4 weeks of Thursday starts for the County Championship so far and we’ve watched and pined to be there. The coverage has been it has to be said top drawer, but you just cannot beat sitting in the ground and hearing the sound of leather on willow. 7 counties hadn’t recorded a win before this round, could any of them get that elusive first win? Could those who’ve shone so far strengthen their cases for an England berth? Let’s look at how things unfolded –
Derbyshire v Nottinghamshire – The Incora Ground, Derby. Wayne Madden won the toss for Derbyshire and put Notts in to bat. – Nottinghamshire won by 310 runs
Nottinghamshire 256 All Out & 318 All Out. Derbyshire 105 All Out & 159 All Out
Sadly for Hameed watchers he was out for a second ball duck in Notts first innings. However his opening partner Ben Slater batting for nearly 4 hours and facing 191 balls scored 107, Joe Clarke, batting at 4 shared a partnership of 163 with Slater, scoring 66 from the 95 balls he faced. 7 players contributed under 20 or a duck, Notts batted for 68.4 overs and made 256
Matt Critchley scored 449 runs in Derbyshire’s first 3 games, at an average of 74.8, he was teh top scorer in Derbyshire’s innings of 105, making 33 from 30 balls. The whole innings lasted only 34.5 overs and it contained 4 Ducks. Luke Fletcher took 5 for 28 in 14.5 overs.
Haseeb Hameed didn’t disappoint in Notts second innings he was the highest scorer with 94 from 142 balls, batting for just over 3.5 hours. He shared a partnership of 157 with Ben Duckett who scored 87 from 101 balls, batting for just over 2 hours. Joe Clarke scored 53 from 68 balls. Fynn Hudson-Prentice took 4 for 40 in 12.4 overs, but Notts had built a big lead when bowled out for 318.
Derbyshire’s second innings lasted a little longer, 41.5 overs. Ben Aitchison batting at 9 top scored for Derbyshire in the match, scoring 50 from 49 balls. Stuart Broad making a rare appearance for his county took 4 for 37 in his 13 overs.
This was Notts first county cricket win since 2018! Which is quite remarkable when you look at their playing roster! Derbyshire remain without a win after 4 games. A win for Nottinghamshire by 310 runs.
Durham v Warwickshire – Emirates Riverside, Chester-le-Street. Scott Borthwick won the toss for Durham and put Warwickshire in to bat. Durham won by an innings and 127 runs
Warwickshire 87 All Out & 177 All Out. Durham 391 for 9 dec.
Having played club cricket last weekend Mark Wood was part of the bowling attack for Durham. Unsurprisingly the highest score for Warwickshire was Liam Norwell with 25 batting at 10. Wood took 3 wickets but Ben Raine took 5 for 9 in his 13 overs! Figures he won’t forget! An innings Warwickshire won’t forget for very different reasons.
Durham’s batsmen seemed to be playing on a different pitch: Their openers each made a century and put on 208 for the first wicket. Alex Lees scored 129 from 353 balls, he batted for nearly 8.5 hours, his opening partner Will Young (not of the singing variety!) made 124 from 274 balls, batting for just over 5.5 hours. They laid the foundation for a match winning score of 391 for 9, the innings lasted for 145 overs. Over 100 more overs than the 42.5 overs of Warwickshire’s innings!
Warwickshire made a better job of their second innings, but that still only extended to 67.3 overs. Meaning their 2 innings were shorter by some stretch than Durham’s first and only. Brydon Carse took 5 for 49 in his 14 overs. A win for Durham by an innings and 127 runs.
Worcestershire v Essex – New Road, Worcester. Tom Westley won the toss for Essex and elected to bat. Match Drawn.
Essex 561 for 8, Worcestershire 364 All Out & 129 for 2
Essex’s top order batsmen in common with a few others hadn’t had the best of season’s so far. Nick Browne was out for 26, but Sir Alastair Cook batted long and well, making 115 from 2643 balls, he was at the crease for 5.5 hours.he and Tom Westley shared a partnership of 139. Westley went on to add a century to his 213 from Essex’s home match against the same opposition. He scored 123 from 256 balls batting for much the same time as Cook. Dan Lawrence scored 90 from 155 balls and Paul Walter 65 from 103 balls. Simon Harmer batting at 8 scored 57 from 51 balls. Essex declared on 561 for 8 after batting for 174 overs.
Did Essex leave themselves enough time to bowl Worcestershire out twice? While the grounds staff had done a great job to get the ground ready for cricket this season after it’s usual flooding issues the pitch was one that was unlikely to produce 20 wickets no matter how long Essex had. Both Daryl Mitchell and Brett D’Oliveira scored 67 in the first innings, from 141 and 150 balls respectively. Tom Fell made 53 from 162 balls as The innings lasted fro 138.1 overs. Tom Westley chose to ask the home team to bat again, with most of Day 4 remaining, with a score of 198 needed for Worcestershire to win. Simon Harmer and Sam Cook took 4 wickets each.
Worcestershire scored 129 for 2 in the 57 overs bowled with Jake Libby, captain for the match scoring 52 from 139 balls. The game finished in what was an inevitable draw. Match Drawn
Gloucestershire v Leicestershire – Chris Dent won the toss for Gloucestershire and put Leicestershire in to bat. Gloucestershire won by 6 wickets
Leicestershire 421 All Out & 201 for 9, Gloucestershire 275 All Out & 348 for 6
Leicestershire’s first was another innings containing 2 centuries, Opener Sam Evans scored 102 from 263 balls, batting for just over 5.5 hours and Lewis Hill in at 5 made 121 from 221 balls, he batted for 4.75 hours. Marcus Harris contributed 62 from 145 balls and Ben Mike 54 from 114 balls. The innings lasted for 144.1 0vers.
Chris Dent opening for Gloucestershire top scored with 53 from 83 balls. My eyes were drawn to the extras total on this one, 41! That included 22 NO Balls and was the 3rd highest ‘scorer’. Chris Wright took 7 for 53 in 24.2 overs.
Rishi Patel (A talented young batsman from Essex) top scored with 44 in Leicestershire’s second innings. Ryan Higgins took 5 for 62 in 16.4 overs. Callum Parkinson, looking for the win declared after 49.4 overs with 201 on the board.
The declaration didn’t pay off for Leicestershire as Gloucestershire had a partnership of 224 for the 4th wicket to put them in pole position. Tom Lace scored 97 from 179 balls batting for just under 4 hours, Ian Cockbain faced exactly the same number of balls for his 117, taking 3 minutes longer. Extras are noteworthy again in this innings, with 16 No Balls in the 39 conceded. Gloucestershire reached the runs required in 78.2 overs. With over 80 extras given during the match! A win for Gloucestershire by 6 wickets
Somerset v Middlesex – The Ccooper Associates County Ground, Taunton. Tom Abell won the toss for Somerset and put Middlesex in to bat. Somerset won by 4 wickets.
Middlesex 357 All Out & 117 All Out. Somerset 268 All Out & 209 for 6
Having lost Sam Robson for just 6 Max Holden fell just short of his 50 he shared a partnership of 65 with Nick Gubbins who scored 75 from 138 balls, batting for just over 2 hours. Robbie White playing without the keepers gloves, batted for just under 4.5 hours scoring 92 from 224 balls. a couple of innings in the 30’s helped take Middlesex to 357.
George Bartlett top scored in Somerset’s first innings, he scored 55 from 114 balls. 4 others made between 38 & 41. Steven Finn took 5 for 77 in his 20 overs, Somerset were bowled out in 80.2 overs for 268.
A 50 over innings for Middlesex saw them bowled out for just 117, Max Holden top scored with just 30. Craig Overton took 5 for 34 in his 19 overs. A win for Somerset by 4 wickets.
Surrey v Hampshire – The Oval, London. Rory Burns won the toss for Surrey and put Hampshire in to bat. Surrey won by an innings and 289 runs.
Hampshire 92 All Out & 179 All Out. Surrey 560 for 7 dec.
Hampshire lasted just 34.3 overs as they were despatched for just 92. Jordan Clark took 6 for 21 in 10.3 overs. The top score was 31 for Leweis McManus.
Another case of the team batting second batting on a different pitch as the sublime Hashim Amla went big, making 215 from 367 balls, he batted for just over 8 hours, another innings this season that deserved the adulation of a live audience, worryingly he retired injured. Oh to have been there to see his partnership with Ollie Pope, they made 257 and Pope 131 from 173 balls, his innings lasting for just under 4 hours. He’d made a double century against Leicestershire and is also a delight to watch. Jamie Smith contributed 78 from 100 balls as Surrey built to 560 in an innings that lasted for 142.5 overs.
McManus was again the highest scorer in Somerset’s second innings, this time making 51 from 129 balls. Kemar Roach (Who I hadn’t noticed at Surrey before this match!) took 8 for 40 in 18.3 overs. A win for Surrey by an innings and 289 runs.
Glamorgan v Kent – Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. Chris Cooke won the toss for Glamorgan and put Kent in to bat. Glamorgan won by 10 wickets
Kent 138 All Out & 74 All Out , Glamorgan 197 All Out & 19 for 0
Kent’s Opening batsmen and Zak Crawley at 3 scored 31. 30 and 33, but 17 was the next highest score and * players scored 8 or less. 2 bowlers took 4 wickets, Timm van der Gugten with 4 for 41 and David Lloyd 4 for 41. Kent were bowled out for 138 in 45.3 overs.
David Lloyd added 62 runs to his 4 wickets, opening the batting, he faced 103 balls, batting for nearly 3 hours. Billy Root scored 37 but the remaining 9 batsmen scored 18 and under. On his 45th birthday Darren Stevens took 5 for 53 in 23 overs. Glamorgan were bowled out in 61.5 overs for 197.
It took Glamorgan just 26.5 overs to despatch Kent on Day 2, in a total of 74 no player scored above 14. Michael Hogan took 5 for 28 in his 10 overs.
Glamorgan scored the runs needed to win in just 2.2 overs and the game was over on Day 2. I imagine a few Kent fans were relieved they weren’t there, booked in for the full 4! A win for Glamorgan by 10 wickets
Sussex v Lancashire – The 1st Central County Ground, Hove. Ben Brown won the toss for Sussex and elected to bat. Lancashire won by 5 wickets.
Sussex 328 All Out & 154 All Out, Lancashire 230 All Out & 255 for 5
Sussex’s opener Aaron Thomason was out for an 11 ball duck. But Tom Haines and Stiaan van Zyl put on 133 for the second wicket. Haines made 58 from 93 balls and van Zyl 79 from 145 balls. The key difference betwene this innings and the first inings at teh Sophia Gardens is that the batsman from 4 to 8 scored 153 between them. An innings of 102.2 0vers and Sussex made 328.
Keaton Jennings opening top scored for Lancs with 60 from 151 balls in an innings that lasted for 98.2 overs. Jack Carson took 4 for 51 in 29 overs.
Sussex’s second innings saw the wickets shared between 5 bowlers as the top score was 45 for Delray Rawlins
There was some urgency in opener Alex Davies’ innings, he scored 73 from 59 balls, in 84 minutes. His partner Keaton Jennings played a far more patient innings, making 91 from 194 balls over the space of just under 4.5 hours. That opening pair helped Lancashire to the runs required in 68.2 overs. A win for Lancashire by 5 wickets,
Yorkshire v Northamptonshire. Emerald Headingley, Leeds. Ricardo Vasconcelos won the toss for Northants and put Yorkshire in to bat. Yorkshire won by 1 run.
Yorkshire 206 All Out & 247 All Out, Northamptonshire 234 All Out & 218 All Out
Dom Bess seems to be enjoying his move to Yorkshire, batting at 7 he was the top scorer in their first innings with 56 from 95 balls. Wayne Parnell took 5 for 64 in 15.3 overs. Yorkshire were bowled out in 63.3 overs for 206.
Northants innings last for 88.5 overs a 6th wicket partenership between Saif Zaib and Tom Taylor of 92 helped their cause. Zaib top scored with 55 from 134 balls and Taylor made 50 from 142 balls, The wickets were shared between 4 bowlers.
Batting at 10, David Willey was the top socrer in Yorkshire’s second innings, he scored 41 from 73 balls. Wayne Parnell made it 10 wickets for the match with 5 for 64 in his 15.3 overs. A win for Yorkshire by 1 run
I was keeping an eye on the Northants chase while watching European Rugby, as a neutral a win for them would have been an amazing result. Sadly they fell short by a solitary run. The captain Ricardo Vasconcelos top scored with 41 and Wayne Parnell kept Northants hopes alive with a spirited 33. But the Yorkshire bowlers did the job for the home team, the wickets were shared between 4 bowlers.
At the end of the fourth round of games 4 counties are yet to register a win, Worcestershire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Kent. The Tables show a close thing in Group one with the strong Northern rivals running away in Group 3.