyth fell for 18 when Overton struck to bowl the former England opener. Jack Leach then took the wicket of Will Rhodes as the hosts sniffed a chance of victory, and the wickets continued to fall throughout the day, but the weather kept returning to save the Tykes. With only 75 overs possible on the final day, Overton took three wickets including those of Lees and Gary Ballance (18). Tim Groenewald struck twice quickly to restore some hope for Somerset but Jack Leaning and Liam Plunkett shared 42 for the seventh wicket to ensure the visitors left Taunton with a draw to keep the pressure at the top of the table.
Surrey and Middlesex were forced to settle for a draw as their game was brought to a premature end as poor south London weather had the final say. The draw always looked likely after a solid start from Rory Burns and Arun Harinath the night before, but regular rain and poor light ensured there would be no play possible on the final day. Both sides remain winless with Middlesex collect 10 points from the fixture, Surrey took nine.
Meanwhile, in Division two, only Gloucestershire could force a positive result as rain ruled the country.
At Chelmsford regular rain meant Essex couldn’t force their third home victory against Derbyshire as captain shook hands with the visitors on 261/4. No play was possible until mid-afternoon as poor weather in the Essex region forced the Eagles to wait for their chance. When they returned to the field Jamie Porter removed nightwatchman Tom Taylor (19) to give Essex a small chance. And when the dogged Hamish Rutherford fell to Bopara for 68 and Graham Napier trapped Wayne Madsen (2) leg before, Essex believed again. But Chesney Hughes (66 not out) and Neil Broom (2 not out) batted out the remaining time before Ryan ten Doeschate called it a day and settled for a draw. Essex remain top of the Division Two table 18-points clear of their local rivals Kent.
Gloucestershire produced a classy bowling display to defeat struggling Glamorgan by 125-runs. Glamorgan chasing 268 to win got off to a flying start with Jacques Rudolph (36) and Mark Wallace (50) guided the visitors to 87 without loss. Debutant Graham van Buuren took three quick wickets to turn the game on its head. He removed Wallace, Rudolph and Will Bragg to leave the Welsh county on 97/3 and they never recovered from that point. Craig Miles joined the party to strike three times as the Glamorgan collapse continued with Andrew Salter (3), Chris Cooke (4) and Aneurin Donald (4) all fell within six overs of each other as the wickets continued to tumble in Bristol. By now the hosts had their tails up, and spinner Jack Taylor finished the job off taking four successive wickets to ensure Gloucestershire would taste victory for the first time this season. Taylor removed Harry Podmore (1), Timm van der Gugten (0) and Graham Wagg (15) before dismissing David Lloyd for 20 to seal victory to finish with figures of 4-16.
Northampton and Kent were forced to settle for a draw as rain and poor light ruined the final day at Wantage Road. Daniel Bell-Drummond made his fourth half-century of the season when play did start before Joe Denly fell to the spin of Rob Keogh. But with only 11-overs possible, both teams had to settle for a share of the spoils to leave Kent in second behind Essex.
Elsewhere, Sussex produced a dogged batting display to frustrate Worcestershire at New Road. With poor weather forecasted the visitors batted in determined fashion, but the weather remained dry to keep the hosts hopes alive. But half-centuries from Harry Finch, Ross Taylor and Matt Machan ensured that both sides were forced to settle for yet another draw. They began the day requiring a further 78 to avoid an innings defeat, but they rarely looked in trouble in the morning session with just Lewis Hatchett (the nightwatchman) falling to Joe Leach as the visitors eased past the deficit. Matt Henry caused problems for the visitors as he looked to turn the screw for his new county. It was the day of the Kiwi for both sides as Henry took 4-122 and Ross Taylor struck his second half-century of the season for the visitors, but neither side could force a result with both sides yet to secure victory this season after being relegated last season to Division Two.
Reports by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
The County Championship is set to welcome back England's finest stars for the opening fixtures of the county season.
The ECB, today announced, that the majority of the Three Lion's heroes are to be made avaliable for at least the opening four first-class matches.
County Championship champions Yorkshire are the main beneficiaries with five England pros returning to the fray. With superstar Joe Root set for a two-game stint with the White Rose.
Stuart Broad, Nottinghamshire and England right-arm paceman is free for the crunch match against Lancashire which will see him go head-to-head with friend and fellow Englishman James Anderson.
Ben Stokes will look to bounce back from his from his T20 final over nightmare when he returns to a strong Durham side for two-matches. He will join fellow seamer Mark Wood to boost the Chester-Le-Street club's bowling attack.
Moving into Division Two, and down south to Chelmsford, England skipper Alastair Cook will make a rare appearance at the Essex County Ground. Cook, will appear in the opening four Championship fixtures for the Eagles, who will look to get off to a flier, knowing their early season form often puts pay to their promotion push come September.
On the south coast, England's gun death bowler Chris Jordan will join up with the Sussex squad for duty from early May to help the Sharks regain their Division One status.
Whilst, Moeen Ali, will look to have a similar affect at New Road, as he appears in the second, third and fourth Championship fixtures for Worcestershire.
These stars are sure to bring the paying punters to the grounds during the early season, and it is good to see the ECB finally allowing these players to represent their clubs. It allows younger players to test the mettle against their creme-de-la-creme of the country. Which will only help the future of the English game.
Written by: David Bowden - Site Owner
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