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6.05pm: Alex Winter rounds up today’s other action
Full reports to come from all the grounds but a quick word on the three games we haven't heard too much of today...
A good first dig from Essex picking up four batting points against Gloucestershire at Chelmsford. Billy Godleman made 130 - ironically one of the slower innings in a card full of brisk efforts, notably Adam Wheater’s 56 from 42 balls. Three wickets apiece for the young seamers Ian Saxelby and James Fuller.
Leicestershire fought back to end day one at Grace Road on top. Claude Henderson made 57 not out after the top three had all made ducks to help the hosts to a respectable total. Then two wickets each for captain Matthew Hoggard and Robbie Joseph and one of Nadeem Malik reduced Glamorgan to 25 for 5 at the close.
And at the Racecourse Dan Redfern made 110 for Derbyshire and Jack Brooks did most of the damage for Northants with 5 for 61 as the hosts put a useful score on the board. Tim Groenewald then removed two of the top three as the visitors closed in a spot of bother.
All the best reaction to come of course from all our reporters on location today and the usual plethora of statistics and pictures available here on ESPNcricinfo so do have a browse. We’ll be back tomorrow for day two of the county season so make sure you join us then.
5.20pm: ECB statement
"Mervyn Westfield and Danish Kaneria have been notified that an ECB Disciplinary Panel hearing will take place at which charges will be heard relating to their alleged breaches of the ECB’s anti-corruption directives.
"The charges relate to the corrupt activities which led to Mervyn Westfield’s criminal conviction in February.
"The Chairman of the ECB‘s Cricket Discipline Commission, Gerard Elias QC, will chair the hearing."
Story follows later on ESPNcricinfo by George Dobell
The ECB will be making no further comment whilst these proceedings are on-going.
5.00pm: Myles Hodgson at Yorkshire v Kent
For a ground that was under snow and ice just over 24 hours ago, Headingley is surpassing all expectations on the first day of the season. Kent’s batsmen have certainly taken a shine to it with half-centuries from Scott Newman and Brendan Nash while Rob Key was cruelly run out on 97 just moments after a press box discussion enthusing about how well he had run during his innings.
After a big improvement during the afternoon session, when Yorkshire claimed three Kent wickets, Yorkshire have struggled again in the evening session with Kent well placed on 293-3.
While we may not see a century on the opening day at Headingley, there has been a first of sorts – no one can remember ever having to pull the blinds down in the press box to block out the sun at this stage of the season.
4.35 pm: George Dobell at Surrey v Sussex
A pugnacious innings from Tom Maynard has kept Surrey in the match against Sussex on the first day at The Kia Oval.
Maynard, putting bat to ball in typically uncomplicated fashion, has looked as if he was playing a different game for much of the afternoon. While his colleagues have departed to a succession of loose strokes, the 23-year-old Maynard has looked a class above. At one stage he thumped six fours in 19 balls, cutting and driving with power and suggesting there are few demons in this early season pitch.
None of his colleagues could stay with him. After Zander de Bruyn tarnished his half-century with a loose drive and Rory Hamilton-Brown was caught down the legside, Rory Burns, driving nicely through point, helped add 82 for the sixth wicket. But when he fell, drawn into a poke outside off stump, it precipitated a collapse that saw the hosts lose four wickets for the addition of just 29 runs.
Gareth Batty, attempting to cut a ball a little too full for the shot, played on, before Stuart Meaker, attempting to steer one to third man, was brilliantly caught by a diving Chris Nash at backward point and Jon Lewis was caught at slip attempting a footless waft.
Maynard protected Jade Dernbach for a while as the last pair added 29 for the last wicket, but when the latter fell to a remarkably ambitious stroke – down on one knee, driving at a wide one – Maynard was left undefeated on 86. He deserved better.
That wicket also secured the ninth five-wicket haul of Amjad Khan’s career. While he would be the first to admit that the batsmen were in obliging form, Khan deserved some reward for a his perseverance on a sluggish surface.
There is little in the pitch or the conditions to suggest batting should prove particularly problematic. After a tricky first hour, the pitch settled down and Surrey may well reflect that their total is some way below par.
4.20pm: David Lloyd at Somerset v Middlesex
Big things are expected from Vernon Philander over the next couple of months – and nothing about the South African’s first spell at Taunton suggested that West Country optimism is misplaced.
Philander has taken Test cricket by storm since making his debut in November: 51 wickets in seven matches at 14 runs apiece. He didn’t hang about in announcing himself for Somerset, either, by having Sam Robson caught behind off his third ball.
The powerfully built fast bowler could easily have added to that success with just a touch of luck but figures of one for eight from seven overs were still worth writing home about.
Philander is due to leave Somerset at the end of May ahead of South Africa’s tour to this country. Middlesex were pleased to see the back of him, albeit temporarily, after an hour or so today and passed 50 before losing a second wicket, Chris Rogers for 17.
4.00pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Worcestershire
It is reasonable to assume now that unless there is snow in the meantime there will not be a lot happening here on Sunday. The first two sessions have accounted for 15 wickets and you wouldn’t bet against Notts batting again this evening.
Ben Phillips, the former Somerset seamer who didn’t get much of a look-in last season, has taken his first two Championship wickets for Notts to justify his selection ahead of Andy Carter for the bowling berth vacated by the injured Darren Pattinson.
Andre Adams is back in the groove, in every sense. Out second ball trying to hit Richard Jones out of the ground, as is his won't, regardless of the scorecard, he has restated his class with the ball, producing a couple of gems to remove a couple of left-handers in Moeen Ali and James Cameron. Worcs are 59-5 at tea and Notts’ too-often careless 118 all out doesn’t look too bad.
3.55pm: Alex Winter rounds up today’s other matches
In Division Two, last year’s wooden spooners Leicestershire have made a recovery of sorts to bring up a batting bonus point after being 0 for 2, rescued by contributions from Ramnaresh Sarwan (41) and the old stager Claude Henderson (31 not out).
Essex have made thumping progress throughout the day against Gloucestershire. They were inserted but have rattled along at four-and-a-half per over with Billy Godleman 93 not out.
And at the Racecourse, Derbyshire are handily placed thanks to Ross Whiteley's unbeaten 81; three wickets there for Jack Brooks.
The latest photos for today’s action can be found here.
3.04pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Worcestershire
Notts have been bowled out for 118 by the team that have again started the season as favourites to be relegated, albeit at longer odds than this time a year ago. To be fair to Worcestershire, they were seldom rolled over last season and beat the champions, Lancashire, by 10 wickets at New Road in the last week of August.
Notts were rolled over here, spared deeper embarrassment only by Paul Franks, now in his 17th season with the county, who emerged from the wreckage with an unbeaten half-century. Richard Jones twice took two wickets in three balls on his way to six for 32. The batting was fragile, with no sign yet of the backbone Michael Lumb and James Taylor have been hired to implant. Doubt if a fourth day will be needed.
2.20pm: David Lloyd at Somerset v Middlesex
Well, thank goodness for that. We were starting to feel a bit left out of it down here in the West Country. Play, play everywhere else but not a drop of action to enjoy at the County Ground before lunch.
No matter – it’s a long season. And when the rain finally relented there was not too much hanging around or fretting about wet run-ups. Instead, umpires Rob Bailey and Martin Bodenham settled for a 2.45pm start with a possible 55 overs to be bowled.
Batting was unlikely to be straightforward in conditions that were still a little damp and gloomy and Somerset’s decision to stick ‘em in after winning the toss came as no surprise. Mind, they did the same thing against Warwickshire in the opening game of last season – and lost by an innings and 382 runs.
1.30pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Worcestershire
Given their notoriously brittle track record, Chris Read should really have known better than to deliver even a mildly positive prognosis in relation to the health of his batting line-up, even with the addition of Michael Lumb and James Taylor. ‘Notts top order is best for years‘ declared the headline in the Nottingham Post, introducing an upbeat interview with captain Read. The lunchtime scoreboard begged to differ.
The first morning of a new season should not necessarily be taken as a guide to anything, of course, and on a chill, cloudy morning preceded by two days of icy rain the toss was probably the key moment. Worcester won it, bowled a length that invited the drive and Notts slipped into familiar ways. Lumb scored off only one of his 22 balls before David Lucas moved one away to have him caught behind, Taylor drove his sixth ball to the fence past point but found the fielder there two balls later. Neil Edwards, dropped on nought, worked hard to reach 21 in two hours only to be leg before on the front pad to Moeen Ali in the last over of the morning.
1.08pm: Myles Hodgson at Yorkshire v Kent
It has not been the best of first mornings for Yorkshire, who everyone had expected to set division two alight to gain immediate promotion. While one bad morning does not make a season, Kent have given them an illustration of just how hard it may be to regain their place in the top division.
Having lost the toss with Kent deciding to bat first, Yorkshire’s attack looked decidedly rusty and allowed Scott Newman and Rob Key to both claim half centuries and guide their side to a healthy 117-0 at lunch.
It is fair to say that Jason Gillespie, Yorkshire’s new head coach, may have an early test of his management skills while, as yet, there have been no reported phone calls from the new president out in Colombo.
1.05pm George Dobell at Surrey v Sussex
Zander de Bruyn highlighted the debate over the pros and cons of Kolpak registrations before lunch at the Kia Oval. De Bruyn, the 36-year-old South African, was selected ahead of the prodigiously talented Jason Roy, a 21-year-old with realistic long-term England aspirations for the championship game against Sussex and responded with a defiant innings.
Surrey, inserted in cold and gloomy conditions, recovered from 11 for two largely thanks to de Bruyn’s sensible tight technique and shot selection. While his colleagues pushed at balls outside off stump, de Bruyn was content to wait for the poor ball which he put away without fuss.
The hosts have been grateful for his contribution. With Mark Ramprakash departing LBW not long before the interval – Ramprakash looked a long way forward but, in these post-DRS days that is no guarantee of safety – Sussex still enjoyed the best of the session despite a third-wicket stand of 68. Conditions have already eased substantially, however, and we could be set for some more attritional cricket in the afternoon.
12.10pm George Dobell at Surrey v Sussex
Batting has been desperately hard work here at a gloomy Kia Oval, but perhaps Surrey have weathered the worst of the storm. Surrey only scored 23 off the bat in the first hour – there were 13 extras as some wayward bowling and late movement made life hard for the Sussex keeper - and have lost both their openers.
Jacques Rudolph, frustrated by some tight bowling, was drawn into a loose, footless drive and edged to third slip where Ed Joyce took the catch at the second attempt, before Chris Jordan, who never looked secure, prodded at one outside off stump in Amjad Khan’s first over and played on.
Mark Ramprakash, who scored just three from his first 32 balls, has just launched into a sumptuous off drive for four, however, while Zander de Bruyn has driven two fours off Khan and guided another to third man off Jimmy Anyon. The pair have added 39 so far and Surrey are 50 for two.
Sorry to say we appear to be having a few early teething problems with the scorecards in particular. There’s someone in a lab coat working on it as we speak. In the meantime, though, you can access them through right clicking and opening a new tab.
Yorkshire supporters might be interested to see Azeem Rafiq, Ajmal Shahzad and Adil Rashid talk about the new season. While Essex supporters can watch Alviro Peterson talk about how important overseas players are in the county game and why he didn’t rejoin Glamorgan
11.34am: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Worcestershire
Spectators here are wisely well wrapped but the sun is peeking through here, casting its light on a new-look Nottinghamshire batting line-up. Mick Newell has brought in Michael Lumb and James Taylor to repair what has become the team’s Achilles heel.
Clearly, there is a little work still to be done yet, however. After Worcestershire won the toss and invited the home side to resume their familiar battle against early-season Trent Bridge wickets (actually, make that all-season), Notts lost Alex Hales (4) to a slip catch off the fourth ball of the day and Lumb (3) caught behind before half an hour had elapsed, with Neil Edwards dropped on nought in between. Alan Richardson and David Lucas are loving it. Taylor, after coupling a golden duck with an unbeaten century against Loughborough MCCU earlier in the week, is already taking guard. What odds five down before lunch?
11.07am: Myles Hodgson at Yorkshire v Kent
It may be a trifle early in the season to being making recommendations for the end of season awards season, but an early shout should go to head groundsman Andy Fogarty and his staff at Headingley.
Some of you may have seen pictures of the icy outfield at Headingley in this morning’s papers and, quite rightly, assumed we may have a delayed start.
Instead, the sun is shining – although temperatures are still cold enough to provoke a shiver – and we have just had the first over, bowled by Ryan Sidebottom from the Rugby Stand end. May the next six months be as enjoyable as last summer.
10.45am: David Lloyd at Somerset v Middlesex
Scorecards are a quaint old English tradition – you just don’t find them in other parts of the world. But they’re useful and packed with handy information. Well, generally. The first edition of the first day card here was pretty much spot on so far as the home side were concerned, give or take an extra ‘l’ in the name of Somerset’s new overseas recruit, Vernon Philander. But Middlesex’s XI needed a bit of work – just the seven changes from what looked more like a second team. Still, a little light editing work gave early bird arrivals something to do while waiting (and hoping) for the rain to stop.
10.00am: George Dobell at Surrey v Sussex
Hello from the Kia Oval, where a few of us have arrived nice and early only to find Roald Amundsen has already come and gone.
These are exciting times. Not only is it the start of a new season, but we hope that this forum/blog (call it what you will) becomes an established part of the fabric of summer. We very much hope that, between us, we can show that there is still a passion for county cricket. We look forward to hearing your views.
For this round of games we have Myles Hodgson at Headingley Carnegie (for Yorkshire v Kent), Jon Culley at Trent Bridge (for Nottinghamshire v Worcestershire) and David Lloyd at Taunton (for Somerset v Middlesex). All of us will update through the day and answer questions as we can.
Here at the Kia Oval it is bitterly cold. The teams are out practising (Sussex are playing football; wouldn’t it be nice if Manchester United warmed up for a Premiership match with a game of cricket?) and Sussex head coach, Mark Robinson, is already resembling Jack Nicholson in the last scene of The Shining. Though without the knife, thankfully. Seriously, Captain Oates wouldn’t venture out in this weather for fear of catching his death. Inevitably the cold weather (and fear of polar bear attacks) will have an effect on spectator numbers and no doubt some imaginative sub-editor will soon be publishing a picture of any empty stand. Sigh.
Chris Adams appears not to notice the cold. He is wearing shorts. The Surrey director of cricket, a man who was so closely involved in Sussex’s glory years, is currently hobbling around on crutches having undergone two knee operations (on the same knee) earlier this week.
Sussex are without Monty Panesar and Matt Prior, who are both on England duty, while Luke Wright is with the Pune Warriors in the IPL. Steve Magoffin, the Australian seamer who signed as overseas player when Tim Southee pulled out, has not arrived yet, either.
Surrey, meanwhile, are without Chris Tremlett (injured) Steve Davies and Kevin Pietersen (both England), but welcome Jacques Rudolph, who arrived in England on Tuesday. Rory Burns, who scored a maiden first-class century last week, and Jon Lewis, joining the club after many years with Gloucestershire, are in line for championship debuts for the club. Stuart Meaker, who missed the game against Leeds/Bradford MCCU with a stiff neck, is available for selection. One of the options is to open the batting with allrounder Chris Jordan.
If you’ve a bit of time over the day our new column – County Cricket Matters - from Kenny Shovel is well worth a read.
The latest Two Chucks is very good, too.
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David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.