If last week’s round of the County Championship was “disappointing”, this week’s can best be described as “very disappointing” as Mother Nature didn’t so much mock the ECB’s fixture compiler as bully, torment and flush its head down the toilet.
It was nice weather for ducks on the south coast, as Ian Bell found out seven balls into his innings. Nonetheless, the visitors eased their way to 545ao with four notable contributions. Varun Chopra made 105, Jonathan Trott 178 and in a Krakatoa-sized blast from the past, Tim Ambrose hit 75 and Rikki Clarke 78*. Monty Panesar racked up 43 overs, finishing with 2/111. Sussex however had things much harder and at 80/5, they’d have been praying for rain. As their prayers were clearly answered, assume also that the Yardy-Wright combination will take them to T20 glory and that Brighton nightclubs start a ‘free gin before midnight’ offer.
Runs were hard to score at Worcester this week. Nottinghamshire made 243ao, Alex Hales top-scoring with 49 probably tells much of the story. Other England Watch members James Taylor and Samit Patel both made starts but failed to push on. Richard Jones took 4/76 for the home side. In response, Worcestershire were bowled out for 157, largely thanks to Andre Adams taking 5/62 and Harry Gurney 4/40. At 88/2, Nottinghamshire looked set for a match-winning total before guess what? Rain stopped play. Perhaps most worryingly of all for Worcestershire, the River Severn is currently 3.6 metres above the its usual height and New Road is again at risk of being flooded.
Compared with the season in general, there were bucketfuls of runs in this game. Lancashire cruised to 363/4 on the first day, thanks to Steven Croft’s 113, Ashwell Prince’s 96 and Karl Browns’ 50. However Vernon Philander inspired a collapse to 400ao, taking 5/71 in the process as his acclimatisation to English conditions continued serenely. Somerset reached 87/3 in reply, before the inevitable final day rainfall ruined any chance for Nick Compton to improve his batting average.
An area of low pressure directly above Kennington meant the players resorted to the indoor nets/watching Pune in the IPL/playing twister for four days. Unfortunately for locals eager to see sixes being hit, the rainclouds also hovered above Thames Ditton, meaning their game was washed out as well.
Down in the garden of England, the Quasi Supernormal Incremental Precipitation Inducers (Rain Gods) allowed two innings to be played. Yorkshire would have been disgruntled to be bowled out for 247 on the first day, with Matt Coles continuing his impressive start to the season by taking 4/70. Kent’s innings spanned three days, thanks not just to Brendan Nash but also the weather. His 132* formed the spine of a score of 350/9 but with only eight overs possible on Saturday the match looked set for a draw even before Sunday’s wash out. England watchers will be interested in Joe Root’s 21, Jonny Bairstow’s 32, Tim Bresnan’s 3/89 and 33 and James Tredwell’s 1/39. We’d also mention Adil Rashid, but we don’t want to raise his hopes.
Bright sunshine, 30+ degree temperatures and cloudless skies enabled both teams to make hay with the bat at Chelmsford, with each batsman in turn bludgeoning run-a ball centuries. Only joking; Essex reached 54/6 (Jack Brooks 4/22) before the sky fell in.
In the gaps between the April showers, it looked a good encounter at the Rose Bowl. Greg Smith top scored in Leicestershire’s 234ao; Liam Dawson’s 5/29 served as a reminder of his potential with the ball as well as the bat. Michael Carberry (84*) and Simon Katich (54) steered the home side to a useful-looking 217/4 but with just ten overs possible on Saturday, the game was set for a draw even before Sunday’s dismal and torrential weather. Rod Bransgrove was last seen shaking his fist at the sky and muttering about the position of the jet stream.
With not a solitary ball being bowled at Bristol due to the kind of rainfall unseen since Michael died in Home and Away, Glamorgan equalled their best performance of the season in taking the three points for an abandonment.