A bad week for the leaders, although that’s not the reason for the late appearance of the blog - I've been on holiday - honest!.
Starting with the leaders, Yorkshire batted first at Durham, but despite most of the team getting a start, only Jacques Rudolph was able to convert to a big score. Otis Gibson became the latest Durham player to take a stack of wickets, taking 7-fer. Replying to 393, Durham scored 481 despite no-one reaching three figures. Graham Onions and Gibson again then skittled Yorks for just 218 and Durham reached their target with 6 wickets in hand. Despite the result, Yorkshire remain top, but Durham have closed the gap considerably.
Sussex got back on track at Worcestershire scoring 512 first up, with Murray Goodwin scoring a ton. Worcester then collapsed to 100 all out, Mustaq Ahmed getting 5-fer. Worcester did better following on with Graeme Hick scoring a ton in the 303 all out, which was still not enough to make Sussex bat again.
An odd game at Kent, where the home side subsided to 199 batting first, Joe Denly carrying his bat for 115 of them. Hampshire replied with 272 with Yasir Arafat continuing his fine start to the season with 5-fer. Batting became easier second time round with Rob Key, Martin van Jaarsveld and Darren Stevens all getting tons as Kent declared on 533 for 8. However, Hants were able to bat out the game comfortably for a draw.
Starting at the top of the table, Essex recovered to 317, having been 94 for 6. Mark Footit, coming in for new England hero Ryan Sidebottom, did most of the damage with a 5 fer. The Nottinghamshire reply was based around 275 from David Hussey (from just 227 balls) and an unbeaten 165 from Chris Read, putting on a stand of 359 between them. Declaring on 664 for 7, Notts them bowled out Essex for 235, with only Ryan ten Doeschate giving much resistance with 102. Notts are now well clear at the top of the table
Somerset remain second with a comprehensive victory over Gloucestershire. Cameron White scored the latest double hundred at Taunton in a first innings total of 496. Charl Willoughby then took five wickets as Gloucester were bowled out for 202. Following on, they did much better with 496 and tons for Marcus North, Grant Hodnett and Chris Taylor and Andrew Caddick taking 6-fer. Somerset had just enough time to knock off the 172 needed for the loss of just two wickets.
Poor batting all round at Glamorgan where Middlesex won by an innings despite only scoring 221 in their go. Glamorgan started with just 60 and although they scored 159 second time round, it wasn’t enough. Alan Richardson stared with the ball for Middlesex, with match figures of 8 for 30.
Finally to Northamptonshire, where the visitors Derbyshire scored 160. Steven Peters then got a ton as the home team scored 365, Wayne White taking 5-fer. Steve Stubbings got a ton second time round for Derby, but it was only enough to set a target of 80. Northants did stumble somewhat in their chase, but got home with 6 wickets in hand.
England Player Watch
Chris Read’s fine knock came a couple of weeks too late, although it will keep him in the mind of the selectors. Marcus Trescothick scored a disappointing 17 in the first Somerset innings and didn’t bat second time round. Ed Joyce scored a fine 59 in the low scoring game at Glamorgan.
Bowling wise, Graham Onions was out-bowled by Otis Gibson for Durham and Adil Rashid went wicket-less in the same game.
Player of the Week
Ottis Gibson gets a nod for carrying the Durham bowling in the absence of Liam Plunkett and Steve Harmison. However, for what seems to have been a brutal assault on the Essex bowling to set up a comprehensive victory, the player of the week is David Hussey.