Surrey played host to Somerset scoring 326, and with Mark Ramprakash making only 17 in the first innings and 15 in the second, his wait for his hundredth ton continues. Surrey then managed to contain Somerset to 135 for 4 until Ian Blackwell (158) put on 202 with Justin Langer (112) for the 5th wicket and 103 with Craig Kieswetter (38) for the 6th before losing their last five wickets for 6 runs to end on 446. Jade Dernbach took six wickets. Blackwell then took four wickets as Surrey struggled to 227 and Somerset knocked off the 111 to win for the loss of just two wickets to move to the top of the table.
Sussex batted first at Hove, but were undone by the Harmison brothers, who took seven wickets between them for Durham (Ben – 4 Steve -3) as they made just 214. Durham were in big trouble at 11 for 4 until Will Smith (107) and Dale Benkenstein (110) put on 205 for the 5th wicket and Durham finished on 301 for a useful lead. But for Matt Prior, it may have been enough for an innings victory as he scored 133 of Sussex’s 212 all out, with Steve Harmison taking a hat-trick in his four wickets. Durham lost three wickets in getting the 126 to win and remain in touch with the top of the table having played less games than anyone else.
Lancashire, perhaps mindful of their collapse in the preceding FP Trophy match, put Yorkshire in at Headingley with Yorks getting 395. That’s the fourth time this season that Yorkshire have been bowled out within 5 runs of a bonus point, and on such margins are positions likely to be determined this season. Lancs were 9 for 2 at one stage, but a stand of 258 between Paul Horton (152) and Mohammed Yousef (205 not out) and 197 between Yousef and Steve Croft (96) got Lancs to 481 for 5 in the rain affected match.
In another rain affected match, Kent declared on 431 for 8 with Martin van Jaarsveld (133) and Darren Stevens (127) putting on 210 for the 4th wicket. Hampshire then struggled to 215 and were 33 without loss following on as time ran out on the match. Kent will be pleased with return to from while Hants are really struggling this season.
HD Ackerman (below) hit 164 as Leicestershire scored 390 against Glamorgan. This was enough for an innings victory as the Welshmen managed just 189 and 185 in their two innings, despiteDavid Harrison getting 64 off just 27 balls as last man in the Glamorgan innings. Dillon du Preez took 5-fer in the second innings.
HD Ackerman: In sublime form versus Glamorgan reaching three figures (left), and saluting the Grace Road pavilion (right).
Left: Glamorgan wilt against Dillon du Preez, whilst Paul Nixon brushes up on his Afrikaans courtesy of the slip cordon.
Right: Jamie Dalrymple tries (in vain) to stem the Glamorgan capitulation (Pics c/o RTE).
Worcestershire struggled to just 176 against Essex, but this was enough for a lead of 60 as Simon Jones took 4 for 14 to round off the Essex innings. Worcester did better second time round with 279 and although Ravi Bopara continued his fine start to the season with 85 Essex scored 264, to finish 75 runs short with Jones getting another four wickets as did Kabir Ali.
Gloucestershire got off to a brisk start against Warwickshire, amassing 420 all out in 117 overs. However, the Bears more sedate progress to 410 (Tony Frost getting 114) in 171 overs and the poor weather in Gloucester meant that a result couldn’t be forced as Gloucester declared on 228 for 8 in their second innings.
Derbyshire lost their last five wickets for just 27 runs as Middlesex dismissed them for 244. However, Middlesex struggled to 262 in reply, largely thanks to Ed Joyce coming in down the order with wicket keeper Ben Scott and Shaun Udal. Derbyshire then made 273 second time round with Jonathan Clare top scoring with 57. Chasing 256 to win, Owais Shah made 86 and Ed Smith 74 and Middlesex got home by 6 wickets
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Another stellar innings from Matt Prior, who is now the first division’s top scorer and Luke Wright made just 15 runs in the same match. Ravi Bopara made a fighting 85 in a lost cause for Essex while Owais Shah made 86 in a winning cause for Middlesex.
Simon Jones and Steve Harmison were both in the wickets but both need to show a lot more consistency in terms of form (Harmison) and fitness (Jones) before they can be considered back in the fold. Tim Bresnan had a better game with the bat than ball for Yorkshire while Adil Rashid took two of the five Lancashire wickets to fall, albeit in 47 overs and for 133 runs.
Player of the week
Lots of big stands this week, two of them featuring Mohammed Yousef, who scored an unbeaten double century. Also kudos to Matt Prior (again) for keeping his head while all around were losing their’s. However, in terms of an all-round performance, for five wickets and 158 runs in a win that took Somerset to the top of the table, this week’s Player of the Week is Ian Blackwell.