Title favourites Warwickshire went a long way towards clinching the crown with a round of matches still to play by bowling out a hapless Worcestershire for just 60 on day one at New Road. Chris Wright and Keith Barker each ended with five wickets as the visitors needed just two bowlers to dismiss the home side for their lowest first-class score since 1971. Warwickshire then reached 215 for two in their first innings by the time stumps were pulled, with Varun Chopra unbeaten on 115, having added 136 with Ian Westwood (54) for the first-wicket.
Middlesex had romped to 389 for six by the close of the first day against relegation-threatened defending champions Lancashire at Lord’s. They lost two early wickets to Glen Chapple after being asked to bat, but Neil Dexter hit an unbeaten century and added 63 for the fourth-wicket with Sam Robson (49) to begin the recovery, and a more aggressive 148 with Gareth Berg (83) for the sixth-wicket which helped establish an advantage. Dexter ended the day on 123 and was partnered by Steven Crook on 45.
Zander de Bruyn and Gary Wilson both hit half-centuries as Surrey closed on 242 for nine against title hopefuls Nottinghamshire at The Oval. Harry Gurney had struck thrice in the morning session, including taking the key wicket of Kevin Pietersen for 15, but Wilson and de Bruyn added 123 for the sixth-wicket, prior to the latter’s dismissal to Graeme White (two for 72).
Another of Warwickshire’s main contenders for the title, Sussex, were bowled out for 221 on the first day against Somerset at Hove. Ed Joyce made a battling 65, but Alfonso Thomas and Abdur Rehman – who took the field in the mid-afternoon after flying in from Sharjah overnight – took three wickets apiece. Somerset then closed on 30 for one in their first innings.
17 wickets fell on the first day of the second division match between Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire at Bristol. The home side were all out for 220 and then reduced Northamptonshire to 73 for seven by stumps. James Fuller and Liam Norwell took three wickets each and were the main architects of a Northamptonshire collapse of seven for 42. Earlier, Jonathan Batty and Alex Gidman had hit half-centuries for Gloucestershire, while Luke Evans returned figures of four for 38.
Hampshire closed just 15 runs adrift of Essex on 165 for four at Southampton. Bilal Shafayat ended on 42 not out, while Michael Carberry hit a fluent 42 at the top of the order. Essex had succumbed to the seam of David Balcombe and David Griffiths during their first innings, with only Mark Pettini, with 58, able to do any significant scoring as they were all out for 180.
Kent were bowled out for 261 on day one against Derbyshire in Canterbury. They slipped to 139 for six thanks to a brace of wickets each from Ross Whiteley and Tim Groenewald, but recovered courtesy of an innings of 80 from Geraint Jones, who was playing in his 100th consecutive County Championship match. Derbyshire then closed on 32 for one after 11 overs of their first innings.
Will Bragg hit 92 for Glamorgan, but Yorkshire fought back to dismiss them for 272 on the first day at Headingley. Bragg shared an opening stand of 124 with Nick James (38), while Stewart Walters made 42 as the visitors progressed to 140 for one. However, Steven Patterson removed Bragg as the first of four wickets and Glamorgan lost their last six wickets for 51 runs. Yorkshire then faced six overs in their reply and closed on 20 without loss.
Day Two, CCD1, Middlesex v Lancashire at Lord’s
Day Two, CCD1, Surrey v Nottinghamshire at The Oval
Day Two, CCD1, Sussex v Somerset at Hove
Day Two, CCD1, Worcestershire v Warwickshire at New Road
Day Two, CCD2, Gloucestershire v Northamptonshire at Bristol
Day Two, CCD2, Hampshire v Essex at Southampton
Day Two, CCD2, Kent v Derbyshire at Canterbury
Day Two, CCD2, Yorkshire v Glamorgan at Headingley
Weather Forecast: Tomorrow will be dry and sunny with only patchy cloud. Temperatures will peak at between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius.
County News In Brief:
Ben Scott has been informed by Worcestershire that he will not have his contract renewed when it expires at the end of the season. He is understood not be looking for new county.
Murray Goodwin has been released by Sussex ending his 12-year association with the club. Full story
Northamptonshire have released seam bowler David Burton after more than two seasons on their playing staff.
Matt Boyce has signed a new one-year deal with Leicestershire, which will keep him at the club until the end of the 2014 season.
Joe Denly and Toby Roland-Jones received their Middlesex county caps during the lunch interval of today’s match against Lancashire.
Somerset have registered an interest in signing departing Glamorgan all-rounder James Harris and Sajid Mahmood for the 2013 season.
Yorkshire have declared an interest in signing wicket-keeper Andrew Hodd on a permanent contract for next season. Hodd is currently on loan at Yorkshire after dropping behind Ben Brown in the pecking order at his current club Sussex.
© Cricket World 2012
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