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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Tanya Aldred at Old Trafford

County cricket day three: Notts v Essex, Kent v Somerset and more – as it happened

Kashif Ali pulls a delivery on his way to another century
Kashif Ali pulls a delivery on his way to another century. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

County roundup by Tanya Alred

Kashif Ali’s dream debut in Division One continued when he knocked up a second century within three days for Worcestershire against Warwickshire at Edgbaston. This one was even sparkier, 133 runs of gumption made at better than a run a ball – his hundred reached, as on Friday, with a six.

Kashif is a graduate of the South Asian Cricket Academy, set up in 2020 to tackle the under‑representation of British Asians in professional cricket – they make up 30% of recreational players but only 5% of the men’s professional game. Kashif was one of seven male Saca players to get a professional contract with a county in 2022‑23, the first to make a first-class century and now the first to score two in a match. He also put his name in lights as the first Worcestershire player to make two hundreds in a game since Daryl Mitchell in 2018, who tweeted: “He gets em far quicker than I ever did.”

A tantalising final day is on the cards at Trent Bridge where a 132‑run partnership between Matt Critchley and Paul Walter lugged Essex out of a sticky situation against Nottinghamshire: from five down with a lead of just 89, to a lead of 289 at stumps. It was cheering news after Feroze Khushi’s bat fell foul of the umpire’s bat gauge on Saturday evening and a potential points deduction awaits.

A gusting, swirling wind stopped play at Old Trafford when the head grounds manager, Matt Merchant, together with the club’s safety officer, decided that it was too windy for his staff to risk lifting the groundsheets that had been put down at lunchtime as a precaution against predicted rain. Shortly afterwards the deluge arrived and washed out the rest of the day, allowing Lancashire and Surrey players to watch the United game just across the way. It was the first time the match referee, Mike Smith, had come across wind stopping play, but he confirmed there was a similar situation at Edgbaston where the head groundsman, Gary Barwell, had said he would not be asking his staff to put heavy flat sheets on in high winds.

A draw looks most likely in NW8 as Mark Stoneman crafted a 97 and Ryan Higgins his first century at Lord’s, to take Middlesex in sniffing distance of avoiding the follow‑on against Glamorgan: 1,080 runs, including Sam Northeast’s 335, have been scored in three days for the loss of just eight wickets on a gentle pitch, aided and abetted by a Kookaburra ball.

Tom Haines fashioned his first championship hundred since September 2022 as Sussex played catchup with Northamptonshire at Hove. James Coles, still only 20, danced to a pretty 78. And Matt Parkinson celebrated his first wicket for Kent, a screaming leg-break, as Somerset’s batters chugged towards a draw at Canterbury.

There was no play at Durham or Derby for the third day in a row, and Harry Brook still awaits his first innings of the season after the day was washed out at Headingley.

A hundred for Ryan Higgins!

Didn’t want it to go uncelebrated. His first at Lord’s. Incidentally the first Ryan Higgins who comes up when you type his name into twitter is the national executive director of faith engagement to Donald Trump. Cue a clever joke about following Middlesex, but that’s for you BTL.

And also this:

Day three abandoned at Headingley

Oh, and not a ball bowled at Headingley either.

A hundred for Tom Haines!

The tenth century of his career and fabulous to see two hundreds in one day for super young players.

Right, time for me to write up for the paper. If anyone is still around, BTL is your playground!

A second for Parkinson M at Canterbury (Lammonby for 90); Essex have slipped to 297 for seven; Kashif Ali finally out at Edgbaston for 133 off 128 balls.

In Division Two: still no play at Headingley, Higgins and Davies have put on 112 at Lord’s (Middx 385-4); and Tom Haines is 99 not out at Hove!

For those of you who like to know the ins and outs of cricket quirks, we just spoke to match referee Mike Smith.

He confirmed that it was the wind which initially stopped play at Old Trafford. The umpires had suggested that it would be sensible to put the covers on the square as a precaution during lunch because rain was forecast. But by the time play was due to start, the head groundsmanager said it was too windy to pull the flat sheets off as it was putting his staff at risk – in case they were to be lifted into the air or hit in the face. This was confirmed by the Lancashire safety officer. The covers were due to be taken off when the wind dropped – but before that happened, the rain started.


Hope Daryl Mitchell was watching.

Match abandoned for the day at OT

All stand down.

Fifty for one to watch James Coles, off just 73 balls. He’s still only 20.

The umpires pick their way around the Old Trafford covers, furled umbrellas in hand.


Tea-time ish scores


Chester le Street: Durham v Hampshire no play on days one, two or three

Canterbury: Kent 284 all out v Somerset 208-2

Old Trafford: Lancashire 202 v Surrey 15-0 adverse weather conditions stopped play

Trent Bridge: Nottinghamshire 293 v Essex 253 and 261-5

Edgbaston: Warwickshire 333 v Worcestershire 360 and 209-2


Derby: Derbyshire v Gloucestershire no play on days one, two or three

Lord’s: Middlesex 365-4 v Glamorgan 620-3dec

Hove: Sussex 175-3v Northamptonshire 371

Headingley: Yorkshire 72-2 v Leicestershire 354 Scheduled start at 4.30, 32 overs to be played

Just clocked that Kashif Ali is scoring at a run a ball – 116 off 116, Worcs 182-1. Jake Libby a steadier 57.

In the remaining Division One games in play, Tom Lammonby is approaching three-figured validation at Canterbury, where Somerset are 188-2, 96 behind Kent. And Critchley (58) and Walter (68) press on at Trent Bridge, the lead now 210 over Notts.

An update from OT where it is still drizzling. Tea is being taken at 3.40 (though sadly no biscuits) and another, suspect terminal, inspection at 4pm.

Kashif Ali completes his second century of the match!

With a gallop and a swish, he dispatches Ed Barnard, and, as in the first innings, he reaches his hundred with a six. Born for the first division!


Middlesex are in sight of passing the follow-on at Lord’s, an early season fifty for Ryan Higgins to add to Stoneman and Holden’s collections. A wicket each for Miles, Carlson, Douthwaite and Hamza Middx 326-4.

I’m not saying anything but look at the score at Edgbaston.

While Parkinson C twiddles his thumbs up in Durham, Parkinson M has taken his first wicket for Kent – opens the door and through the gate, Matt Renshaw for 66.

Tom Lammonby, who averaged only 29 last year, is 64 not out in his first innings of the year. Somerset 158-2.

One more to add to the stranger things stopped play list – toast stopped play at Old Trafford in the 1990s, when a player made some toast, forgot about it, set the fire alarms off and everyone had to evacuate.

Meanwhile Critchley and Walter have added 77 to pull Essex, slightly, out of the mire. Now 206-5, the lead 166.

We’ve been chewing over unusual occurances that have previously stopped play at Old Trafford: have come up with the setting sun, helicopter landing on the pitch,and, thanks to Ken Grime’s memory, a rogue PA system which stopped Matt Parkinson’s debut over for Lancs in its tracks. The batters complained that they couldn’t concentrate so everyone trooped off.

An unbeaten fifty for Tom Haines at Hove, a snappy one too including ten fours. Both wickets for CCLive! favourite and 2024 testimonial boy, Rob Keogh. Sussex 82-2, trail by 289.

Wind stops play!

And the answer at OT is– wind stops play. We think because it has been deemed too dangerous to take the covers OFF – for the groundstaff – because of the strength of the wind.


Meanwhile at Edgbaston, Worcestershire are more than holding their own: 73-1 – a lead of 102. First innings centurion Kashif Ali looking swell once again for 41 not out.

The strangeness continues at OT, with Surrey out playing football while the match manager Mike Smith is out in the middle looking at what I think is the rain radar. It seems the groundstaff have tried to pre-empt the weather but the weather isn’t playing ball.

Day 3 abandoned at Derby

Thanks to the reporters network, I can now tell you that if day four is washed out, it will be the first time since 1981 that there has been no play in a Championship match at Derby.

Gareth Batty strides onto the grass. He takes his jacket off and lets it fly in the wind and NO RAIN. But the covers remain and the only action is from drinking arms of a clutch of United fans who’ve dropped in before the game.

Has anyone commented yet on Somerset’s start? Matt Renshaw has picked up fifty, 120-1 with James Rew to come. Their top order looks a bit more…solid? … this year.

If you want to practise your ninja skills I suggest doing a circuit of Old Trafford while wearing a long scarf and carrying three coffees as the wind howls, everything clanks and it feels a bit like that scene in er, The Empire Strikes Back (?) when everything flies at Luke. Oh and everything is covered but there is no rain.

Lunch time scores


Chester le Street: Durham v Hampshire no play on days one, two or three

Canterbury: Kent 284 all out v Somerset 108-1

Old Trafford: Lancashire 202 v Surrey 15-0 rain stopped play

Trent Bridge: Nottinghamshire 293 v Essex 253 and 139-5

Edgbaston: Warwickshire 333 v Worcestershire 360 and 46-1


Derby: Derbyshire v Gloucestershire no play on days one or two. No play before lunch on day three, pitch inspection at 2pm

Lord’s: Middlesex 252-3 v Glamorgan 620-3dec

Hove: Sussex 52-0 v Northamptonshire 371

Headingley: Yorkshire 72-2 v Leicestershire 354 No play before lunch


Toms Clark and Haines making a bright start at Hove: 37-0 off nine overs.

Three and a half overs and down the rain comes. I guess we’ll take lunch. Let’s see what else is happening

Will Williams in bright sunshine. Tom Bruce has joined the lanky Lanky slip cordon, alonside Jennings and Wells. No spin to start as Tom Bailey takes the ball from the Statham end.

OT latest

Floodlights on, covers off, players out. We have cricket!

OT update

And on the covers come….

Aha! Re Khushi’s big bat and with thanks to Romeo.

“It’s possible Khushi was using an old, pre 2018, bat. The Law was
changed with effect from October 2017 to limit the thickness of the
edges and umpires have a gauge the bat must pass through.

”There was an article in the Guardian at the time:”

Hmmm, Essex in a spot of bother, only 69 runs ahead and already four wickets down, Cox for a duck. Westley still there though. Two wickets a piece for Hutton and James.


Arrive at OT to see ground sheets billowing like spinnakers and a 12.30 start on the cards, lunch to be taken at half past one.

Right, I’m going to hop on my bike to Old Trafford to watch the umpires stare at the pitch. Very much hoping the wind is behind me. Back shortly.

A couple of quick wickets at Edgbaston too, with Dan Mousley (62) and Michael Burgess (7) sent on their way.

No big bat to save Dean Elgar, whose stumps are splattered by Lyndon James. Essex 78-2


This slipped past me yesterday. At Trent Bridge, Feroze Khushi’s bat was confiscated by the umpires for being too big.

FYI: when Nic Maddison’s bat was discovered to be too big in 2022, Durham were docked ten points. I don’t really understand how this happens – surely all bats are made to fit the regulations?


So, we’ve got five games in progress: at Canterbury and Trent Bridge and Edgbaston in Division One. And at Lord’s and Hove in Division Two.

An interesting read from Raf on England women’s tour of New Zealand:

Sam Northeast on yesterday's record-breaking score

“It’s a privilege to play here and to break a record like that is just beyond my wildest dreams, to be honest. It blew my mind. I got pretty nervous out there at the end, when I was nearing it.

“I didn’t really think about it until I was on about 330. A member told me as I was walking out and I sort of forgot about it (the record) – then when I got near, I started thinking about it again.

“It’s a special day. The game situation was what I was thinking about at that stage but then a personal milestone like that – I had to make sure I got it.”

Day three abandoned at Durham

The only consolation for Durham that they are away next week, at Edgbaston, which gives them a good shout of at least getting on the pitch. Hampshire will be back down south, entertaining Lancs.

One to chew over with your morning coffee:

Just browsing through all the quotes from yesterday: This was nice from Cameron Steel

“We’re very very pleased. When they were 150 for two, it wasn’t on anyone’s radar to bowl them out today. But credit to everyone for the way they went about it: Dan Lawrence bowling on his debut into a proper gale-force wind had a great day and the seamers held them to two and a half runs an over.

“It was one of my best days but I have worked extremely hard. I’m pleased it’s all paying off but Gareth Batty has said to me for a while that I’m not far off getting a ton of wickets so it was nice to get the rewards today. I like playing at Surrey because of the backing you get in all forms. It was nice for him to bowl 28 on the bounce in April and me to bowl 11.”

And some Josh Bohannonn to soothe Lancs brows:

“We were good for the majority (of today) and it’s pretty obvious we got it wrong for period at the end. That’s going to happen at the start of the season. People are finding their feet and in a way, it’s good that it happens now and not later down the line.

“We’ve got one of the best spinners in the world and one starting his international career who is getting better by the day. It’s going to be really exciting to watch – especially for me at short-leg – and it will be really good if we can get some more cricket in tomorrow. Hopefully the weather holds off for us.

“We are looking at how we can get a result in potentially two and a half days. There’s enough tackiness in the pitch which is pretty similar to our nets and both Nathan and Tommy bowled beautifully there this week, that’s why we chose the team we did.”

Scores on the doors


Chester le Street: Durham v Hampshire no play on days one or two

Canterbury: Kent 284 all out v Somerset

Old Trafford: Lancashire 202 v Surrey 11-0

Trent Bridge: Nottinghamshire 293 v Essex 253 and 65-1

Edgbaston: Warwickshire 292-5 v Worcestershire 360


Derby: Derbyshire v Gloucestershire no play on days one or two

Lord’s: Middlesex 138-1 v Glamorgan 620-3dec

Hove: Sussex v Northamptonshire 292-7

Headingley: Yorkshire 72-2 v Leicestershire 354

Saturday's round-up

Sam Northeast, the Glamorgan captain, collector of mammoth scores, strode to the highest first-class score at Lord’s, eclipsing Graham Gooch’s iconic 333 with an unbeaten 335, containing 36 fours and six sixes against Middlesex. He reached the milestone with a shuffle-flick off his toes, raising his bat to a host of empty white bucket seats but rapturous applause from the balcony and the crowd lucky enough to be there.

The bolshy backline-of a-ballet-class action of Dan Lawrence and the leggies of Cameron Steel provided energetic entertainment at Old Trafford, where things finally got underway after lunch on day two, and Lancashire lost eight for 52 in an elongated evening session.

Lawrence, Surrey’s one big signing of the winter, had been talked up pre-season as a “genuine all-rounder” by the head coach Gareth Batty. But Batty can’t have expected his prediction to have come true in Surrey’s very first match.

Rory Burns pulled Lawrence into the attack in the ninth over at the James Anderson end, and he made the first breakthrough shortly afterwards when Keaton Jennings clipped the ball low and Lawrence pounced to his left. Josh Bohannon then put on 67 with Luke Wells and 57 with George Balderson, before Lawrence (four for 91), and Steel (a career-best five for 25), proceeded to rip through the Lancashire batting on a day where the crosswind threatened to tear off your trousers and unbutton your blouse. There was time enough for Surrey to face five overs under floodlights with a ring of noisy close fielders, and Nathan Lyon, playing alongside Tom Hartley as promised by the new coach Dale Benkenstein. Lyon, who made a golden duck, dropped quickly into the grove, with time for a classic drop-kneed appeal and there was a last over from Hartley bowling in what had suddenly become an almost supernatural luminescence.

Nottinghamshire suffered a similar collapse at Trent Bridge, slipping from 259 for four to 293 all out as Sam Cook collected a hat-trick and Essex restricted the hosts’ first-innings lead to 40 despite a century for Joe Clarke.

A fifty from Karun Nair and 92 from Luke Procter took Northamptonshire to 292 for seven at Hove. There were three wickets for Jaydon Seales, and Ollie Robinson collected a deserved wicket after 19 overs of toil for Sussex. While some stoical tailend batting helped Kent limp to 284, thanks to 85 from last man out Joey Evison. The Somerset captain, Lewis Gregory, pinged for 20 in his first over, finished with four wickets, and there was no space for England spinner Shoaib Bashir in the Somerset XI.

At Edgbaston, Ed Barnard made a sprightly 89 for Warwickshire against his old county Worcestershire, and Ben Mike did the same against his former county Yorkshire with a swashbuckling 90 at Headingley for Leicestershire.

It was a washout for the second day in succession at Derbyshire and Durham, where the groundsman was dubious about play tomorrow because of the saturated ground.

Preamble and weather watch

Good Sunday morning! After a rain-sodden early morning the sun has spruced herself up and is currently razzle-dazzling the Manchester sky. There will be a pitch inspection at Old Trafford at 11.30am.

Elsewhere, the poor groundsmen at Derby and Durham plug on. No play before lunch at Derby and although the sun seems to be shining at Chester-le-Street, no news yet on the chances of play. They’re going to take an early lunch at 12.30 at Headingley. But hey, things look perky at Canterbury, Trent Bridge, Lord’s and Hove.

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