The County Championship is back, but not quite as we know it! Instead of the 18 counties in 2 Divisions we have, 3 groups of 6. Each team will play 10 matches. At the end of that set of games the top 2 from each group will move into Division 1 for the next phase of the competition. The team that finishes top of Division 1 will be crowned Champions and the top 2 will battle it out for the Bob Willis Trophy.
So, how did Round 1 go in early April? We had bad light, rain and snow! But that’s happened for years, I can recall being sat at the County Ground in Chelmsford and having snow stop play. Here are the stats and facts for each match with some stand out performances.
Essex v Worcestershire – The County Ground, Chelmsford. The toss was won by Tom Westley for Essex, he elected to bat.
Essex 490 for 9 & 28 for 1, Worcestershire 475 All Out – Match Drawn
Essex made 490 for 9 with Westley himself starring with 213, he batted for just under 9 hours, facing 408 balls, hitting 32 Fours as he went. 2020 wasn;t the bets year for Westley with the bat, in spite of his team wining the Bob Willis Trophy in his first year as captain. Adam Wheater added an important 87 batting at 7.
While Essex’s captain impressed with the bat Jake Libby who opened for Worcestershire carried his bat having been in the field for the best part of 2 days, he then batted for the best part of 2 making 180 from 496 balls, he batted for just under 11.5 hours. Worcestershire made 475 Ed Barnard also starred with the bat, scoring 128 from 263 balls, batting for just under 5.5 hours.
Essex batted for 157.4 overs and Worcestershire 177.3, Essex batted for a further 10 overs but all of that added up to a Draw.
Nottinghamshire v Durham – Trent Bridge, Nottingham. Steven Mullaney won the toss for Nottinghamshire putting Durham in to bat.
Durham 330 All Out & 332 for 4 Dec, Nottinghamshire 267 All Out & 298 for 5 – Match Drawn
Jack Lees opened with Michael Jones for Durham, his partner was out for a Duck after facing just 4 balls, but Lees made 58 from 146 balls. No huge totals in this innings, but David Bedingham made 57 from 89 balls and Ben Raine 59 from 121. Durham faced 121.2 overs and made 330 in their first innings.
Durhams second innings saw 2 centuries, Bedingham was 180 not out, 180 from 228 balls, he shared a 5th wicket partnership of 254 with Ned Eckersley who scored 113 from 135 balls. The innings was declared on 332 for 4.
Nottinghamshire were bowled out in just 74.1 overs for 267 in their first innings. Tom Moores managed to shine finishing not out on 96 from 151 balls. Two bowlers took 4 wickets apiece Matthew Salisbury took 4 for 74 in 19 overs and Brydon Carse 4 for 86 in 16.1 0vers.
Durham were going for the win with their declaration but the Notts batsmen were more resolute in their second innings, Opener Ben Slater scored 73 from 158 balls, Lyndon James 79 from 155 and Steven Mullaney 69 from 97. They made 298 for 5 in the 83.3 overs possible. Another Draw.
Warwickshire v Derbyshire – Edgbaston, Birmingham. Will Rhodes won the toss for Warwickshire, he put Derbyshire in to bat.
Derbyshire 189 All Out & 244 All Out, Warwickshire 221 All Out and 7 for 0 – Match Drawn
Derbyshire were bowled out in 78.2 overs making 189, Opener Luis Reece scored 63 from 144 balls and Matthew Critchley 64 from 97. Liam Norwell took 5 fro 32 in 18 overs.
Derbyshire’s second innings lasted fewer overs 72.4 but they made 244. Critchley again top scoring for his team with 83 from 158 balls, Harvey Hosein scored 78 from 145. Another 5fer for Oliver Hannon-Dalby took 5 for 76 from 20 overs.
Warwickshire’s first innings followed a similar theme, they were bowled out in 75.2 overs making 221. Matthew Lamb top scored with 54 from 113 balls. The wickets were shared between 6 bowlers. Their second innings was only 4.1 overs in duration. A Draw.
Gloucestershire v Surrey – The Bristol County Ground, Bristol. The toss was won by Chris Dent for Gloucestershire, he put Surrey in to bat.
Surrey 220 All Out & 333 All Out, Gloucestershire 326 All Out & 229 for 2 – Gloucestershire won by 8 wickets
Surrey were bowled out in 70.3 overs making 220. The sublime Hashim Amla top scored with 56 from 99 balls. Josh Shaw took 4 for 48 from 16 overs.
Surrey’s second innings lasted longer, 104 overs, they made 333. Rory Burns opening made 74 from 130 balls and Ben Foakes batting for 5.7 hours made 133 runs from 250 balls. Matt Taylor took 4 for 94 in 29 overs.
Gloucestershire made 326 in their first innings batting for 94 overs. Chris Dent scored 78 from 96 balls and Tom Lace scored 65 from 137 balls. Reece Topley playing his first red ball game for a while took 5 for 66 in 24 overs.
Gloucestershire made the necessary runs in 37.1 overs, With Dent and Lace shining with the bat again.. Dent was 91 not out from 97 balls and Graeme van Buren 110 from just 98. A win in this round of games at last!
Leicestershire v Hampshire – The Uptonsteel County Ground, Leicester. The toss was won by James Vince who elected to bat.
Hampshire 612 for 5 dec, Leicestershire 202 All Out & 305 All Out – Hampshire won by an innings and 105 runs.
There were 3 centurions in Hampshire’s mighty innings. Tom Alsop scored 119 from 204 balls, Liam Dawson 152 from 139, but it was the captain, James Vince who top scored, he batted for just under 5.5 hours scoring 231 from the 220 balls he faced. Vince is a beautiful batsman to watch, the second double century of the round I imagine it was a sight to behold.
Leicestershire were bowled out for 76.5 overs in their first innings, scoring just 202. Harry Swindells top scored with 59 from 109 balls. Kyle Abbot and Mason Crane took 3 wickets each.
Leicestershire’s second innings lasted another 19 overs, they made 303. Harry Dearden scored 62 from 102 balls, Lewis Hill 65 from 121. Crane took a further 3 wickets. A win for Hampshire
Middlesex v Somerset – Lord’s London. Tom Abell won the toss for Somerset and he put Middlesex in to bat.
Middlesex 313 All Out & 143 All Out, Somerset 172 All Out & 285 for 6 – Somerset won by 4 wickets
Sam Robson opening for Middlesex batted for just over 5.5 hours scoring 165 from the 263 balls he faced. Lewis Gregory took 5 for 68 in 20 overs. Middlesex made 313 in 102.4 overs.
Middlesex’s second innings was only 51.4 overs long. Steve Eskinazi top scored with 53 in an innings of just 143. Craig Overton, Josh Davey and Jack Leach each took 3 wickets.
Somerset’s first innings lasted just 48.5 overs, Marchant de Lange scored 51 of the 172 made. Tim Murtagh took 4 for 46 in 14 overs.
Tom Abell played a captain’s innings in Somerset’s second, scoring 84 from 145 balls, George Bartlett contributed 76 from 150 balls. Somerset reached the total required in 71.2 overs. A win for Somerset.
Lancashire v Sussex – Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester. The toss was won by Be Brown of Sussex who elected to bat.
Sussex 301 All Out & 103 for 2, Lancashire 407 All Out – Match Drawn as play was abandoned due to snow!
Tom Haines opening for Sussex batted for just under 6 hours scoring 155 from the 263 balls he faced. Ollie Robinson chipped in with 59 from 116 balls, The innings lasted for 100.4 overs and Sussex scored 301.
Sussex scored 103 for 2 in teh 56.3 overs they faced in their second innings.
Another big innings in Lancashire’s innings, Captain Dane Vilas batted for just over 6 hours scoring 180 from the 252 balls he faced. Alex Davies opening scored 61 from 124 balls and Rob Jones 58 from 102. They made 407. The match was a Draw.
Northamptonshire v Kent – The County Ground, Northampton. The toss was won by dam Rossington for Northamptonshire, he puy Kent in to bat.
Kent 455 All Out & 42 for 1, Northamptonshire 434 All Out – Match Drawn
The star of the show for Kent was 44 year old Darren Stevens, playing his 25th summer of County Cricket he batted for 3.75 hours scoring 116 from the 134 balls he faced. Jack Leaning scored 79 from 170 balls and Ollie Robinson 84 from 123 balls. The wickets were shared between 6 bowlers.
Kent batted for 13.1 overs in their second innings scoring 41 for 1.
Northamptonshire were due to be in Division 1 in 2020 having achieved promotion in 2019, this innings against a team that had been there for a few years suggests they’d have fared ok. Opener Ricardo Vasconcelos scored 154 from 209 balls, he batted for just over 5 hours. Batting at 6 Rob Keogh scored 124 from 280 balls batting for just over 6 hours. Harry Podmore took 4 for 77 in 21.4 overs. The match was drawn
Yorkshire v Glamorgan – Emerald Headingley, Leeds. Jonathan Tattersall won the toss for Yorkshire and put Glamorgan in to bat.
Glamorgan 330 All Out & 241 for 4 dec, Yorkshire 193 All out & 223 for 4 – Match Drawn snow meant only 1 session was possible on Day 3
Timm van der Gugten coming in to bat at 9 top scored for Gloucestershire with 85 from 145 balls, he shared 1 72 run 9th wicket partnership with Michael Hogan whi scored 54 from 53 balls. Kiran Carlson scored 55 from 79. Ben Coad took 4 for 94 in 26 overs.
Billy Root playing against his brother Joe starred in Glamorgan’s second innings scoring 110 from 217 balls, he was joined in a partnership of 212 by Chris Cooke who scored 102 from 213 balls. Looking for a result Gloucestershire declared on 241 for 4.
Yorkshire were bowled out in 58.2 overs, opener Adam Lyth top scored with 52 from 70 balls in a total of 193. The wickets were shared between 6 bowlers.
Adam Lyth went one better in Yorkshire’s second innings, he batted for just under 4 hours scoring 115 from the 196 balls he faced. Captain Tattersall was not out 60. the innings was 66 overs and time ran away. Match Drawn.