It was a day for the bowlers as the 17th round of the LV= County Championship began around the country. Worcestershire, Leicestershire and Somerset were each bowled out for little more than 100, while 15 wickets fell at Cardiff. Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire and Essex and among the sides who will be pleased with their day’s work.
Derbyshire dominated the opening day of their relegation clash at Taunton. They closed on 220 for five after humbling Somerset for a pitiful 103. Piyush Chawla was one of only two Somerset batsmen to reach double figures and top-scored with 27 as Tim Groenewald and Tony Palladino shared nine wickets. Palladino did the early damage en route to four for 23, while new father Groenewald dispensed with most of the middle and lower-order. Derbyshire the threatened to undo some of their bowlers’ good work and lost three wickets for 15 runs after Ben Slater (45) and Paul Borrington (27) had added 52 for the first-wicket. Chawla was again the man who did the damage, ending with four for 87, but he was unable to prevent Richard Johnson and Tom Poynton from finishing the day on a high for the visitors. By stumps, they had both passed 50 and had taken their sixth-wicket partnership to 93.
Mark Stoneman hit a crucial 96 for title-contenders Durham on day one against Sussex. The home side were bowled out for just 245 after electing to bat as seamers Lewis Hatchett (3-56), Steve Magoffin (3-57) and James Anyon (4-87) all shone. Stoneman added 67 with Will Smith (32) for the third-wicket, but departed four short of his century, as Durham lost their last seven wickets for 91 runs. Michael Richardson (31) and Usman Arshad (30) did provide some brief resistance with a seventh-wicket stand worth 54. Graham Onions, fit again after a finger injury, the struck twice in the Sussex reply as they closed on 60 for three.
Maurice Chambers took wickets with consecutive deliveries as Nottinghamshire lost three early wickets after bowling out a severely weakened Warwickshire side for 298. They closed on 14 for three. Bears skipper Varun Chopra had earlier led from the front for the visitors, hitting 76 and adding 73 with Laurie Evans (32) for the third-wicket. Luke Fletcher and Andre Adams, though, struck four times each as a middle-order collapse followed. Fortunately, Jeetan Patel was on hand to play a sprightly innings off 66 not out from number nine and added 88 with wicket-keeper Pete McKay (33) for the ninth-wicket.
Middlesex enjoyed a relatively pleasing day against Surrey at The Oval, reaching stumps on 280 for seven. They lost Sam Robson to Jade Dernbach for a duck after electing to bat, but recovered well thanks to half-centuries from Chris Rogers, Dawid Malan and Neil Dexter. Rogers made 55 and added 93 with Malan (61) for the third-wicket, while Dexter ended undefeated with 77. Gary Keedy - a late inclusion for the hosts after Zafar Ansari was struck on the thumb while in the nets this morning - was the pick of the Surrey attack with three for 61. Tim Linley took two for 59 from 21 overs.
In Division Two, Reece Topley returned career-best figures of six for 29 as Essex kept their slim promotion hopes alive by dismantling Worcestershire for just 102. Only four Pears batsmen reached double figures despite their captain Daryl Mitchell winning the toss and choosing to bat. Topley and David Masters (3-33) ran riot through their batting line-up, with Joe Leach’s 24 the highest score and 21 the best partnership of the innings. Essex then lost opener Nick Browne in the third over for a duck, but Jaik Mickleburgh (65) and the in-form Greg Smith (94) shared 158 for the second-wicket. Both were removed by Moeen Ali not long before stumps, which the home side reached on 199 for four.
Rob Keogh hit a maiden first-class century as Northamptonshire bounced back from a horrific start to close on 323 for six against Hampshire. David Balcombe had struck twice as the promotion likely lads slumped to 32 for four after being asked to bat. However, Keogh, boasting a previous best of just 44, added 120 with Andrew Hall (48) for the fifth-wicket and an unbroken 161 with Matthew Spriegel - a late replacement for Graeme White - for the seventh. Keogh ended on 158 not out, with Spriegel on 61. Trialist Ruel Brathwaite returned figures of two for 83 on his Hampshire debut.
Fifteen wickets fell at Cardiff as Kent closed on 102 for five after bowling out Glamorgan for 158. Michael Hogan, back in the Glamorgan side after missing their last match, struck three times, while Daniel Bell-Drummond celebrated his new contract by ending on 41 not out. Darren Stevens had earlier taken four for 34 to derail the home side’s innings after they had made a promising start. Ben Wright was the only one of their middle-order to prosper and made 55.
Will Gidman returned remarkable figures of 14-7-15-6 as Leicestershire were skittled for 117 at Bristol. Opener Greg Smith made 54 but he was given almost no support as Gidman ran riot. The former Durham man began by dismissing debutant Angus Robson for a duck and was supported well by Benny Howell, who took three for 19. Gloucestershire openers Michael Klinger (86) and Chris Dent (77) then added 163 in only 35 overs before the Foxes fought back late in the day and they closed on 210 for four.
day two, LV=CCD1, Durham v Sussex at Chester-le-Street
day two, LV=CCD1, Nottinghamshire v Warwickshire at Trent Bridge
day two, LV=CCD1, Somerset v Derbyshire at Taunton
day two, LV=CCD1, Surrey v Middlesex at The Oval
day two, LV=CCD2, Essex v Worcestershire at Chelmsford
day two, LV=CCD2, Glamorgan v Kent at Cardiff
day two, LV=CCD2, Gloucestershire v Leicestershire at Bristol
day two, LV=CCD2, Hampshire v Northamptonshire at Southampton
Weather Forecast: Tomorrow will be warmer and sunnier than today, with almost unbroken sunshine throughout the afternoon. Temperatures will peak at between 22 and 27 degrees Celsius.
County Cricket News In Brief:
Kent have started building for 2014 after a near-disastrous 2013 season. They have signed Mitchell Claydon from Durham and David Griffiths from Hampshire, as well as extending the contracts of Fabian Cowdrey, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Calum Haggett and Sam Northeast. Claydon was told that he would not have his Durham contract extended beyond the end of the season despite being recalled by the club from his loan deal with Kent for the current match against Sussex.
Leicestershire chairman Paul Haywood has presented Ned Eckersley with his county cap. The 24 year-old has had a magnificent season, scoring over 1,000 Championship runs at an average in excess of 50.
Gloucestershire captain Michael Klinger will miss his side’s final Championship match against Glamorgan as he returns to Australia to prepare for their domestic season.
© Cricket World 2013