County Cricket Round-Up - 5th October

County Cricket Round-Up - 5th October
County Cricket Round-Up - 5th October
©Action Images / Paul Harding

Northamptonshire have re-signed all-rounder Steven Crook from Middlesex on a two-year deal. The 29 year-old played for the Steelbacks between 2005 and 2009, before joining Middlesex at the start of the 2011 season. 

Crook was Middlesex's leading wicket-taker in the Clydesdale Bank 40 in 2012, as well as making valuable contributions with both bat and ball in the LV= County Championship and Friends Life t20. In all first-team cricket in 2012, he scored 392 runs at an average of 20.63 and took 39 wickets at 25.77.

Crook decided to leave Middlesex in search of more regular County Championship cricket - he played just five matches in 2012 - and said of his time at Middlesex, "I would like to thank everyone at Middlesex, all the coaching, support and office staff, my team-mates and fans of the club for a fantastic couple of years, and for giving me the opportunity to return to cricket after spending 2010 out the game. I must also highlight Angus Fraser for showing faith in me and his continued support for my development as a cricketer. My appreciation must also go to Richard Scott, Richard Johnson and Mark O'Neill for the huge impact they have made on my game." 

Of his future, he added, "I'm now really looking forward to the next chapter of my career at Northants and excited about joining a talented group of players and working with David Ripley and the coaching staff to help the club push for honours in all competitions next year.”

Northants chief executive David Smith paid tribute to the Middlesex management for agreeing to release Crook from his contract, saying, “Our thanks go to Angus Fraser and Middlesex, who have reluctantly agreed to release Steven from his contract a year early, so that he can play more regular first-team cricket at Northants.”

Commenting on Crook’s departure Middlesex's managing director of cricket, Angus Fraser, said, “We are naturally disappointed to lose Steven, who has become a valuable member of our squad during the course of the past two seasons. Steven has been a regular member of our CB40 and t20 sides and an extremely useful option for us in LV=CC cricket. It is sad to see Steven go but we wish him every success with Northamptonshire, except, of course, when he plays against Middlesex. We have no plans to replace him and his absence will give Middlesex the chance to introduce one or two of our talented youngsters in to the first eleven in 2013.”

Three county cricketers have agreed deals with New Zealand state sides to play in the country's domestic Twenty20 competition, the HRV Cup, this winter.

Lancashire all-rounder Steven Croft, who was named in England's provisional 30-man squad for the ICC World Twenty20, will play alongside Essex wicket-keeper James Foster for Northern Districts, who play under the moniker Northern Knights, while Chris Woakes will play alongside Warwickshire team-mate Jeetan Patel for the Wellington Firebirds.

Croft and Woakes will also play some first-class cricket during their time in New Zealand in the four-day Plunket Shield competition, with Croft's stint for Northern Districts following on from his one for Auckland during the winter of 2008-09.

Rose Bowl plc, the company that owns Hampshire CCC, has posted losses of more than £3 million for the last financial year. The accounts were posted to Companies House this week - several months late.

The bulk of the losses are thought to be due to the rain-affected Test match against Sri Lanka in June 2011 and the ongoing redevelopment work at the ground, which includes the construction of a four-star hotel, which is being funded by Eastleigh Borough Council.

Northamptonshire have extended the contracts of all-rounder James Middlebrook and fast-bowler Luke Evans. Middlebrook has penned a two-year extension, while Evans has signed for one year.

Middlebrook enjoyed one of his best ever seasons in 2012, culminating in him being named Northamptonshire's Player of the Year thanks to his haul of 833 runs and 39 wickets in all competitions

He said, “I’m really pleased; it’s very nice to have signed knowing the club appreciates my efforts as a player and I am looking forward to another couple of seasons here, where I will continue to work hard to try and help the club achieve its aims."

Evans, who missed much of last season with a back problem before returning to take 14 wickets in four matches towards the end, said of his one-year extension: “I'm absolutely delighted to be continuing with Northamptonshire for another year after what has been a frustrating time for me over the last two seasons. It was such a thrill to have taken wickets in the Championship matches I played this year and I'm hungry for more next year."

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