To my absolute delight I booked 2 days at Derby to watch Essex play Derbyshire, my first County Cricket for nearly 2 years! I rocked up to the ground at around 10am to be asked to sit in my car. The news at that time was that Derbyshire wanted the game abandoned due to ground conditions and that 2 officials agreed, but 2 didn’t and Essex wanted to play. The next piece of news as the queue outside the ground started to grow was that Essex were refusing to come to the ground. I chatted to a couple of fellow fans and we waited. Eventually a ‘more important looking’ security man appeared to let the queue know that the match was abandoned due to a positive lateral flow test amongst the Derbyshire team. I was so disappointed I could have cried! But, I sat for a while and thought about what I could do for the day. I moved my hotel for that night to a later date and picked a National Trust property to visit (Calke Abbey), so I do have some photos to include! They just aren’t cricket. Reaching Division 1 wasn’t in Essex’s hands but this scenario definitely made it a no go! A look at what happened around the rest of the country now I’ve had my ramble. The ECB have since declared the match a draw, not the only one to need their intervention.

Durham v Nottinghamshire – Emirates Riverside Durham, Scott Borthwick won the toss for Durham and put Nottinghamshire in to bat. Match Drawn.

Durham 165 All Out & 188 for 4, Nottinghamshire 328 All Out & 217 All Out

Ben Slater opening scored 60 from 125 balls after seeing his opening partner bowled by the prolific Chris Rushworth for 12, Ben Compton at 3 also fell to Rushworth, leaving Notts on 59 for 2. Slater then shared a partnership of 71 with Joe Clarke. Clarke made 48 from 88. Notts top scorer was Liam Patterson-White batting at 7, he scored 73 from 116 balls, batting for nearly 3 hours. Rushworth was the pick of the bowlers with 4 for 75 from his 26.2 overs. The Notts innings lasted 100.2 overs. I’m going to start my No Ball watch early this week, there were 12 in the innings.

Durham were bowled out in 54.1 overs as Joey Evison, a 19 year old who made his debut in 2019, took 5 for 21 in his 8 overs, those overs included 2 maidens. In a total of 165 the top scorer was captain Borthwick with 38, he faced 89 balls and batted for just over 2 hours. There were 6 No Balls.

An innings that lasted 64.3 overs saw Haseeb Hameed scoring 58 from 117 balls, batting for nearly 3 hours, his was the only score above 25. Scott Borthwick took 4 for 32 in just 5.3 overs. 6 No Balls in this innings.

This was a match heading to a draw, and in the 55 overs bowled, opener Michael Jones top scored with 46 from 95 balls. Durham made 188 for 4 and there were just 2 No Balls.

Worcestershire v Warwickshire – New Road, Worcester, Will Rhodes won the toss for Warwicks and elected to bat. Match Drawn.

Warwickshire 395 All Out & 215 for 2 dec, Worcestershire 447 for 9

Opener Rob Yates was trapped LBW by Joe Leach in the first over for a Duck, not the best of starts for Warwickshire, but, then, Dom Sibley and Pieter Malan put on 220 for the second wicket, with Malan scoring 141 from 207 balls, batting for just over 4 hours. Sibley scored 80 from his 189 balls batting for just a little longer than Malan. Will Rhodes in at 5 scored 60 from 103 balls as Warwickshire built a big innings. They batted for 120.2 overs. In the midst of all those runs Ish Sodhi took 6 for 89 in his 30.2 overs – Just the 4 No Balls in this innings.

Daryl Mitchell opening for Worcestershire saw his fellow opener and No 3 bat both despatched early as Worcs fell to 73 for 2, he shared a 3rd wicket partnership of 130 with Jack Haynes, Haynes made 65 from 161 balls and Mitchell scored 113 from 280 balls, batting for just over 5 hours. Ed Barnard batting at 6 went big for the second time with 112 from 222 balls. That took him to 580 runs for the season so far with an average of 64.44. & bowlers shared the 174 overs, 4 of them shared the wicket, and only bowled 2 No Balls.

This was another game heading for a Draw and in the 59.5 overs bowled Warwickshire scored 215 for 2, Yates had a happier time scoring 88 from 173 balls, he and Sibley shared a first innings stand of 76 before Malan entered the fray, scoring 77 from 100 balls. & bowlers used again and in a hallelujah moment zero No Balls!

Gloucestershire v Hampshire – College Ground, Cheltenham, James Bracey won the toss for Gloucestershire and elected to bat. Hampshire won by 7 wickets.

Gloucestershire 229 All Out 310 All Out & , Hampshire 487 for 7 dec & 56 for 3.

Gloucestershire batted for 73.4 overs after a promising opening partnership of 61, after a torrid time with England Bracey, who was picked on his good form so far this year was out for a 7 ball Duck. which saw 61 for 1 turn into 72 for 3. Glenn Phillips was the top scorer with 47 from 77 balls. Colin de Grandhomme was the pick of the bowlers with 4 for 31 in his 18 overs. Just the 4 No Balls.

Hampshire’s captain James Vince was covering himself in glory against Pakistan at Edgbaston; scoring his first One Day century and helping England to a 3 nil series win. His Hampshire team mates weren’t too shoddy themselves, they’ve had an up and down season with the bat so far, this was definitely an up innings! Joe Weatherly and Ian Holland shared an opening partnership of 174, with Hollnd scoring 74 from 157 and Weatherley 78 from 177. Nick Gubbins played the big innings at 4, he scored 137 from 248 balls, batting for nearly 6 hours. Lewis McManus with 39 and Keith Barker with 39 contributed important runs. However Extras was the second highest score at 81! With 20 No Balls and a notable 48 Byes! The innings lasted for 143 overs and 7 bowlers were used, Ryan Higgins took 3 for 92 in his 35 overs, in what must have been a difficult innings in the field.

Gloucestershire were the surprise package early in the season but this match would put paid to their Division 1 chances sadly. Tom Lace batting at 4 did his best to keep his team hanging in there, he scored 118 from 241 balls, batting for just over 5 hours. Extras was the next highest score at 30, with 8 No Balls and 12 Byes, not quite the 81 in the Hampshire innings but still high! The innings lasted for 126.1 overs and the 7 shared the wickets,

Hampshire needed just 10.3 overs to reach the runs required, Daniel Worral took 3 for 21 in his 5.3.

Middlesex v Leicestershire – Merchant Taylor’s School, NorthwoodTim Murtagh won the toss for Middlesex and elected to bat. Middlesex won by 121 runs

Middlesex 324 for 9 & 196 All Out , Leicestershire 228 All Out & 171 All Out

Sam Robson opening scored 154 from 277 balls, batting for nearly 7 hours, he saw his team mates falter around him, Steve Eskinazi retifred hurt, and Robson did share a 2nd wicket partnership of 98 with Max Holden, but Holden only contributed 28 from his 58 balls. The 3rd wicket partnership was 95, Daryl Mitchell scored 38 of those runs from his 90 balls. The innings lasted 108.4 overs and there were 10 No Balls. Will Davis took 5 for 66 in his 27.4 overs.

Colin Ackermann, Leicestershire’s captain has had a decent season with the bat so far and his innings of 82 from 226 balls was the top score in this one. He shared a 4th wicket stand with Josh Inglis who scored 49 from 81 balls. The wickets were shared between 4 bowlers and teh 5 used bowled 86 overs and 8 No Balls.

Whatever it was that ailed Eskinazi had improved enough to see him make the top score in Middlesex’s second innings, he made 66 from 184 balls as they were bowled out in 77.4 overs. Callum Parkinson took 4 for 35 in 20.4 overs and the 5 bowlers bowled 8 No Balls.

Middlesex with only one win to their name before this game secured their second in 61 overs, captain Tim Murtagh was the best of the bowlers with 4 for 36 as his team bowled Leicestershire out in 61 overs. Inglis top scored with 52 from 85 balls, Marcus Harris scored 46 but no one else scored over 20. Another zero No Ball count!

Surrey v Somerset – The Oval, London, James Hildreth won the toss and elected to bat. Match Drawn.

Somerset 429 All Out & 69 All Out, Surrey 240 All Out & 106 for 4.

James Hildreth shone in Somerset’s innings, he came in with the score on 113 for 3 and shared a 4th wicket partnership with Lewis Goldsworthy of 144, Hildreth made 107 from 22 balls, I imagine that was a lovely innings to witness. with 4 innings over 40 a large score of 429 was the result that was achieved in 148.5 overs, 7 bowlers were used. There was much excitement at Ravi Ashwin playing for Surrey, he opened the bowling (unusual) and took 1 for 99 in his 43 overs, he was outshine by home grown spinner Amar Virdi who took 3 for 86 in his 29 overs. Just the 2 No Balls.

Surrey had a first wicket stand of 98 to be going on with, Rory Burns scoring 50 from 122 before he was out, his partner Mark Stoneman made 67 from 167 balls but there was no big score in this Surrey innings. They were bowled out in 114.1 overs for 240. Jack Leach took 6 for 43 in his 35.1 overs (The star spinner so far!) Just the 2 No balls

Somerset’s innings couldn’t have been more different to their first as they were bowled out in 29.1 overs and yes, Ravi Ashwin was the star of this show, he took 6 for 27 in 15 overs – therefore the best bowling of the game! Daniel Moriarty took 4 for 20 in his 7.1 overs. Unsurprisingly not a single No Ball.

Surrey faced 41 overs in this draw and Roelef van der Merwe took 3 for 60 as Jamie Smith top scored with 46*. No, No Balls again!

Glamorgan v Northamptonshire – Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, Ricardo Vasconcelos won the toss for Northants and elected to bat – Match Drawn.

Northamptonshire 215 for 9 & 250 for 5, Glamorgan 462 for 4 dec.

Saif Zaib batting at 6 top scored with 50 from 95 balls batting for nearly 2 hours, Charlie Thurston scored 48 from 127 balls, the innings lasted for 77.3 overs and extras were the 4th highest score with 23, just 2 No Balls but 23 Leg Byes! Andrew Salter took 4 for 18 in his 10.3 overs.

A very interesting score card for Glamorgan’s innings, Marnus Labuschagne who hasn’t had the best of summers so far scored 77 from 103 balls sahring a 3rd wicket partnership of 122 with Billy Root who scored 45. Two very big scores contributed to the 462 – Kiran Carlson scored 170 from 227 balls in just over 4 hours and Chris Cooke 133 from 208 in just 3 minutes less. 7 bowlers were used and not a single No Ball!

Northants batted for 92.4 overs making 250 for 5 Rob Keogh top scored with 71 in 137 balls Harry Gouldstone came close to his score with 67 from 199 balls. 8 Bowlers were used and Michael Neser took 3 of the 5 wickets for 52 in his 20 overs. A low, No ball game, just 2 in this innings.

Kent v Sussex – The Spitfire Ground, Canterbury, Heino Kuhn won the toss for Kent and put Sussex in to bat – Match Drawn.

Kent 165 All Out & 275 for 7, Sussex 181 All Out & 332 for 4 dec

Kent faced a Covid ‘situation’ before this match started and were forced to pick an entirely new side, including several debutants. It took them just 57.5 overs to bowl Sussex out, James Coles batting at 6 top scored with 36 from 60 balls’ Jas Singh, who has been with Kent since he was 9 years old was the best of the bowlers taking 4 fo r51 in his 11 overs. No, No Balls!

Kent’s first innings was an even shorter affair, it lasted just 51.5 overs and it was Harry Podmore batting at 7 with the top score of 37 from 82 balls. Jamie Atkins took 5 for 52 in his 14 overs, there were 27 Extras in this one, including 10 No Balls.

Ali Orr who signed his first pro contract in 2021 having come through the Sussex pathway opened the batting and scored 119 from 254 balls sharing a first wicket partnership of 209 with Tom Haines who scored 94 from 233 balls. Ollie Robinson as captain declared after 99 overs with his team on 332 for 4. 23 Extras including 8 No Balls.

Kent haven’t won a game so far this season and were vying with Sussex for 6th place in their league, Harry Finch, previously of Sussex scored 115 fro 212 balls against his old team, batting for just over 5 hours that was more than enough to frustrate Sussex as teh gane dwindled to a draw in the 85.4 overs bowled. A huge 16 No Balls bowled by Sussex in this innings.That makes 26 overall for them in this game.

Yorkshire v Lancashire – Emerald Headingley, Leeds, Steven Patterson won the toss and put Lancashire in to bat – Match Drawn

Lancashire 411 for 2

This was another strange and frustrating affair, several matches in this round took part at outgrounds, this Roses match match was due to be played at Scarborough, a ground I’ve been lucky enough to watch Essex at twice, to the disappointment of members from both counties the match was moved to Headingley. That disappointment was compounded when the game was abandoned, eventually on Day 4 after very little play on Day 3. The state of the outfield in front of the new stand was an issue as water started to appear on a clear day. The same thing happened in 2018 when the match was abandoned without a ball being bowled. There had been rain but the issue appears to be with that end of the ground and a layer of thatch (no idea what that is?) that causes water to be retained. Would an international fixture have been abandoned? There was an unfortunate incident when Yorkshire bowler Dom Leech took a bad fall colliding with the concrete foundations of the West Stand, he was taken away o a stretcher I believe, I hope he makes a quick recovery.

Lancashire’s batters most definitely had their mojo as Keaton Jennings and Alex Davies shared a first wicket partnership of 163, Davies scored 84 from 173 balls in just under 4 hours. Jennngs then shared a partnership of 93 with Luke Wells. Jennings scored 132 from 253 balls batting for over 5.5 hours. Wells was 97* from 188 balls and Josh Bohannon 74* from 102 balls when play was halted.There were 24 extras but not a single No Ball.

TeamPlayed Won LostDrawn Points
Notts 10424151
Warwicks10415145
Durham10325132
Essex10325129
Worcs10136109
Derbyshire 1005572
Group 1
Team Played Won Lost Drawn Points
Somerset10415148
Hampshire10424145
Gloucestershire10532131
Surrey10226123
Leicestershire10244111
Middlesex 1027184
Group 2
Team Played Won Lost Drawn Points
Lancashire10415150
Yorkshire10514149
Glamorgan10226127
Northants102334123
Kent1003797
Sussex1015494
Group 3

That’s that for this phase of the competition, Division One consisting of Notts, Warwicks, Somerset, Hampshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire will compete to be named County Champions. Each team plays the 4 others they haven’t played, taking the points they scored against the team in their original league forward. The other teams will be split across 2 divisions with Durham, Essex, Gloucestershire, Surrey, Glamorgan and Northants being in Division 2. Leicestershire, Middlesex, Kent, Sussex, Worcestershire and Derbyshire will play in Division 2 – I am hoping to be at as many games as possible to ensure I can add cricket photos .

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