Work has returned to my life which means I haven’t seen a ball bowled in this first round of the CC, but, for my own records as much as anything here’s a round up of the first set of matches, to add to my round up of Day 1. Adding photos from previous games where I can.

There were 3 matches in each division, I’m going to make note of all of the batsmen who scored 50 or over and all the bowlers who took 5 or more wickets, plus anything else I spot along the way! Starting with Division 1.

Somerset v Kent

A weather affected match for Kent’s first game back in the top tier, which must have been more than disappointing for those who travelled. There was no toss, Kent elected to bowl and that was a good plan with the way Somerset’s first innings went, they were bowled out for 177, with the man with the biggest smile in cricket, Mitch Claydon taking 5 for 46 in 12 overs.Tom Abell made 49, but doesn’t creep into that 50 or over category. Kent managed to sneak a small lead in their first innings making 209.

George Bartlett had what was probably a match winning innings for Somerset, batting at 7 he made 63 from 110 balls. Claydon added a further 4 to his tally giving him 9 for the match. Somerset were all out for 243 leaving Kent with a target of 212 to win. I have to mention a Kent favourite of mine at this point, Darren Stevens, he’s approaching his 43rd birthday this month, he took 3 for 34 in Somerset’s second innings and top scored with 43 in Kent’s second. I have no doubt I’ll see him excel against my team, Essex, he always does.

A top score of 43 for Kent is a fair indication that they didn’t get the win, they were bowled out for 131, giving Somerset a wining margin of 74 runs. Lewis Gregory took 5 for 18 in 13 overs having taken 3 in the first innings.

Star men

  • Mitch Claydon – 5 for 46 & 4 for 66
  • George Bartlett – 63 from 110 Balls
  • Lewis Gregory – 3 for 26 & 5 for 18

Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire

Yorkshire put the home team in to bat and Nottinghamshire made the most of it. Ben Slater made 76 from 163 balls, batting for 192 minutes. He shared an opening partnership of Ben Duckett of 75. Joe Clarke came in at 4 and batted for 253 minutes, facing 190 balls, he made 112. I saw Joe score a century against Essex at Worcestershire last summer, he was a sight to behold. He was picked for the Lions over the Winter, but withdrawn after some peripheral involvement in a court case (he wasn’t on trial). He’s only 22 and has scored over 4000 first class runs. I hope he gets his chance with the full England team very soon.

Notts were all out for 408, with new signing Duanne Olivier taking 5 for 96 in 28 overs. Adam Lyth opening with Harry Brook (another young player worth keeping an eye on) made 81 from 129 balls, batting for 178 minutes. Joe Root came in at 4 with the score on 70 for 2, the much vaunted battle of Broad v Root was on. I imagine Yorkshire fans were very pleased to see Root at the crease, even more so when he scored 73 from 138 balls, batting for 222 minutes. Yorkshire made 291 with the wickets being shared amongst 3 bowlers.

4 Notts batsmen make my star player list, so I’m going to make my Notts star men list in the middle –

  • Ben Slater – 76 from 163 Balls
  • Ben Duckett – 42 from 51 Balls, 61 form 69 Balls
  • Chris Nash – 21 from 37 Balls, 75 from 152 Balls
  • Joe Clarke – 112 from 190 Balls, 97 from 125 Balls
  • Steven Mullaney – 31 from 44 Balls, 52 from 50 Balls

Those 2nd innings scores with a few more added in gave Notts a total of 329 for 5, on which they declared, in a bid to get a result in this game.

However, along came Gary Ballance and Joe Root, batting at 3 and 4 they put on 253 and batted out the rest of the day, giving their team a valuable draw. Ballance made 101 from 224 balls, batting for 274 minutes, Root made 130 from 189 balls, batting for 256 minutes. A very decent start for the England captain at the start of an Ashes Summer!

Yorkshire Star Men

  • Duanne Olivier – 5 for 96, 2 for 66
  • Adam Lyth – 81 from 129 Balls
  • Joe Root – 73 from 138 Balls, 130 from 189 Balls
  • Gary Ballance – 7 , 101 from 224 Balls

Hampshire v Essex

Another no toss game, Essex put Hampshire in to bat, a decision they would regret as the day wore on. Hants have an impressive batting line up, I’m looking forward to watching Aiden Markram batting later in the summer, and my favourite batsman outside of Essex Sam Northeast started his second season at the Ageas Bowl.

Markram made 63 from 96 balls batting for 130 minutes, a great start in the County Championship, but it was Northeast who went big, he made 169, batting for 338 minutes and facing 255 balls. He’s never featured for England which I find quite unbelievable, I believe he was in contention at some level last summer, but had a bad finger break early in the season. Hopefully this innings will be the start of a great summer for him!

Rilee Roussow who’s had a good winter playing T20 switched back to red ball cricket well, scoring 76 from 66 balls. Liam Dawson won hearts in the Pakistan Superleague and similarly fared well against the red ball, he made 64 from 134 balls. With a few other contributions Habts declared on 525 for 8, with the wickets being shared amongst the Essex bowlers.

Sir Alastair Cook opened for Essex, becoming the first Sir to play in the County Championship, his season started with a half century, he was the top scorer as Essex slumped to 164 for 9. That 9 was all out as Adam Wheater broke his hand/finger early in the Hants innings, leaving Essex a batsman short. With a like for like substitute now allowed for concussion, a break should surely offer up the same opportunity, that can’t be faked.

Fidel Edwards took 5 for 51 in 14.3 destructive overs leaving Essex following on and Hants with time to bowl them out again.

Essex found themselves on 27 for 3 and that innings defeat was looming. Ravi Bopara had a stand of 67 with Tom Westley before Westley fell victim to Edwards. But, Bopara was sticking in there, he made 107 from 191 balls, batting for 283 minutes. (Another player who’s spent the winter playing T20) I was watching on the BBC App at work, seeing the runs and time tick by.

Bopara and Ryan ten Doeshate had a stand of 64 then Bopara and Simon Harmer, who’d finished 2018 with a century at The Oval, made 111 before Bopara was out to Kyle Abbot. Essex had moved to 269 for 6. Harmer was following Bopara back to the pavilion not long after, but he’d scored 62 from 138 balls, batting for 134 minutes, he makes the star men list. Kyle Abbot took 5 for 77 in just over 19 overs helping to bowl Essex out for 274 (for those 9 wickets again). Hampshire won by an innings and 87 runs.

Star Men

  • Alastair Cook – 50 from 82 Balls
  • Fidel Edwards – 5 for 51, 3 for 49
  • Aiden Markram – 63 from 96 Balls
  • Sam Northeast – 169 from 255 Balls
  • Rilee Roussow – 76 from 66 Balls
  • Liam Dawson – 64 from 134 Balls
  • Ravi Bopara – 37 rom 69, 107 from 191 Balls
  • Simon Harmer – 62 from 138 Balls
  • Kyle Abbot – 2 for 38, 5 for 77

The photos on my MacBook aren’t working and I’ve written more than I’d planned, so hopefully I’ll add photos tomorrow after writing up Division 2

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