Round four of the LV= County Championship began today with matches at Trent Bridge, Headingley and Chelmsford. Chesney Hughes was the day’s star performer - the Anguilla-born all-rounder hitting a career-best 171 on his return to the Derbyshire side. Elsewhere there were runs for James Taylor and Steven Mullaney and wickets for David Masters and Reece Topley.
A recalled Chesney Hughes displayed all of his talents on day one at Headingley and brought Yorkshire down from their high that victory over Durham had given them just 48 hours previously. After losing his opening partner Billy Godleman to Tim Bresnan with just 10 on the board, he proceeded to dominate a second-wicket stand of 258 with his skipper Wayne Madsen. He reached three figures off 160 balls and ended not out with a career-best 171. Madsen departed late on for 93 as Yorkshire struck three times in the closing overs as Derbyshire closed on 302 for four.
Durham closed on 34 for one shortly after bowling Nottinghamshire out for 320 at Trent Bridge. The visitors made two changes from the side that lost to Yorkshire on Saturday, with Callum Thorp and Keaton Jennings dropped and Mark Wood included alongside an extra spinner in Gareth Breese. Nottinghamshire lost early wickets and were reduced to 98 for four at one stage as Ben Stokes and Graham Onions each struck twice. However, James Taylor survived some early scares and added 111 with the recalled Steven Mullaney for the fifth-wicket. Both fell before reaching three figures but a valuable cameo of 46 from Stuart Broad lifted the total over 300.
Fifteen wickets fell on the opening day of the Division Two clash between Essex and Hampshire at Chelmsford. Hampshire elected to bat and lost three early wickets to the fit-again David Masters. A fifth-wicket partnership between Sean Ervine (60) and James Vince (43) began a recovery of sorts but once Vince was leg-before to Ravi Bopara there was little resistance of note. Bopara ended with two for 23 from 12 overs, while there were three wickets for Reece Topley as Hampshire were all out three runs short of a first batting bonus point.
Essex then lost a steady stream of wickets in their reply with only Alastair Cook holding firm to end unbeaten on 25. Tom Westley was run-out for 16, with Rob Quiney, Bopara, night-watchman Masters and Mark Pettini all falling cheaply - the latter two for ducks - to either Danny Briggs, James Tomlinson or Ervine. Ben Foakes joined Cook and finished with 19 as Essex reached stumps on 72 for five.
Tomorrow’s Fixtures: (all matches start at 1100 BST, 1000 GMT)
day two, LV=CCD1, Nottinghamshire v Durham at Trent Bridge
day two, LV=CCD1, Yorkshire v Derbyshire at Headingley
day two, LV=CCD2, Essex v Hampshire at Chelmsford
day one, LV=CCD2, Leicestershire v Gloucestershire at Grace Road
Both sides are faced with similar problems heading into this match. Both have fragile batting line-ups, both have multiple injury problems affecting their seam attacks and both are likely to find themselves battling to avoid the wooden spoon come the end of the season. Leicestershire have the added embarrassment of being the only county to lose one of the MCC universities so far this season following last week’s defeat to Leeds/Bradford MCCU. They do welcome back skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan and wicket-keeper Niall O’Brien into their eleven for this match, with Claude Henderson and Ollie Freckingham also in a 14-man squad. Matthew Hoggard joins Nathan Buck and Anthony Ireland on the injury list.
Leicestershire squad: Ramnaresh Sarwan (captain), Michael Thornely, Niall O’Brien, Ned Eckersley, Josh Cobb, Matthew Boyce, Shiv Thakor, Robert Taylor, Jigar Naik, Ollie Freckingham, Alex Wyatt, Robbie Williams, Claude Henderson, Greg Smith.
Gloucestershire’s seam bowling woes have deepened with the news that Liam Norwell strained a groin muscle during the defeat to Northamptonshire. Ian Saxelby (shoulder), Paul Muchall (knee) and James Fuller (broken finger) were already ruled out. Craig Miles and spinner Ed Young will vie to replace Norwell in the starting eleven for the trip to Grace Road.
Gloucestershire squad: Michael Klinger (captain), Chris Dent, Dan Housego, Alex Gidman, Hamish Marshall, Benny Howell, Will Gidman, Cameron Herring, Jack Taylor, Craig Miles, David Payne, Ed Young.
Weather Forecast: Tomorrow will start sunny but should cloud over in the afternoon with almost anywhere at risk of catching a light shower. Winds will be lighter with temperatures peaking at between 10 and 14 degrees Celsius.
County Cricket News In Brief:
Roger Cooke, a retired chartered accountant, has replaced Rex Body as chairman of Gloucestershire CCC. Cooke was previously an honorary treasurer at Bristol between 2006 and 2010 before becoming deputy chairman. Body will now serve as new president John Light’s deputy, with Dr Tim Brain taking on the role of deputy chairman.
Somerset wicket-keeper Craig Kieswetter has been ruled out for around six weeks as a result of the fractured thumb that he sustained during yesterday’s drawn Championship match against Warwickshire.
Joe Root has been named as captain of a strong England Lions side that will play the touring New Zealanders in a four-day game beginning on 9th May at Grace Road. He replaces James Taylor as captain from the Lions’ winter tour to Australia and will lead side that includes Hampshire opener Michael Carberry and Essex batsman Ravi Bopara.
England Lions XI: Joe Root (captain), Varun Chopra, Michael Carberry, Ravi Bopara, James Taylor, Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, Toby Roland-Jones, Chris Wright, Simon Kerrigan, Graham Onions.
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