Another damp weekend hindered attempts to complete the latest round of Friends Provident Trophy matches. However, there were six results out of eight, which is pretty good going for April really and there was at least some play at all of the grounds.
Firstly to Bristol and Gloucestershire vs Glamorgan. No result here I’m afraid, which will have been much to the annoyance of The Gladiators, as they were set a Duckworth-Lewis 10 over target of 74, after The Dragons had managed to amass just 174-4 from 42 overs. There was though enough play for opener Matthew Wood to impress with a frustratingly close 91 not out, whilst David Hemp hit a fifty. Marcus North meanwhile impressed with his off spin for Gloucestershire, taking 3-32 from 10 overs, as he continues in the role of premier spin bowler for The Gladiators.
There was a similar tale at New Road, where the weather again led to a draw between Worcestershire and Somerset. The Royals were able to complete 39 overs of their innings, in the process scoring 154-8. Only Daryl Mitchell made a score of note, ending on 48 not out. There were two wickets apiece for Charl Willoughby (2-14) and Steffan Jones (2-44), Willoughby’s the more deserved and economical. The surprise performer with the ball was James Hildreth though, who also earnt two wickets, albeit quite expensively.
Essex were involved in another run feast against Sussex on the placid Chelmsford wicket. Chris Adams won the toss and chose to field, just as Rob Key did a week ago. The result was a similar story of carnage. The Eagles amassed 291-8 off of their fifty overs, Ravi Bopara acquiring yet another batting landmark, just a fifty this time though (59). Grant Flower (75), Ryan ten Doeschate (61) and James Foster (35*) all chipped in with speedy contributions. Alistair Cook meanwhile failed to get a score of note again (8). There were two wickets apiece for James Kirtley (2-45), Robin Martin-Jenkins (2-39) and Michael Yardy (2-56), although Mushtaq Ahmed went wicketless for 55 runs from his 10 overs, a rare occurrence indeed. Sussex needed 156 from 24 overs after a bit of Duckworth-Lewis magic. Matt Prior continued his impressive start to the season, blazing a rapid fifty in reply, but with 3 run outs and 2 stumpings, it was clear that Sussex just couldn’t keep up with the rate and they fell away to end on 141-6. There was meanwhile another wicket for the impressive Bopara, whilst Andre Nel conceded just 16 runs from his 5 overs.
Ireland hosted Nottinghamshire in Dublin and despite having the visitors 19-3, they allowed them to escape to 217-9 from their fifty overs. Overseas signing Adam Voges hit 60, whilst captain Chris Read blasted a quick fire 45. O’Brien was the most impressive of the Irish bowlers, taking 4-31 from 10 overs. Ireland regularly lost wickets in reply and no-one managed to make it past 30. England players and hopefuls, Ryan Sidebottom, Stuart Broad, Charlie Shreck and Graeme Swann all took a wicket, whilst ex-England player Mark Ealham claimed 4-39.
The home of cricket witnessed a tight game between Middlesex and Kent. Opting to bat, The Crusaders made 177-8 from a shortened 36.5 overs, Billy Godleman top scoring with 43. Azhar Mahmood continued his resurgence with 2 wickets for 29. In reply, Martin van Jaarsveld again took The Spitfires close with 53. However, the wickets tumbled as the required run rate soared and they finished on 166 all out after 33 overs, just 7 short of their target, Tim Murtagh taking 4-29. To England watch and Andrew Strauss struck 33, whilst Owais Shah managed only 2.
To Northampton, where Northamptonshire avenged their four day defeat to Warwickshire with a limited overs triumph in what was a high scoring game. Warwickshire racked up 293-5 from their fifty overs, Neil Carter typically belligerent in blazing 30 from 20 balls at the top, whilst Darren Maddy struck a run a ball 77 and was ably supported by Ian Westwood (65), Jonathan Trott (60) and Michael Powell (45*). Tim Ambrose made just 1, while Ian Bell did not feature. Captain Nicky Boje took 3-54, to top the bowling figures, but Monty Panesar went wicketless and dropped a catch. In reply, Northants started badly, slipping to 60-3. However the reliable David Sales steadied the ship with 60, while Robert White stole the show with a superb 111 from 113 balls. Ex-South African international’s Boje (23) and Lance Klusener (26*) finished the job with David Lucas (9*), a cool seven balls remaining. Carter took 3-49 to complete an impressive all round performance, while Ant Botha took a less impressive 2-59.
A bit of a miss-match now as Lancashire faced Scotland at The Citylets Grange. The Scots were skittled for just 73 from 37 overs. There were two miserly wickets for James Anderson (2-19), whilst Andrew Flintoff went for just 14 runs from his 7 overs. It was young Tom Smith who impressed most though, with 3-14 from 7 overs. In reply Dewald Nel took two wickets, but The Lightning cantered to an easy eight wicket victory from just 11.5 overs, Andrew Flintoff finishing not out on 27 from 23 balls, though he will need to score more runs against more illustrious opposition before he can be considered worthy of a place in England’s top seven.
Our final match takes us to Headingley, where Yorkshire, buoyed by their recent emphatic triumph over Hampshire, faced an equally invigorated Derbyshire. The Phoenix hit 119-7 from 24 overs, Adil Rashid ending on 41 not out. There were two wickets apiece for new kolpak signing Charles Langeveldt (2-25), the impressive Tom Lungley (2-12) and all rounder Graham Wagg (2-34). Michael Vaughan continued his less than impressive start to the season with just 16. Derbyshire never got close in reply though and stumbled to 94 all out from 22.4 overs, only Jamie Pipe making 20. There were two wickets apiece for England hopeful Tim Bresnan and utility player Richard Pyrah. Meanwhile Anthony McGrath took 3-16.
Player of the Week: For managing to score the only hundred of the week and for it being crucial to the result of his side’s match, this weeks player of the week is Northamptonshire’s Robert White. Meanwhile, there are honourably mentions for Matt Prior and Ravi Bopara who both continued their impressive early season form, whilst Tom Smith showed why he was included in the Young Pretenders XI 2008.