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County Championship Round-Up - Week 4: April showers the only winner

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County Championship Round-Up - Week 4: April showers the only winner Empty County Championship Round-Up - Week 4: April showers the only winner

Post by Shelsey93 Tue 01 May 2012, 9:41 pm

The tail end of the wettest April for over 100 years placed Essex and Worcestershire’s grounds on flood alert, and ensured that the fourth round of County Championship fixtures came close to being a total washout. The amount of play possible varied, with matches further North luckier than those in the South, but none came close to a result and two – Surrey v Durham and Gloucestershire v Glamorgan – were condemned without a single ball bowled. Unfortunately the teams concerned receive only three points; a similar number to that a side loosing by an innings might expect to earn. Something surely has to be done about that. I would suggest the automatic awarding of six points to both teams in matches where the first innings is incomplete and less than 90 overs delivered.

Somerset, fielding a side weakened by injuries to captain Marcus Trescothick, Steve Kirby and Gemaal Hussain, and still missing Alfonso Thomas, who is plying his trade at the IPL, struggled on the opening day of their match against defending champions Lancashire. Steven Croft, an unsung hero of that triumph, hit the club’s first individual hundred of this campaign, making 113. Croft was supported by the South African Ashwell Prince (96), who fell four short of his ton before becoming the maiden first-class victim of England Under 19 international Craig Overton. Overton, along with Craig Meschede and Lewis Gregory, went at over 4 an over, but Lancashire could not go beyond 400 as Vernon Philander, despite not being at his best, took 5-71 and cleaned up the tail. The Somerset response reached 87-3, with Nick Compton, newly restored to the England Lions squad for their upcoming game against West Indies, top scoring with an unbeaten 30. The weather then intervened, forcing Lancashire to settle for 9 points and Somerset for 6.

The match between Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire at New Road was reasonably well developed, before torrential rain wiped out the final day. Nottinghamshire came out on top when these sides met in the opening round of the season, and were in a strong position to repeat that result in this match. Despite the lack of an individual fifty Alex Hales top-scored with 49, and guided Nottinghamshire to a respectable 243 after being put into bat on the opening day. Richard Jones, who had been lethal against the same opponents earlier in the month, took 4 for 76 and Aneesh Kapil 3 for 17. Kapil, a promising teenage all-rounder, also top-scored with 41 in the Worcestershire response. This innings rescued his side from 66-6 to 157 all out. Andre Adams (5-62) and Harry Gurney (4-40) had earlier ripped though the visiting batting line-up. Nottinghamshire were 88-2, with Neil Edwards 49 not out when the rain turned attention to hoping that the devastating New Road floods of 2007 are not repeated.

An unusual occurrence took place at Hove during in-form Warwickshire’s meeting with Sussex. An England batsman made a County Championship hundred. It wasn’t Ian Bell – his current woes continued after being bowled by James Anyon for a seven ball duck, though he is surely too good a player for this to become a prolonged slump. But Jonathan Trott, accumulating in familiar fashion for 407 minutes, made 178 and set a platform for his team to reach 545, the highest total of the season to date. Tim Ambrose (75) and Rikki Clarke (78) piled on the misery for the Sussex attack. It is easy to forget that both have played Tests for England, and at times they have flattered to deceive at county level. But in the last couple of seasons the pair have rediscovered their form and are now integral parts of what is, even with Chris Woakes injured, the longest batting line-up in the country. Sussex were reduced to 80-5, thanks mainly to 3-28 from Keith Barker, before this match surrendered to the elements. Chris Wright bowled Matt Prior for a duck to ensure that two of the three England batsmen on show failed to score a run between them.

Hampshire have had a mixed start to life in the second tier but held the initiative in their game against Leicestershire at the Rose Bowl before Sunday’s play was washed out, as it was everywhere else. Liam Dawson, who has been relegated to something of a part-time spinner after promising early signs, took 5-29 as Leicestershire made only 234 at a ground that has showed signs of being less bowler-friendly than many around the country at this stage of the season. Greg Smith top-scored for the visitors with 68. Michael Carberry, who would appear to be firmly in the selectors plans should Strauss or Cook fall down injured, during the summer after being named in the England Lions squad, scored 84 not out. He was well supported by Simon Katich (54), who was deputising as captain for the absent Jimmy Adams. Leicestershire take 5 points back home with them, whilst Hampshire managed 7.

Yorkshire and Kent played out a high-scoring draw earlier in the season, and that was the result again this time, though for largely different reasons. Four batsmen reached 30 but none 40 in a reasonable Yorkshire first-innings effort of 247. Matt Coles (4-70), another player rewarded for strong form with an England Lions call-up, again enjoyed success against this opposition for the visiting Kent team. Overseas signing Brendan Nash, who has arrived at Canterbury via Queensland and Jamaica, led the reply and was 132 not out when the players shook hands on a draw. England bowler Tim Bresnan took 3 for 89. Ajmal Shahzad, who was ahead of Bresnan in the England pecking order at one stage has played his last game for Yorkshire. He recorded decent, if not spectacular, figures of 2 for 54, but the club have announced, presumably following a disagreement of some sort, that he will be allowed to join another county immediately.

Only 27 overs of play were possible in Northamptonshire’s visit to Essex, though that was enough time for the Chelmsford based side to be reduced to 54 for 6. Jack Brooks, who impressed for England Lions this winter, and will again represent them against West Indies, did the bulk of the damage with four wickets for 22. Essex will probably be glad to receive the 3 points on offer for a drawn game.

In the aftermath of this week’s rain-ruined fixtures, much criticism has been aired of the ECB’s decision to schedule so much cricket in April. Whilst there are justifiable reasons for this – namely that commercial and, frankly, spectator interests demand that Twenty20 is played in June and July, and that the Champions League prevents the season extending into late September and early October – it does seem strange that for some counties a quarter of the season’s Championship cricket has already been and gone. 606 v2 and Gloucestershire member Spiny Norman expressed this concern, suggesting that he should “take up bowls, so I can be involved in a summer game, rather than a spring and autumn one”. But the truth is that this type of weather can happen at any time of the year in England’s green and pleasant land, and that for the last two year’s April has seen some of the best weather of the entire summer. The counties will hope for better luck this coming week, when highlights include Lancashire v Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire v Durham.

Shelsey93

Posts : 3134
Join date : 2011-12-14
Age : 29

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