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

County cricket opening day: Lancs v Surrey, Kent v Somerset, and more – as it happened

A look in at the action from Trent Bridge, where Notts are hosting Essex.
A look in at the action from Trent Bridge, where Notts are hosting Essex. Photograph: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo/Shutterstock

Congratulations to our day one centurions Sam Northeast and Kashif Ali, and to Dane Paterson for his five-fer. We’re back tomorrow for day two, may the weather be with us. Thanks for all the comments, good night!

Close of play scores


Chester le Street: Durham v Hampshire play abandoned for the day

Canterbury: Kent v Somerset play abandoned for the day

Old Trafford: Lancashire v Surrey play abandoned for the day

Trent Bridge: Nottinghamshire v Essex 244-9

Edgbaston: Warwickshire v Worcestershire 316-7


Derby: Derbyshire v Gloucestershire play abandoned for the day

Lord’s: Middlesex v Glamorgan 370-3

Hove: Sussex v Northamptonshire 95-2

Headingley: Yorkshire v Leicestershire 164-5

Rain stops play at Edgbaston

with Kashif Ali stuck on 95.

And Broad falls at Hove, a second for Seales. Northants 66-2.

Time for me to write up now for early Friday deadlines, but do keep chatting BTL!

In Division One, Kashi is in the nervous nineties, Rob Jones on 25, in Worcestershire’s 230-2 v Warwicks. While Nottinghamshire’s Paterson has 4-41, with Cox holding Essex’s batting together, joined by Rossington. Critchely out for 1, Walter for nought.

A dance around Division Two: three games in progress: Glamorgan 272-2 v Middlesex. At Hove Northants 56-1, with Broad and Procter so far seeing off Sussex’s Danny Lamb and Jack Carson – the one wicket to fall pocketed by West Indies Jayden Seales, while Ollie Robinson is looking up on pace from India.

At Headingley, Rishi Patel and Marcus HArris have taken Leicestershire to 43 …. I take that back, Patel has just fallen to Matt Milnes. Now 43-1.

Thanks to Romeo for pointing this out:

Worcestershire and Glamorgan fair rattling along. SACA’s Kashif Ali (76) has be joined by Lancs-ex Rob Jones at Edgbaston, Worcs 206-2. While at Lord’s, Sam Northeast (127) presses on, accompanied by Kiran Carlson who I always think must be vaguely in England thoughts. Glamorgan 240-2

Tea-timeish scores


Chester le Street: Durham v Hampshire play abandoned for the day

Canterbury: Kent v Somerset play abandoned for the day

Old Trafford: Lancashire v Surrey play abandoned for the day

Trent Bridge: Nottinghamshire v Essex 174-4

Edgbaston: Warwickshire v Worcestershire 183-2


Derby: Derbyshire v Gloucestershire play abandoned for the day

Lord’s: Middlesex v Glamorgan 234-2

Hove: Sussex v Northamptonshire 44-1

Headingley: Yorkshire v Leicestershire 12-0

I don’t think it is unfair to say that Yorkshire’s bowling attack is a bit less stellar than their batting attack, but Coad and Fisher bowl some tight opening overs at Headingley, where the sun is sprinkling a little early-season warmth and Harry Brook is fielding at fourth slip. Leicestershire 12-0. While there has been another wicket at Trent Bridge. Cox still there on 57, but Critchley a third wicket for Paterson. Essex 174-4 at tea.


Fifty for Jordan Cox

A cracking start for the man who said he wanted to “do a Harry Brook” this season. Essex 156-2.

A hundred for Sam Northeast!

What a way for the new captain to start the season! Congratulations young Sam. This was what he said after being made captain

“It’s a huge honour and a privilege to take over as Red ball Captain building on the good work David Lloyd did for the Club.

“I look forward to working with Grant and Kiran on getting us into Division One. We aim to play an exciting front-foot style of cricket with a nice blend of youth and experience.” Glamorgan 200-2.


And there will be play at Headingley, where Yorkshire have won the toss and will bowl. I’m sure CCLive readers will remember this time last year when Leicestershire beat Yorks for the first time at Headingley since 1910, successfully chasing 389. It ended up being a beacon for a much more cheerful season for the Foxes.

Robinson fiddles with his necklace and tucks it into his shirt, four slips waiting for a nibble. Seems to be running in with a bit of a fizz. But Gay and Broad don’t play ball. Northants 5-0.

Try to navigate to the Sussex livestream but accidentally find myself on the website of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – where there is no cricket to be seen, even in tasteful black and white. Robinson’s first over goes for four.

Government announces £35m investment in grass roots cricket

The funding will include 16 all-weather cricket domes built in diverse communities where figures have indicated low levels of physical activity. And of that £35m, £10m will go to Chance to Shine.

“The announcement that £35m of new Government funding will be invested into cricket is hugely significant and will help more children and young people from all over England to take up the sport,” said the chief exec of Sport England Tim Hollingsworth.

“Positive experiences of PE at school can help develop life-long relationships with sport and physical activity. The expansion of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s primary and secondary schools programme – that’s opening up cricket to more state schools and ethnically diverse communities – comes at an important time.”


Sussex win the toss and will bowl at Hove, so a chance for Ollie Robinson to crank it up with the Kookaburra. An interesting interview with him in the Mail in which he admitted this was a pivotal season for him.

“I’m 30 now and in sport that’s not young anymore. I feel this is the last summer when I will get any slack. Going forward I have to perform, I have to be injury free and prove I’m the best bowler for the job. It’s probably make or break time for me.”

A three o’clock start at Hove due, weather permitting. At Trent Bridge, Dean Elgar duly collects his fifty on Essex debut, and fellow new boy Jordan Cox looking very sprightly too.

Hello there Andrew Benton in Los Baños !

“Just home after a very long week at work and am delighted to find you’ve got the county cricket blog going again, it had completely slipped my mind. Time flies. And good that it has!

“A question: Who are the stand-out overseas players this season, with any club?”

I’m sure people will have opinions BTL, but Lancs pulled a blinder with Nathan Lyon, Jason Holder at Worcs and Scott Boland at Durham are cracking signings , while Pujara and Shan Masood are bankers

Here is a full list, courtesy of Wisden.

Derbyshire: Blair Tickner (New Zealand, April – July 4)
Durham: David Bedingham (South Africa), Scott Boland (Australia, April – July)
Essex: Dean Elgar (South Africa), Simon Harmer (South Africa)
Glamorgan: Mir Hamza (Pakistan, seven matches, April – May), Colin Ingram (South Africa), Marnus Labuschagne (Australia)
Gloucestershire: Cameron Bancroft (Australia), Zafar Gohar (Pakistan), Beau Webster (Australia, June – July)
Hampshire: Mohammad Abbas (Pakistan), Kyle Abbott (South Africa), Michael Neser (Australia, June)
Kent: Wes Agar (Australia, April – July), Xavier Bartlett (Australia, April – July)
Lancashire: Tom Bruce (New Zealand), Nathan Lyon (Australia, seven matches, April – July)
Leicestershire: Peter Handscomb (Australia), Wiaan Mulder (South Africa, from May), Marcus Harris (Australia, five matches, April – May)

Middlesex: None
Northamptonshire: Karun Nair (India, seven matches, April – May), Prithvi Shaw (India, from June), Chris Tremain (Australia, four matches, April)
Nottinghamshire: Dane Paterson (South Africa), Will Young (New Zealand, April – July)
Somerset: Matt Renshaw (Australia, seven matches, April – May)
Surrey: Sean Abbott (Australia, May – June), Kemar Roach (West Indies, seven matches, April – May)
Sussex: Daniel Hughes (Australia, June – September), Nathan McAndrew (Australia, June – July), Cheteshwar Pujara (India, seven matches, April – May), Jayden Seales (West Indies, April – June 8), Jaydev Unadkat (India, five matches, August – September)
Warwickshire: Hassan Ali (Pakistan, April – July)
Worcestershire: Yadvinder Singh (India), Nathan Smith (New Zealand), Jason Holder (West Indies, five matches, April – May)
Yorkshire: Shan Masood (Pakistan)


Let’s potter around the grounds:

Essex 66-2 – Elgar still there, sniffing a half century in the wind during his first Essex match.

Kashif Ali and Gareth Roderick both in the forties in Worcestershire’s 133-1. Jason Holder due to come in at No.7.

And four-an-over Glamorgan have lost Root and ul Hassan, but Northeast looking good for 76. Glamorgan 149-2.

Shutting up shop at Canterbury

Cycled home in relatively bright sunshine to find the washing on the line and two new books in the post – The Establishment boys by Barry Nicholls and the niche but intriguing Lost Cricket Stickers, in search of 1983’s World of Cricket Sticker Album Heroes by Matthew Appleby. In the meantime, they’ve also abandoned play for the day at Canterbury.

“Happy new season Tanya!” And to you, Brian Withington.

“Sad to see the recent news about Worcestershire CCC’s potential future move from New Road on a permanent basis ‘in search of higher ground’. My son’s partner just started work for the club in the same office as Ashley Giles this Wednesday and overheard some rather earnest conversations on the subject.

“As I write I am informed that the big dome is going up over the square with the gas heaters to try to clear the remnants of the latest Easter weekend immersion. No reseeding yet, and it’s apparently normally a minimum nine week turnaround after flooding has cleared until the ground is fit for play.

By way of a nostalgic but defiant lament to a much loved ground, I have attempted to capture Ashley Giles channelling his inner Liza (yes, she sang it before big Frank) as he contemplates the end of an era in the face of the combined forces of the River Severn and climate change “

New Road, New Road

Start spreadin’ the news

I’m leavin’ today

We need to be away from it

New Road, New Road

These Wellington boots

Are longing to stray

Right from the very heart of it

New Road, New Road

I want to wake up

In a city that doesn’t flood

And find I’m safe on a hill

Top of the heap

These river-side blues

Receding away

We’ll make a brand new start of it

Away from New Road

We just can’t take it there

We’ll make it

Dry somewhere

So long to you

New Road, New Road

New Road, New Road

Lunchtime scores


Chester le Street: Durham v Hampshire play abandoned for the day

Canterbury: Kent v Somerset no play yet today

Old Trafford: Lancashire v Surrey play abandoned for the day

Trent Bridge: Nottinghamshire v Essex 62-2

Edgbaston: Warwickshire v Worcestershire 123-1


Derby: Derbyshire v Gloucestershire play abandoned for the day

Lord’s: Middlesex v Glamorgan 118-1

Hove: Sussex v Northamptonshire no play yet today

Headingley: Yorkshire v Leicestershire no play yet today

And a further inspection after lunch at Hove; while Dillon Pennington has taken his first wicket for Nottinghamshire, Khushi for 18, Essex 48-1. The first time I saw him bowl, about five years ago, his trousers were flapping above his ankles, I wonder if he plumps for longer ones these days.

Play abandoned for the day at Durham

That’s three called off for the day, three live and three in the waiting room.


First fifty of the season...

…goes to new Glamorgan captain Sam Northeast! Ten fours, 51 balls.

Play abandoned for the day at Old Trafford

And so it begins.

“Good Afternoon Tanya, good afternoon all!”

Em Jackson! Lovely to hear from you.

”I’m sitting here on Tyneside awaiting the commentary from Wearside & seeing grey clouds being blown northwards outside my window. Hopefully that’s good for the prospects of play in Chester-le-Street, if not for putting any laundry out once the spin cycle finishes.

”However, if I may digress to Division 2 & my other home County, Gloucestershire. I think they’ll be soon changing their moniker from “Glorious” to “Groundhog Day” given the rain affecting their season start again (although this time in Derbys.). If the drainage at the County Ground, Bristol, is the reason why relocation is vital to prevent income loss, then sooner rather than later please?! Even if that means my dream will die to own one of those gorgeous Ashley Down Rd. end apartments.”

Still just the two wickets to fall this morning – ul Hassan to Bamber (Glam whizzing along to 92-1) and Libby to Booth Worcs 98-1. Khushi and Elgar looking in top form at Trent Bridge (32-0) .

Oooooh, that’s quite a tantalising Essex line up: Elgar, Khushi, Westley, Cox, Critchley, Walter. Currently 14-0 off three and a bit overs.

Michael Booth has his first first-class wicket! Runaway Worcs lose a wicket, as Jake Libby top edges and is caught inside the rope. Worcestershire 77-1.

More sheeting being pulled on at Old Trafford to cover the run-ups. Now being pegged down. When I came in this morning, Lancashire were in the nets and I was instantly taken back to when I first started doing this job and if there was one person in the nets you could guarantee it would be Haseeb Hameed. Really happy to see he is Notts captain this year, where his first decision has been to decide to bowl after winning the toss at Trent Bridge. Play due there imminently.

Your first wicket of the season: Ethan Bamber on the money for Middlesex, where Billy Root has already hit four fours in his 28 not out.

Down at Hove, where there will be no play before lunch, Matt Prior gave new signing John Simpson his county cap this morning.

And another email lands with a thud. “Good Morning Tanya, this is Sarthak Chugh all the way over from Mumbai, India. I have been (a little too eagerly) waiting for the start of the County Championship however just like the skies over in your country, my mood has been dampened with the continuous “Match has been delayed” messages filling up my phone.
Not to brag, and it is not a pleasant feeling at all, but the weather right now in Mumbai is teetering on the 40 degree scale. Seems like we are on vastly contrasting unplayable levels here.
”Having moaned about this, the first bowl is about to be bowled at Lord’s and my mood has improved significantly. I hope I haven’t jinxed it. Regardless, a very Happy New Championship Day to you and the team.”

Well thank you Sarthak! And please do feel free to join in with the chat below the line, new commentators always welcome. At Old Trafford the covers are resolutely on, the flag is dancing a merry dance above the Hilton Hotel and a scattering of loyal fans are sitting in the stands.

Morning,” Hello Tom v c Gucht.! “I got the train to Leeds this morning before heading over down the Aire Valley to plant some trees on rewilded farmland in memory of my dad. My meteorological and geological insights suggest it’s muggy, overcast, blustery with a very high water-table and generally saturated underfoot turf. Obviously l, the groundstaff probably have better drainage facilities than moorland on Kildwick, but you get the picture.” I hope the tree planting goes well, what a lovely idea.

I see Billy Root is opening for Glamorgan. No wickets lost yet at Lord’s:Glamorgan 16-0 against Bamber and Higgins.

Chris Rushworth beating the bat at Edgbaston, while Ollie Hannon-Dalby struggling a bit with his run-up in the gusts of wind. Worcs a heady 24-0 off three and a half overs.

Some news from Derby, where play was called off at 10am. In the words of the reporters network reporter, “the ground is so wet after weeks of rain that the prospects of the Division Two fixture starting on time on day two already look slim.”

Play at two grounds: Lord's and Edgbaston

Where Middlesex have won the toss and chosen to bowl, as have Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

Freddie Lynch writes in “Welcome to the new season! Toss news from Edgbaston particularly interesting - Sam Hain missing out due to personal reasons makes Warwickshire’s XI look quite a lot weaker. With no Woakes around either, could be a tricky start to the season for the Bears...” Jason Holder makes his Worcestershire debut.


Livestream links

Thanks for the nudge Richard McKeary. All the games will be covered by BBC local radio and links to the livestreams either through the ECB or county websites.

A couple of emails have dropped. Good morning, Guy Hornsby:

“Sadly the sun in south Manchester is hiding now but I hope the drizzle stops for us all soon. I’m taking my 6 year-old daughter to her first County Championship game today, even if it’s looking dicey for seeing any cricket. We’ve got a packed lunch and cricket bat and ball, what more do you need!”

A nice covered walkway just past the media centre is good for some cricket if the skies open – hope she enjoys it!

And hello Phil Withall! “Welcome back! A new season, a new hope, a new underwhelming weather situation. I hope there is enough off field content to keep you occupied.... If it’s any consolation it’s raining in Queensland too...” I’m about to go and investigate the brownies….

Rain delays also at Canterbury and Trent Bridge

No play before lunch at Canterbury, tbc at Trent Bridge

which leaves us, I think, with play at Durham, Edgbaston, Lord’s and Headingley.

Inspection at 10.30 at Headingley. Feeling particularly sorry for Gloucestershire, whose last season was rain-ruined, and who have already been rained off at Derby for the day and whose chances of hosting their first home game against Yorkshire next week are already looking precarious.


The Cricketer/Times’ Paul Edwards has given me a new season present, a copy of Ben and Imo by Mark Ravenhill, which he rates as a must-go-to play at Stratford, if you live anywhere near. But it only runs until tomorrow so you haven’t got long. In return I’ve given him a hot-cross bun from local deli Barbakan.

No play before lunch at Hove and off for the day at Derby

Wet, wet, wet….

No play before lunch at Old Trafford

Have arrived at Old Trafford to find the covers on and no play before lunch.


Fixtures - Division Two

Derby: Derbyshire v Gloucestershire

Lord’s: Middlesex v Glamorgan

Hove: Sussex v Northamptonshire

Headingley: Yorkshire v Leicestershire

Fixtures - Division One

Chester le Street: Durham v Hampshire

Canterbury: Kent v Somerset

Old Trafford: Lancashire v Surrey

Trent Bridge: Nottinghamshire v Essex

Edgbaston: Warwickshire v Worcestershire


Good morning! Welcome back long-time friends and a warm hello to anyone new poking their head around the door, who has a fancy for following the County Championship through this season.

Today, anything seems possible. Gloucestershire could be promoted; Kent could steal the pennant from under the well-funded noses of south London. For now, a glass raised to new starts, old dogs, stars born and friends made. I’ll be at Old Trafford shortly – the skies are … frowning.

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