In stark contrast to previous weeks, very little changes in Division 1 as all matches are drawn, while in Division 2, Worcestershire are beginning to pull clear at the top. And Ramprakash’s wait is finally over.
Having made his debut against Yorkshire as well as his maiden first class century, it seems appropriate that Mark Ramprakash should have made his 100th ton against the White Rose county. It was an important innings as well as Surrey had initially struggled to just 204 against injury hit Yorkshire, with Deon Kruis taking 5 wickets. Yorks then declared on 414 for 9, dodging the showers, with Kruis adding an unbeaten 50 to his wickets. Needing 210 to make Yorks bat again, Surrey lost Stewart Walters without scoring a run before Ramprakash (112) and Scott Newman (129) put on 259 to lead to Surrey to safety, finishing on 264 for 3. Surrey remain bottom, with Yorks in some trouble 7th in the table (although if they had forced the win, they’d have been within a point of 2nd).
At the top of the table, Durham batted first against Nottinghamshire, managing just 266. Bilal Shafyat held the Notts reply together with 100 as they managed a 2 run lead on the first innings. Stuart Broad then took the first four Durham wickets to fall, to leave them in trouble at 88 for 4. However, more resilient Durham batting and the poor weather meant there wasn’t time to force a result and the game finished with Durham on 257 for 8. Notts and Durham remain first and second respectively.
Sussex started well against Somerset with a Murray Goodwin ton leading them to a total of 419. Somerset couldn’t match them with the reply, Marcus Trescothick top scoring with 92 as Somerset made 348. Sussex them declared on 264 for 5 in an effort to force a result. However, the weather meant that the run chase wasn’t possible and the match finished with Somerset on 128 for 2. Somerset move 3rd, with Sussex in 6th.
Finally Hampshire recovered from the loss of two early wickets as the Michaels Carberry (92) and Lumb (73) put on a stand of 181 to take them to 367 despite six wickets for Yasir Arafat. Kent had a better start with Rob Key and Joe Denly putting on a century opening partnership. However, Imran Tahir took 5 wickets as Kent managed just a two run lead with 369. Hants started poorly again, but an unbeaten 105 from Nic Pothas (to go with his unbeaten 73 in the first innings) took Hants to 311 for 7 as the time ran out of the game. Hants are still in the relegation zone and now have an important match with Yorkshire coming up. Kent are 4th.
Worcestershire went to the top of the league last week and soon had Gloucestershire in trouble at 110 for 5. Marcus North (98) and David Brown (83) led something of a recovery until the last 5 wickets went down for just 43 runs as Gloucester made 283, Kabir Ali taking 6 wickets. Worcester lost just one wicket going past the Gloucester total, with Stephen Moore (129) and Vikram Solanki (270) putting on 316 for the second wicket. An ubeaten 99 from Stephen Davies took Worcester to 672 for 7 declared. North and Brown both made their second half centuries of the match in Gloucester’s second innings. However, with Simon Jones taking four wickets, the total of 247 was not enough to make Worcester bat again they move clear at the top of the table while Gloucester remain bottom and winless.
Essex would have been looking to make up ground at the top of the table against struggling Glamorgan and the game was going to plan as the Welshmen were skittled for just 139. Essex managed 206 in reply. Second time round, batting seemed easier for Glamorgan and despite 6 wickets for Graham Napier they made 347 to leave Essex needing 281 for victory. Ravi Bopara then top scored with just 15 as Essex were bowled out for just 78, with Robert Croft taking 5 wickets for 6 runs in 8.1 overs. The win takes Glamorgan above Gloucestershire while Essex remain 4th.
HD Ackerman dominated the Leicestershire innings, scoring 199 out of the 432 against Warwickshire, Ian Salisbury taking 5 wickets. The Bears, looking to return to the top of the table didn’t find batting as easy and made just 267, Nadeem Malik taking 5 wickets. Following on Warwicks were more resilient and with poor weather affecting the game, their 169 for 3 left the game drawn. They remain 2nd, but are falling behind Worcester. Leicester are 5th, and probably too far behind to challenge for promotion now.
Northamptonshire are still in the promotion chase and they started well against Derbyshire, falling one run short of maximum batting points on 399, with Lance Klusener scoring a ton, while fellow South African, Charl Langeveldt took 5 wickets. Another South African, Andrew Hall, took 5 wickets as Derbyshire made 342, made around a 6th wicket stand of 138 between Greg Smith (yet another South African) and Jonathan Clare. Stephen Peters made a century second time round for Northants as they made 216 for 3 and the game petered out into a draw. Northants remain 3rd, Derby are 7th.
England Player Watch
Ravi Bopara had a game to forget with the bat for Essex (as did all of his colleagues), while Matt Prior seems to have found his early season form with a brisk 73 against Somerset. Also finding form again is Michael Carberry and the Kent opening pair of Joe Denley and Rob Key made 89 and 67 respectively. Chris Tremlett also hit 56, and his batting seems to be outshining his bowling at the moment. Adil Rashid showed a welcome return to form with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 67 to marshal the Yorks tail.
Stuart Broad arrived late for his match against Durham, but still made a big impact with the ball, taking 7 wickets, although he did fail with the bat. Steve Harmison and Liam Plunkett bath took three wickets when Notts batted. Matthew Hoggard was one of the Yorkshire crocks this week, while Tim Bresnan and Adil Rashid each took three wickets.
Player of the Week
Mentions for the South African trio of HD Ackerman with 199, Deon Kruis with a 5-fer and an unbeaten 50 and Nic Pothas for 178 unbeaten runs. However, this week’s winner is someone who no longer makes it into the England Player Watch, despite being maybe an outside contender for the England One Day captaincy. For 270 runs at quicker than a run a ball, this week’s Player of the Week is Vikram Solanki.