After what felt like a long Winter the new County Cricket season is finally here! Coinciding with the Easter holidays the timing along with the weather from Day 2 at least, around the country was pretty good. I sat in 4 layers at the first game last season and was still cold. Sun Cream wouldn’t have gone amiss at Lord’s yesterday! A days worth of Middlesex v Essex photos means I have plenty, but I am going to carry on with my weekly round ups in 2023. Starting this on Day 3 so I’m going with alphabetically. But first a look at the points system for 2023, things have changed for this summer, with the first batting point coming at 250 runs.

Glorious Lord’s

A team is awarded 16 points for a victory, with both sides earning eight points for a tie and five points apiece if a match is drawn. Any points scored in the first innings is added on. 

If the scores are equal in a drawn match where play has taken place, the side batting in the fourth innings scores eight points plus any points scored in the first innings, and the opposing side scores eight points plus any points scored in the first innings. 

First Innings Points are awarded only for performances in the first 110 overs of each first innings and retained whatever the result of the match. 

Batting Points

250 to 299 runs – 1 point

300 to 349 runs – 2 points

350 to 399 runs – 3 points

400 to 349 runs – 4 points

450 runs or over – 5 points

Bowling Points

3 to 5 wickets taken – 1 point

6 to 8 wickets taken – 2 points

9 to 10 wickets taken – 3 points

If a match is abandoned without a ball being bowled, each side scores eight points. 

Division 1

Hampshire v Nottinghamshire – The Ageas Bowl, Southampton. Steven Mullaney won the toss for Notts and elected to bat. Hampshire won by 8 wickets.

Nottinghamshire 185 All Out & 177 All Out. Hampshire 231 All Out and 132 for 2.

An away day at the Ageas Bowl was always going to be a tough beak for Notts first natch back in Division 1. They were bowled out in just 55.3 overs with Mohammad Abbas taking 6 for 49 in his 15.3 overs. Keeper Tom Moores top scored in Notts 185 with 49 from 82 balls, he batted for just over 2 hours.

Hampshire’s innings wasn’t much longer, just 77 overs; opener Fletcha Middleton scored 59 from 113 balls, the son of the Hants batting coach, Tony, I believe this was his CC debut. Hants were bowled out for 231 with the wickets shared between 4 bowlers.

Notts second innings was another quick one, it lasted just 69.4 overs. Haseeb Hammed and Ben Duckett made 53 for the first wicket. Duckett made 51 from 58 balls, Ben Slater in at 3 made 43 from 89 balls. Kyle Abbot was the best of the Hants bowlers with 4 for 39 from his 18 overs, Abbas added another 3 wickets to his tally.

Hampshire scored the required runs in 46.2 overs, with opener Fletcha Middleton scoring 65 and Nick Gubbins 54 in a 111 partnership.

Kent v Northamptonshire – The Spitfire Ground, Canterbury. Luke Proctor won the toss and put Northants in to bat. Kent won by 7 wickets.

Northants 117 All Out & 331 All Out, Kent 222 All Out & 227 for 3

Northants start to the 2023 season is one they’ll want to forget – they were bowled out in just 32.5 overs. Making 117 Ricardo Vasconcelos opened and made 39 from 70 balls, his was the 7th wicket to fall. Matthew Quinn was the best of the bowlers, taking 4 for 25 in his 9.5 overs.

I was keeping an eye on the scores while watching Essex at Lord’s and could see that Zak Crawley was digging in, he batted for over 4 hours, making 91 from 171 balls, an innings he was very much in need of. Crawleys was the 6th wicket to fall, Chris Truman took 5 for 44 in his 18 overs as Kent were bowled out for 222 on 69.4 overs.

Northants more than doubled their §1st innings score as they played 117.3 overs. Hassan Azad opening scored scored 51 from 116 balls and Rob Keogh batting at 5made 116 from 211 balls. Joey Evison was the best of the bowlers taking 4 for 62in his 25.3 overs.

Kent required just 64.5 overs to get the game won, the openers swapping places runs wise as Crawley was out for just 3, Ben Compton who had a brilliant 2022 scored 114 from 197 balls, Jack Leaning in at 5 scored 67 from 122 balls. Kent’s win sees them sitting 3rd win the table.

Lancashire v Surrey – Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester. Keaton Jennings won the toss for Lancs and put Surrey in to bat. Match Drawn.

Surrey 442 All Out & 392 for 6, Lancashire 291 All Out & 247 for 3

the 2022 Champions, Surrey picked up 11 more batting points than Hants, the next nearest county BP wise. They’ve started this season by picking up 4 batting points away from home, falling just short off their 5th. or some reason we’re still discussing whether Ben Foakes keeps the England gloves, his 76 runs from 149 balls won’t have harmed his case. He and Jamie Smith shared a 5th wicket stand of 87, Foakes then added 75 for the 6th wicket with Cameron Steel, In at 7 Steel made 141 from 182 balls, the 27 year ofd was born in America and has played for Durham/Middlesex/Durham/Hampshire and now Surrey who he joined on loan in 2021. Australian All rounder, Sean Abbot made 42 from 65 balls as Surrey chased that 450. Tom Bailey took 4 for 86 in his 25 overs as Surrey batted for 113 overs.

Lancashire made 291 in their 92.2 overs, with Keaton Jennings top scoring with 76 from 156 balls batting for just under 4 hours. Colin de Grandhomme scored 67 from 86 balls. Sean Abbot took 5 for 50 on his CC debut in just 20 overs.

Surrey batted for 65 overs with Rory Burns opening scoring 54 from 105 balls, but the Baseball innings of the day went to Ben Foakes who was 103 not out from 95 balls, again proving he’s. not just a one trick pony! Matt Parkinson took 5 of the 6 wickets for 120 runs.

Lancashire lost just 3 wickets in the 87.1 overs they batted for, Josh Bohannon batting at 3 scored 108 from 187 balls, he and Steven Croft shared a 3rd wicket partnership of 173 with Croft finishing the day on 56 not out from 195 balls. A nailed on draw, captains are going to need to be brave with their declarations to get the wins this summer.

Middlesex v Essex – Lord’s Cricket Ground, London. Toby Roman-Jones won the toss for MIddlesex and put Essex in to bat. Essex won by 97 runs.

Essex 266 All Out & 211 All Out , Middlesex 170 All Out & 210 All Out

Day 1 was a short one but Middlesex took 3 wickets. I went on Day 2 to sit in glorious sunshine and was lucky enough to see Dan Lawrence reach his century, hitting the first six of 2023 as he progressed. Lawrence made 105 from 204 balls. He was kept company by Matt Critchley who scored a ‘leisurely’ 55 from 104 balls and his was the last wicket to fall as Essex lost 6 wickets for 53 runs. Toby Roland-Jones took 7 for 61 from his 27.1 overs.

T. he joy of a century for Dan Lawrence of Essex

The start of the Middlesex innings was to say the least, remarkable! Jamie Porter took 3 wickets in his first 2 overs and Sam Cook chipped in with the wicket of Mark Stoneman in the 4th over. Middlesex were 4 for 4 in the 4th over, without a single run from the bat, the 4 coming from 2 No Balls. Max Holden scored 6 before losing his wicket and Middlesex were 20 for 5. Keeper John Simpson and new signing Ryan Higgins put on 127 for the 6th wicket. Higgins made 70 from 127 and Simpson 63 from 183 balls. Simon Harmer took the wickets of Higgins and Luke Holman before Jamie Porter was at last brought back into the bowling attack, He got the next breakthrough Essex were looking for Despatching first Roloand-Jones then Simpson. Harmer trapped Tim Murthagh LBW in the last over of the day and Essex took a lead of 96 into their second innings.

6 wickets for Jamie Porter

Essex’s second innings lasted 63.2 overs and Matt Critchley was the top scorer with 53 from 80 balls, a quicker run rate than the first innings. Lawrence scored 37. Tim Murtagh who’ll be 42 in August took 4 for 44 in his 15 overs.

By the end of Day 3 Middlesex were 77 for 5, with the top 3 very sparse on runs again, Mark Stoneman was out for a 3 ball Duck, Sam Robson scored 3 from his balls and overseas signing Pieter Malan scored 4 from 28 balls. Middlesex need 231 runs to win, Essex need 5 wickets. I was watching from afar on Day 4 and Middlesex made a good fight of things. Luke Holland in at 9 top scored with 63 and shared an 8th wicket partnership of 87 with Ryan Higgins who scored 41 to frustrate the Essex bowlers again. Porter took 3 wickets taking his tally to 9 for the match.

Somerset v Warwickshire – The Cooper Associates County Ground , Taunton. Lewis Gregory won the toss for Somerset and elected to bat. Match Drawn.

Somerset 284 All Out & 180 for 6, Warwickshire 392 All Out

Lewis Gregory was the top scorer with 65 from 111 balls as Somerset were bowled out for 284 in 92.4 overs. 4 bowlers shared the wickets with 3 for new signing Ed Barnard.

Warwickshire had 2 century makers in their ranks with Opener Alex Davies scoring 118 from 153 balls, he and Sam Hain made 133 for the 3rd wicket, with Hain going on to make 119 from 269 balls. Jack Leach was the best of the bowlers (wickets wise) taking 4 for 119 in his 29 overs.

Opener Tom Lammonby gave Somerset a good start to their 2nd innings, as he scored 66 not out, helpful as they found themselves on 25 for 3, Warwicks making a good fist of going for the win. But Somerset batted the 50 overs they needed to face to win the draw.

Division 2

Derbyshire v Worcestershire – The Incora County Ground, Derby. Brett D’Oliveira won the toss and put Derbyshire in to bat. Worcestershire won by 8 wickets.

Derbyshire 321 All Out & 343 All Out , Worcestershire 473 All Out & 193 for 2

Derbyshire have the young Pakistan batter, Haider Ali opening, he scored 22 on his debut in the CC, his fellow opener Billy Godleman scored 70 from from 61 balls, he and Wayne Madsen shared a 3rd wicket stand of 77 and Madsen went on to top score with 87 from 134 balls. Derbys scored their 321 runs in 73.1 overs, the best of the bowlers was Matthew Waite with 4 for 50 in his 17.1 overs.

In reply Worcestershire went big, scoring 473 in 129 overs. Waite who took the 4 wickets scored 109* from 149 balls, batting at 8. Spotting another Pakistan,batter, a great this time, in Azhar Ali in the Worcs batting line up, he made just 23. Jack Haynes in at 4 scored 62 from 109 balls and captain D’Oliveira hit 89 from 127 balls before he was run out. Zak Chappell took 5 for 69 in his 22 overs.

On Day 3 this one looks like it could be heading for a draw. Derbys are 269 for 6, they have a lead of 117. Godelman with 86 and Haider with 65 had a 1st wicket stand of 134. Day 4 brought a win for Worcs in spite of a good effort from Derbyshire. Less du Ploy in at 5 scored 95 from 138 balls as Derbyshire batted for 95.5 overs. All 5 bowlers took wickets.

A Jake Libby century saw Worcestershire start the season with a win, the scored 104 from 140 balls, sharing a 2nd wicket partnership of 139 with Azhar Ali who made 62 from 86 balls, the game was won in 42.1 overs.

Glamorgan v Gloucestershire – Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. David Lloyd won the toss for Glamorgan and put Gloucs in to bat. Match Drawn

The Gloucs scorecard makes for interesting reading, they were bowled out in 60.5 overs for 165, Timm can Der Gugten took 5 for 26 in his 17 overs, 4 were LBW and were the 3rd to 6th wickets. Marcus Harris who’d opened was the 7th wicket to fall, he’d made 59 of the 108 runs on the board; James Harris took his wicket before van Der Gugten took his 5th, a catch for keeper Chris Cooke who took 3 in the innings.

Glamorgan fared better in their innings, making 404 in 108.2 overs. Opener Edward Byrom scored 81 from 167 balls. Kiran Carlson in at 5 scored 106 from 136 balls and Billy Root 117 from 179 balls. Tom Price took 4 for 56 in his 23.2 overs.

At the end of Day 3 Gloucs are 373 for 5, after a first wicket stand of 161 between Chris Dent who scored 78 and Marcus Harris who went on to make 148 from 192 balls. This was a game of runs and personal records and Graeme van Buuren made his century finishing not out on 110 from 202 balls. 4 bowlers took the 7 wickets.

Glamorgan lost 3 wickets on the 37 overs they batted before a draw was declared

Sussex v Durham – The 1st Central County Ground, Hove. Cheteshwar Pujara won the toss for Sussex and put Durham in to bat. Sussex won by 2 wickets

Durham 376 All Out & 189 All Out, Sussex 335 All out & 232 for 8

Durham started well with Alex Lees who scored 79 and Michael Jones who went on to score 87 having a 1st wicket stand of 142, Australian bowler Nathan McAndrew took 5 for 85 in 24.2 overs. Durham made 376 in 80.2 overs.

New to Sussex this season, Pujara who’s taken the captaincy had a great start to his batting summer, making 115 from 163 balls, he watched wickets falling around him, with Keeper OIi Carter scoring 41 to join him in a 5th wicket partnership of 112. All 5 bowlers took wickets.

Durham’s 2nd innings was a different affair, they were bowled out in 54 overs for just 189. Fynn Hudson-Prentice took 4 for 27 and Henry Crocombe 4 for 47.

Sussex are 172 for 5 at the end of Day 3, they need 59 runs to win, Durham need 5 wickets. Sussex lost a further 3 wickets but reached the required runs with 2 wickets to spare. Tom Haines top scored with 64 from 69 balls on Day 3. Matthew Kuhnemann took 4 for 70 in his 24 overs/

Yorkshire v Leicestershire – Lewis Hill won the toss for Leics and put Yorks in to bat RESULT OF THE ROUND ALERT!!!! LEICESTERSHIRE WON BY 3 WICKETS

Yorkshire 517 All Out & 286 for 8 dec, Leics 415 All Out & 392 for 7

Maximum batting points for Yorkshire as they made their 517 in 102 overs! Finlay Bean, who turns 21 on April 16th and is from Harrogate scored his first century, he made 118 from 149 balls, another Yorkshire batter to keep an eye on! he and David Malan put on 165 for the 3rd wicket, with Malan going on to score 132 from 154 balls. Milan and Matthew Milnes made 93 for the 4th wicket. Milnes who moved fro Kent for this season scored 75 from 105 balls. 5 of the bowlers shared the wickets with both Chris Wright and Mike Finan conceding over 100 runs.

Leicestershire picked up some batting points themselves, making 415 in 114.1 overs. Spot another Australian as Peter Handscomb, who’s keeping wicket for Leics scored 112 from 201 balls. He and Rhan Ahmed shared a 6th wicket partnership of 141, Ahmed making 85 from 121 balls. Chris Wright finished not out 66 from 81 balls. 4 of the bowlers shared the wickets.

Yorks captain Adam Lyth declared after 54 overs with a lead of 388, the sort of decision that can bring either result, looking at the draws on this round I applaud his decision. Leicestershire finished rock bottom of Division 2 in 2022 with not a single win to their name, I’d judge to was a calculated risk. James Wharton scored 52 and West Indian keeper Shai Hope made 83 from 107 balls on a ground he enjoys. George Hill scored 67. 4 of the bowlers shared the 8 wickets.

This is the result of the round for me because of that non win scenario for Leics last season, also the fact that an ex Essex batter, Rishi Patel scored his maiden century, I couldn’t be happier for him! He scored 125 from 205 balls batting just over 4 hours. Colin Ackermann in at 4 scored 72 and shared a 3rd wicket stand of 113 with Peter Handscomb who made 68. In the midst of the run chase Dom Bess took 5 for 158. But, the game was won in 85.5 overs, what a start to the season for a county that must have been in despair at the end of 2022!

Century Makers and 5 Wicket takers.

  • Rob Keogh – Northants 116 from 211 balls
  • Ben Compton – Kent 114 from 197 balls
  • Cameron Steel – Surrey 141 from 1§82 balls
  • Ben Foakes – Surrey 103 from 95 balls
  • Josh Bohannon – Lancs 108 from 187 balls
  • Dan Lawrence 105 from 204 balls
  • Alex Davies – Warwicks 118 from 153 balls
  • Sam Hain 119 from 269 balls
  • Matthew Waite – Worcs 109 from 149 balls
  • Jake Libby – Worcs 104 from 140 balls
  • Kiran Carlson – Glamorgan 106 from 136 balls
  • Billy Root – Glamorgan 117 from 179 balls
  • Marcus Harris – Gloucs 148 from 192 balls
  • Graeme van Buuren – Gloucs 110 from 202 balls
  • Chetashwar Pujara – Sussex 115 from 163 balls
  • Finlay Bean – Yorkshire 118 from 149 balls
  • Dawid Malan – Yorkshire 132 from 154 balls
  • Peter Handscomb – Leics 112 from 201 balls
  • Rishi Patel 125 from 205 balls
  • Chris Tremain – Northants 5 for 44 in 18 overs
  • Sean Abbot – Surrey 5 for 50 in 20 overs
  • Matt Parkinson – Lancs 5 for 129 in 25 overs
  • Toby Roland-Jones – Middx 7 for 61 in 27.1 overs
  • Jamie Porter – Essex 6 for 35 in 15 overs
  • Zak Chappell Derbyshire 5 for 69 in 22 overs
  • Timm van der Gugten – Glamorgan 5 for 26 in 17 overs
  • Nathan McAndrew – Sussex 5 for 85 in 24.2 overs
  • Dom Bess – Yorkshire 5 for 158 in 32 overs

7 wickets for Toby Roland-Jones

My first bails flying photos of the season, poor Shane Snater of Essex’s first (and hopefully last) Golden Duck of 2023

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