The 16th round of the LV= County Championship kicked off in the late summer sunshine around the country, with Durham fairly dominating the opening day of their crunch match against Yorkshire. Elsewhere, things are pretty evenly poised after the early salvos with only Northamptonshire emerging with a discernible advantage after the opening days of the remaining fixtures.
Relegation-threatened Somerset were buoyed by half-centuries from four of their batsmen on the opening day against Middlesex at Lord’s. Captain Marcus Trescothick was first to the milestone, adding 79 with fellow opener Nick Compton (31). Wickets began to tumble following Trescothick’s departure, however, as Neil Dexter took three and Somerset slipped to 211 for seven in spite of 58 from Chris Jones. Fortunately, overseas player Piyush Chawla (58 not out) was on hand to partner Alex Barrow and the pair put on 107 for the eighth-wicket, with Barrow falling shortly before stumps for 65. Somerset closed on 332 for eight.
Durham had much the better of the first day of the marquee game at Scarborough. They recovered from an early Ryan Sidebottom double-strike to close on 406 for six against Yorkshire. Mark Stoneman and Ben Stokes both hit hundreds and added 128 for the fourth-wicket. Paul Collingwood then added a further 120 with Stokes following Stoneman’s departure to Sidebottom for 122. Stokes then gave Adil Rashid his first wicket of the innings when on 127, but Collingwood was given further support by Phil Mustard (42) and ended on 74 not out.
Warwickshire coped well with potential cricketing disaster against Sussex at Edgbaston. They were hit by the late withdrawals of Chris Woakes and Rikki Clarke due to injury and rushed in loan signing Maurice Chambers (see News In Brief) to make his Bears debut. They then watched as Sussex openers Chris Nash and Luke Wells shared 121 and would have feared for their prospects. However, seven wickets fell for 74 runs as Sussex’s middle-order floundered. Keith Barker took two for 83, while Chambers was the pick with three for 51. Jeetan Patel (1-52) and Recardo Gordon (1-45) also bowled well. The day took then another twist as Chris Jordan and Will Beer combined for an unbroken partnership of 83. Jordan finished on 58 not out, with Sussex on 278 for seven.
In Division Two, Greg Smith hit an unbeaten 149 as Essex reached stumps on 333 for seven against Gloucestershire. No other Essex batsman made more than Owais Shah’s 34 but plenty chipped in to give Smith valuable support. Will Gidman and David Payne were the picks of the home side’s attack with two wickets apiece.
James Tomlinson took three for 56 as Hampshire and Lancashire finished day one at Southport with honours more or less even. The hosts closed on 296 for eight, with a 120-run second-wicket stand between Luis Reece (50) and Ashwell Prince (63) arguably the highlight of their innings. Their middle-order didn’t really fire and felt heavily the loss of Simon Katich due to a back spasm. However, Luke Procter kept Lancashire’s head above water and finished on 65 not out, adding useful stands with Tom Smith (28) and Gareth Cross (26).
Ned Eckersley brought up 1,000 Championship runs for the summer en route to 106 at Grace Road. Leicestershire closed the first day against Worcestershire on 270 for seven. Regular wickets fell around Eckersley, who found the only real support from skipper Josh Cobb (44) during a fifth-wicket partnership of 92. Alan Richardson and Jack Shantry picked up two wickets apiece, while spinners Moeen Ali (1-20) and Shaaiq Choudhry (1-31) bowled tidily.
Second-placed Northamptonshire had much the better of the opening day against Glamorgan, closing on 85 without loss after dismissing the visitors for 241. No Glamorgan batsman reached 50 after they had been put into bat, while the decision to play five bowlers hardly helped matters later on. Northants’ usual wicket-takers did the damage, with Steven Crook finishing with four for 66 and David Willey (3-54) and Trent Copeland (2-40) sharing five between them.
day two, LV=CCD1, Middlesex v Somerset at Lord’s
day one, LV=CCD1, Surrey v Derbyshire at The Oval
Firmly locked in a relegation battle, both sides know that a win would help their chance of avoiding the drop no end. Surrey will have to make to do without Jade Dernbach and Gary Wilson due to international commitments. Fast-bowler George Edwards make his maiden appearance of the season in a Championship squad and will vie with Tom Curran and Zafar Ansari to replace Dernbach, while highly-rated young batsman Dominic Sibley is also included in a 13-man squad and will probably take Wilson’s place.
Surrey squad: Arun Harinath, Rory Burns, Hashim Amla, Vikram Solanki, Steven Davies, Zander de Bruyn, Dominic Sibley, Gareth Batty (captain), Tom Curran, Chris Tremlett, Tim Linley, George Edwards, Zafar Ansari.
Derbyshire will be aiming for a hat-trick of wins as they aim to keep their amazing turnaround going. However, they will still have to make to without the injured trio of Dan Redfern, Jonathan Clare and Mark Turner, while Tim Groenewald and Chesney Hughes are both on paternity leave. Paul Borrington will probably replace Hughes from the side that won against Middlesex last time out, with Tony Palladino set to start in place of Groenewald unless coach Karl Krikken opts to play two spinners.
Derbyshire squad: Paul Borrington, Ben Slater, Wayne Madsen (captain), Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Richard Johnson, Alex Hughes, Tom Poynton, Peter Burgoyne, Tony Palladino, Matt Higginbottom, Mark Footitt, David Wainwright.
day two, LV=CCD1, Warwickshire v Sussex at Edgbaston
day two, LV=CCD1, Yorkshire v Durham at Headingley
day two, LV=CCD2, Gloucestershire v Essex at Bristol
day two, LV=CCD2, Lancashire v Hampshire at Southport
day two, LV=CCD2, Leicestershire v Worcestershire at Grace Road
day two, LV=CCD2, Northamptonshire v Glamorgan at Wantage Road
Weather Forecast: It should be another mostly dry day tomorrow, with the best of the brightness in the south and east. Temperatures will peak at between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius.
County Cricket News In Brief:
Warwickshire have further bolstered their injury-hit bowling attack by signing Essex fast-bowler Maurice Chambers on loan for the remainder of the season. He is making his Bears debut in the current match against Sussex after Chris Woakes and Rikki Clarke were late withdrawals due to injury. Recent loan signing Richard Jones was denied a game by a chest muscle injury.
Tom Smith has give his strongest hint yet that he sees his future at Gloucestershire. The left-arm spinner has been on loan at Bristol for much of the season from Middlesex and tod the Bristol Post: “I have taken my chance so far, but there is still a lot of cricket to go. If things go well there could be a scenario where signing for Gloucestershire suits all concerned and I will be very happy if that proves the case.”
Former Middlesex coach Toby Radford is among the front-runners to take on the role of first-team coach at Glamorgan according to the South Wales Evening Post. Radford’s agent has reportedly approached the club offering his client’s services. Radford was born in Wales and is currently on a rolling contract as assistant coach of the West Indies.
An 11 year-old boy, George Devlin, has been honoured by a reception with his cricketing heroes at Lancashire CCC. Peter Moores and several of the players presented Devlin, who has raised over £3,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support since losing his mum to the disease, with the annual Macmillan Young Cancer Champions of the Year award. Full story
Northamptonshire duo Steven Crook and Kyle Coetzer have both received their county caps.
Northamptonshire have fought off interest from other counties to secure the future of fast-bowler Mohammad Azharullah on a two-year contract. Azharullah joined the club at the beginning of the season and has been a revelation, especially in one-day cricket. Head coach David Ripley told the Northampton Chronicle: “We were a little concerned because there are clubs out there with bigger budgets than we’ve got but Azhar intimated that it wouldn’t be just about the money.”
Nottinghamshire have said they will not be offering seamer Ben Phillips a new contract. Phillips, 38, has been on the staff at Trent Bride for three years after joining from Somerset.
Yorkshire have extended the contract of talented opener Adam Lyth until the end of the 2015 seaosn.
© Cricket World 2013