As the World Cup finally ended, week two of the Championship season saw seven games played, with Hampshire making their bow in Division 1 and Northants, Gloucester and Glamorgan getting started in Division 2. As before a brief review and a look at the England prospects who’ve not been in the Carribean.
Last year champions Sussex had won their first game, but came unstuck spectacularly here. Warwickshire couldn’t have possibly thought that their 391 all out would be all they would need, but efforts of 151 and 206 led Sussex to a heavy defeat. The wickets were pretty well shared around the bowlers, James Anyon picking up the most with six in the match. Sussex bowling relied on the Pakistani duo of Naved and Mustaq, who took the nine wickets to fall to bowlers.
Yorkshire continued their flying start to the season against Durham. Adil Rahid got a five-fer in the Durham innings, with only Blenkenstein putting up serious resistance. However, the embodiment of resistance came in the Yorkshire innings as Joe Sayers did his best Geoff Boycott impression and carried his bat for a 417 ball 149 not out as Yorkshire posted 414 – Steve Harmison getting a six-fer. Not to be outdone, Matthew Hoggard then ripped through the Durham top order, leaving the visitors at 17 for 5. Some late order hitting wasn’t enough and Yorkshire ran out 9 wicket winners.
Hampshire looked to be in complete control over Surrey at the Oval, taking a lead of 278 on first innings. Only (inevitably) Mark Ramprakash put up any resistance with his second ton of the season while Shane Warne took five for Hants. Hants batted again to set Surrey over 500 to win. Hundreds from John Batty and Ian Salisbury got Surrey to within 35, but that’s now two losses out of two for Surrey.
Notts now top the table after a close win over Gloucester. Ashley Noffke took 6 wickets to restrict Notts to 399, but despite a Craig Spearman hundred, Gloucester ended up behind by 71. A Samit Patel ton then allowed Notts to declare, setting a target of just over 400, which Gloucester ended up short of by 53, with again the wickets being shared around the team.
The Middlesex must have been glad to leave the Somerset featherbed behind although their batsmen struggled in the first innings, scoring 258 against Northants for whom Johannes van der Wath took six wickets. It was still enough for a handy lead of 47 though and with David Nash scoring a hundred in their second innings, Middlesex set an unlikely target of over 400 to win and ran out comfortable winners.
Six wickets for David Masters had put Leicester in charge against Somerset, until Stefan Jones got going scoring a hundred at number 9, putting on 146 with Andy Caddick for the ninth wicket. David Robinson’s ton still gave Leicester a first innings lead and a tight finish looked likely as Somerset posted the third score of 300 plus in the match, it looked like being a tight finish. However, Leicester collapsed to the bowling of Peter Trego and Cameron White leaving Somerset comfortable winners.
Most impressive winners in Division 2 were Essex, for whom Ronnie Irani scored 218, and put on over 300 with Ryan ten Doeschate (148) for the fifth wicket against Glamorgan. The Welshmen got within 200 of Essex despite seven wickets for Danesh Kaneria. Huw Waters showed Sayers like resistance, taking 265 balls for his 33 runs. However, they collapsed for 183 in their second innings, with Kaneria getting another six to allow Essex to win by an innings.
England Player Watch
Despite all the runs at Essex, Ali Cook got a two ball duck in his only innings. There again so did I on Sunday. Marcus Trescothick got another score of 70 plus without going on. Owais Shah got two starts but couldn’t get above fifty.
In the wicketkeeper watch, Matt Prior scored 3 and 18, James Foster scored 7, then watched a stand of over 300 for the next wicket, so Chris Read probably takes the honours with 7 and 43 not out.
On the bowling side, Steve Harmison with a 6-87, went head to head with Matthew Hoggard (5-32). He also took 20 off an Adil Rashid over, as he ensured that Yorkshire would have to bat twice.
Player of the week
Lots of good team efforts this week. Ashley Noffke deserves a mention for almost single-handedly trying to resist Notts. However, the player of the week comes from the game at Chelmsford. An honourable mention for Kaneria, but for his double hundred, player of the week is Ronnie Irani.
Championship Tails - Week One