There were ten FP matches this week and so to the round-up…
We begin at Stormont Belfast, where Warwickshire continued their abysmal start to the season against Ireland. Opting to bat first they could only muster a paltry 211-7 from their fifty overs, Tony Frost top scoring with 56. West Indian Ravi Rampaul took 2-53 while there were also two wickets for Gary Kidd (2-37). The Irish made it home with 3.2 overs to spare, William Porterfield laying the foundations up top with a patient 69. James Anyon (2-47) was the pick of the Bears’ attack.
Essex were in buoyant mood at Chelmsford following their demolition of Surrey. Unfortunately they were a bit too confident and were well and truly thrashed by Kent. The Spitfires made 230-7 from their allotted fifty overs, Justin Kemp top scoring with 51. Graham Napier (3-29) and Ravi Bopara (3-49) each took three wickets. That total should have been gettable given the location, however, the Eagles were shot out for just 124, with Yasir Arafat (4-29), Robbie Joesph (3-30) and Simon Cook (2-35) all impressing.
Justin Langer (117) was in sublime form yet again at Taunton where Somerset racked up 278-9 against Worcestershire. He shared in a match winning 100 run partnership with Ian Blackwell (53), whilst there were 3 wicket for Steve Magoffin (3-36) and two apiece for Kabir Ali (2-54) and Gareth Andrew (2-46) against his old side. The Royals were all out for 194 in reply, Daryl Mitchell by far and away the top scorer with 92. Peter Trego followed up his 31 from 16 balls with 3-37, while Steffan Jones (3-36), Charl Willoughby (2-21) and Zander de Bruyn (2-20) did the rest.
Scotland were unable to do to the White Rose county what they had done to the Red Rose county, as they totally only 193-8 against Yorkshire at The Citylets Grange. Darren Gough (2-40) and Richard Pyrah (2-30) led the way for Yorkshire. Craig White was able to take his time and hit 69 not out in reply at a strike rate below 50, while Gerard Brophy’s 61 not out came from just 45 balls, as Yorkshire cantered home with just 3 wickets down, the impressive John Blain (2-17) taking two of them in his economical ten overs.
There was a low scoring affair at Trent Bridge, where Warwickshire looked to be in serious trouble yet again when they totalled only 173 against Nottinghamshire, Ian Westwood’s patient 64 the sole score of real note. It was that man again, Darren Pattinson 4-29, who did the damage, while Samit Patel (3-19) finished things off. In reply though Notts collapsed, with Will Jefferson making 41 in their total of just 121. James Anyon impressed again with 3-6, while Neil Carter (3-25) and Naqaash Tahir (2-47) were also in good form.
Complete contrast now as 657 runs were scored at Canterbury, 337 of them by Kent, for the loss of just three wickets, all of them to Surrey’s Chris Jordon (3-53). Martin van Jaarsveld (113* - can anyone stop him in the FP Trophy?) and Darren Stevens 119* each notched up unbeaten centuries as the Surrey attack was devoured yet again. Surrey looked on course for a remarkable victory after Mark Butcher (139) and Usman Afzaal (74) shared a rapid 126. However, Surrey old boy Azhaar Mahmood (4-40) proved decisive as he did earlier on in the season at The Oval, with four wickets at the death, Surrey carrying a rather long tail. He was backed up by Ryan McLaren (3-75) and Yasir Arafat (2-55) as Surrey fell short, all out for 320 with only two balls left.
Ireland were unable to follow up their victory over the Bears with victory over the Foxes. Opting to field first, hopeful that a repeat performance was on the cards, Ireland could only restrict Leicestershire to 245-5, HD Ackerman (54) and Boerta Dippenaar (69) each making fifties, while Kyle McCallan was this time the best Irish bowler, taking 2-46. The Irish reply was again led by William Porterfield (65), but there was no real support for him as Claude Henderson (4-30) ran riot and the Irish were all out for 164.
The Swalec Stadium saw Glamorgan take on Hampshire (pics below). The Dragons made 229-5 with Michael Powell (114) and Matthew Wood (64) the main men. Dimitri Mascarenhas, back from his IPL excursion, took 2-38 from his ten overs, while Sean Ervine took a more expensive 2-38 from six overs. Michael Carberry led the Hawks’ reply with a rapid 65 and was given good support by Michael Lumb (35), Chris Benham (39) and Michael Brown (35*), as they made it home with ten balls to spare, despite the best efforts of David Harrison (2-46) and Jamie Dalrymple (2-48).
1. Dimitri Mascarenhas bowls to centurion Mike Powell.
2. Powell reaches a one day ton at last, congratulated by his big pal Mark Wallace.
3. Michael Carberry gets Hants off to a good start.
4. Mascarenhas and Michael Brown see Hants home. (Pics c/o RTE)
Essex were in action again at Chelmsford, this time against Middlesex. The Crusaders made 259-7, Eoin Morgan’s 100 the highlight, while Captain Ed Smith’s 75 was also key. Graham Napier (2-60) and Ryan ten Doeschate (2-57) each took two wickets. Jason Gallian was imperious in reply hitting an unbeaten 111, while Varun Chopra (50) and Ravi Bopara (85*) also found conditions to their liking, as Essex crossed the finishing line just two wicket down and with seven overs remaining.
Our final game took place at The Riverside, where Durham made 205-8 from their fifty overs against Lancashire, Dale Benkenstein (64) and Gary Park (42*) the main contributors, as Kyle Hogg (2-19) impressed yet again and was backed up by youngster Stephen Cheetham (2-39) and Gareth Cross (2-26). Mal Loye led the Lightning reply with 77, but there was no support for him, aside from Cross (48), and they fell short with 199-9 from their fifty overs, Steve Harmison (3-44) and Graham Onions (2-44) reminding the selectors of the talents.
Player of the Week: Justin Langer, Darren Stevens, Martin van Jaarseveld, Jason Gallian, Azhar Mahmood, Yasir Arafat and Claude Henderson all stood out this week with match winning performances. Yasir Arafat’s 6-84 across two matches ultimately make him the stand out performer of the week as he destroyed the Essex top order of Mark Pettini, Ravi Bopara and Grant Flower and then took the key wicket of Alistair Brown in the high scoring triumph over Surrey.