May 9, 2012

LV= County Championship, Wednesday May 9

6.30pm: Alan Gardner wraps up the day
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6.30pm: Alan Gardner wraps up the day

Rain, rain, etc. But Northants and Leicestershire did get in some play at Grace Road, where Kyle Coetzer's unbeaten 43 was the highlight for the visitors. There'll be reports from that match, as well as the four others that saw action, over on our county homepage. Check them out - we promise it'll be better than receiving a grubber off a length.

5.15pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Worcestershire

After the attempt to make a 3.30 start was abandoned, the rain has not stopped and there will be no more play until tomorrow. Andrew Strauss has been across for a net in the indoor lanes in the Radcliffe Road stand. Having watched Hales and Lumb prosper, even against Steven Finn, the England captain might just fancy his chances of a score.

4.40pm: Charles Randall at Essex v Kent

Play has been abandoned for the day to the cold and wet at Chelmsford. Kent 17 for 5.

4.05pm: David Hopps at Durham v Somerset

Durham, bottom of Division One, have an average age of 31 and as they slumped to 125 all out against Somerset, they seemed much older. Somerset’s average age is 23, and at times in the last hour, as they have tabled 65 for 4 in reply, they seemed much younger.

That’s age for you. Do well and age is cunning and know-how; do badly and limbs and minds are held to be weary. In similar fashion, when youth does well, the cry goes up in favour of exuberance and spirit; do badly and naivety is held to be the cause.

On this pitch, bowlers have looked good and batsmen have been sacrificial. Graham Onions, true and straight, took wickets in his first two overs with lbw decisions against Arul Suppiah, first ball, and Alex Barrow; Lewis Gregory, who had batted soundly, pulled Callum Thorp to mid-on; and James Hildreth looked late on the shot as Mitch Claydon bowled him middle-and-off.

I am tempted to suggest in all seriousness that says Peter Trego should have a dart after tea. It will be interesting to see if he does.

3.50pm: Charles Randall at Essex v Kent

Rain has halted play with Kent in dire trouble at 17-5, bemused by the military swing of Charl Willoughby. No doubt Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara, viewing the shambles from the slips, were glad they did not have to bat in such awkward conditions in their search for time at the crease before England duty. But maybe the Kent attack, containing Ivan Thomas on his Championship debut, would not have been as effective as Willoughby and David Masters, two very experienced medium-pace practitioners.

Rob Key and his men were given little scope while Willoughby swung the ball in sharply and Masters nibbled away on a good length. There was something of a domino effect as each subsequent batsman seemed anxious to get out as soon as feasible. Willougby adopted a similar strategy to the 1970s England left-arm seamer John Lever, the subject of a special display in the cricket museum here. An Essex legend, Lever brought success to the county by pitching the ball up, swinging it and giving nothing way.

3.45pm: Elsewhere

If you are wearied at the thought of David Hopps's polemic on the Mitchell Starc imbroglio and more bother for Yorkshire, you might like to pass the time in between the showers by reading Tanya Aldred and an altogether more gentle assessment of Peter Moores' coaching challenge at Lancashire.

And watch out later for Andrew McGlashan's latest on England Lions v West Indies, where Michael Carberry is seeking to reawaken his England career, and George Dobell's round-up of the best news around.

One team not playing this week is Glamorgan. Their very talented bowler James Harris has had his injury troubles recently. Read his thoughts on T20, sushi and architecture.

3.20pm: Charles Randall at Essex v Kent

Essex have slipped to 9-5 in seven overs, hardly able to lay bat on ball. Scott Newman thin-edged a catch off David Masters second ball of the innings and Charl Willoughby's swinging left-armers accounted for four more wickets. Can't look away because something might happen...

3.00pm: David Hopps at Durham v Somerset

Durham still don’t have a half-century in the top six. What’s more they don’t have a first innings left. It’s all over in circumstances leaving one local journalist wondering if it might be a day to upgrade from “abject” to “execrable,” a word that if memory serves was much fancied by Michael Henderson when he wrote about an innings with which he did not find favour. Now he was a polemicist.

The loss of seven wickets in 9.3 overs for 35 runs have seen Durham bowled out for 125 in 46 overs. The Eleven Fit Men of Somerset, barely more than you fit on Uncle Tom Cobley’s horse (yes, I know that’s Devon but it’s near enough when you are in a hurry) are cock-a-hoop to have laid waste to Durham’s batting on a lively, seaming but by no means unplayable surface. It is just what this game needs with every chance of a washout on the second day.

Craig Overton, the gangling young Devonian, has taken three of the last five wickets to finish with 4 for 38, Craig Meschede the other two. Overton clearly has promise and is tall enough to delight in high fives with smaller colleagues who can’t reach. It is to be hoped that Somerset, short on resources, use him wisely at such a tender age.

“Onions will be a danger on here,” someone said. Sure enough, he had Arul Suppiah lbw to the first ball of the innings. An anxious 40 minutes follows for Somerset until tea – and another anxious hour afterwards.

2.45pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Middlesex

The rain has arrived at Trent Bridge and it is possible that the 42 overs bowled so far will be the full allocation for the day, given the forecast. The entire square has been covered. Happily the rest of the week looks better.

There is still no separating Alex Hales and Michael Lumb although their progress has been restricted by some tight Middlesex bowling. The scoring rate has dropped from more than three and a half runs per over to less than two.

England's Steven Finn has run in to some purpose from the pavilion end and has troubled Lumb a couple of times with his pace and bounce. The batsman looked particularly relieved not to get a touch when one ball that climbed and left him late outside off stump, but he completed his half-century with a handsome on-drive off the same bowler.

It is Lumb's third time past fifty in his 11 Championship innings so far for Notts, who are 132-1, with Hales on 71. All the runs have come in this partnership.

2.45pm: Charles Randall at Essex v Kent

Essex have decided to insert Kent, not surprisingly, though the ball is wet. Rob Key and Scott Newman are both bashers and might flourish if there isn't much swing. Play is about to start and is unlikely to be dull.

The public address has announced that adults admission has been reduced from £16 to £8 and that Billy Godleman's shirt number has gone down from 35 to 34.

2.20pm: Elsewhere

The other game today is at Grace Road where they have had play. Northamptonshire who were so close to promotion last season, got their season up and running with a big victory over Hampshire last week; Leicestershire were thumped by Yorkshire.

The hosts won the toss and two more wickets for Robbie Joseph, a revelation since his winter move from Kent, has reduced Northants to 99 for 3 before the rain arrived.

One team not playing this week is Glamorgan. Their very talented bowler James Harris has had his injury troubles recently. Read his thoughts on T20, sushi and architecture.

2.15pm: David Hopps at Durham v Somerset

Here is a startling batting statistic which gives one reason why Durham are at the foot of the table: they are into their fifth championship match of the season and not one batsman in the top six has yet made a half-century.

Phil Mustard, their captain, who bats at No 7, has one and is top of the averages as a result. Two quick bowlers - Mitch Claydon, who has their only other fifty, and Graham Onions – are second and third in the averages.

It could change today, of course, but only if Ian Blackwell changes it. The top five have come and gone against Somerset on a seaming pitch. Since lunch, Mark Stoneman has edged Vernon Philander to Craig Overton at wide third slip and Overton, a young whippersnapper of a bowler enjoying a surprise 1st X1 run, has had Gordon Muchall lbw.Overton, 18, has a nice high action, keeps hitting the seam and looks as if he is having the time of his life.

Mustard has walked out at 92 for 5 and must feel like getting on the phone to his Notts counterpart, Chris Read, another wicketkeeper-captain who regularly comes out to bat in calamitous circumstances, to ask him how he has managed to put up with it for so long.

1.50pm: Charles Randall at Essex v Kent

Play is expected to start at 2.45pm at overcast Chelmsford, with 55 overs play scheduled. The prospect of further rain looks quite strong, so no one here is getting too excited before the toss is made. I managed to get some grass seed down on my lawn yesterday, and by the time this Championship game finishes there might well be some shoots appearing if these muggy damp conditions persist.

1.25pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Middlesex

Nottinghamshire have not managed to put together a century stand for the first wicket in a Championship match since August 2008 and they still haven't, although today it feels like they have.

They lost their left-handed opener, Neil Edwards, to the seventh ball of the match -- Steven Finn's first -- before a run had been scored, since when Alex Hales and Michael Lumb have added 109 without further loss.

Chris Read had been spot-on in his decision to bat first, which seemed to alarm a few Twitterers mindful of Notts having picked up only one batting point in five matches. But the pitch cut for this game, on the Bridgford Road side of the square, has played pretty well. For once, the 'bowler-friendly' description might be redundant.

Neil Edwards was bowled off an inside edge via pad defending. There have been few scares subsequently. Hales, the more aggressive of the two batsman so far, edged one ball from Neil Dexter past Andrew Strauss at first slip moments after second slip had been taken out, but has otherwise looked relatively secure and fluent, picking up 12 boundaries in his 62. Lumb, more circumspectly, has reached 38.

1.10pm: David Lloyd at Hampshire v Derbyshire

Off here for the day, sad to say. But at least the forecast is a bit better for tomorrow – and quite a lot better for Friday and Saturday, so all is not lost.

1.05pm: Charles Randall at Essex v Kent

Covering has been maligned as the cause of bland pitches, but would there have been any Championship cricket at all for the past few weeks if covers had been illegal, as they were until 1924? That was the year when Derbyshire and Leicestershire had the idea of covering so that their prized matches against the touring South Africans would be more likely to go ahead for the benefit of the public. They were roundly condemned by the MCC for contravening the Laws until it was discovered Scarborough had been doing this for years. Then a rethink to permit commonsense. Can't trust Yorkies.

The drizzle has ceased at Chelmsford and the covers have done their job, but it is muggy and the threat of rain, real rain, is ever-present. Pity, because this game has the makings of a cracking contest.

1pm: George Dobell at Worcestershire v Surrey

It’s just started raining at New Road and the forecast is not particularly promising, but Worcestershire have enjoyed much the better of the first session here. Progress has been slow - we have only had three fours off the bat and Michael Klinger’s 16 have occupied more than 26 overs - but Worcestershire’s openers have shown good patience to record their second half-century opening stand of the summer. The other one was also against Surrey.

There doesn’t seem to be much in the pitch for the bowlers. On the few occasions the ball has beaten the bat, edges have not carried. George Edwards, a 19-year-old fast bowler making his championship debut, justified his selection ahead of Chris Jordan and Matt Dunn with an impressive spell of disciplined fast bowling, but enjoyed no fortune. He and Jon Lewis were the pick of the bowlers. Tim Linley’s figures flatter him a little as he has, most uncharacteristically, struggled with his line.

12.40pm: David Hopps at Durham v Somerset

I have to admit I gave a yelp of pleasure when Paul Collingwood decided to continue his county career with Durham. It was not a huge yelp – it does not do to get over-excited about such things – but Collingwood’s decision not to respond to England rejection by walking out on county cricket seemed to come into the category of what politicians of all hues now like to call the Right Thing To Do.

(That reminds me, I was amused to see on BBC News last night that on David Cameron’s visit to the Chelmsford tractor factory yesterday he was surrounded only by blue tractors. They have lots of red tractors as well but presumably they were hidden around the back. But I digress).

It is understandable why England players of great longevity find the county circuit hard to bear, especially a county circuit where the schedule remains unremittingly confused and, in the terms of Twenty20, unable to look IPL in the eye.

But county cricket needs England players of yore to return to the ranks for a couple of years. Marcus Trescothick’s retirement from international cricket because of a stress-related illness was to be deeply regretted but there has been no finer sight on the county circuit for the last couple of years than Trescothick in full flow. It sends the message that the game matters, and is in good hands.

The only problem for Collingwood is that The Right Thing To Do is not going awfully well. He was out third ball today and now has 37 runs in five attempts. He got off the mark with a streaky boundary off Peter Trego but then edged to James Hildreth at slip. Durham, who find themselves bottom of the table, needed something better especially as Dale Benkenstein pulled out at the last minute after dislocating a shoulder in the warm up.

Somerset are down to 11 fit players. They were interested in Ajmal Shahzad, but it would have meant him changing his lifestyle and becoming a West Country farmer rather than just popping over the Pennines from West Yorkshire so it was never going to happen. Vernon Philander dismissed Michael Di Venuto but looked below his best (sorry George) and Craig Meschede ended a pawky innings from Will Smith. Somerset, so depleted, would have bitten your hand off if you had offered them three down for 62 by the 19th over.

12.15pm: Charles Randall at Essex v Kent

Rumours raging around the Ford County Ground seemed to suggest there might be play for about three hours later this afternoon. But no cricket until lunch is the official status so far. There has been no toss but Essex are likely to be unchanged from last week's Cardiff wash-out, with Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara waiting for their chance to bat before international duties call.

12.10pm: David Lloyd at Hampshire v Derbyshire

As feared, no play here before lunch. And we will need a big improvement in the weather to get any action after knife and fork time.

That’s a real pity for those of us looking forward to watching table-topping Derbyshire for the first time this season and wondering whether Hampshire can find room for the recently surplus to requirements Danny Briggs.

11.45am: George Dobell at Worcestershire v Surrey

Morning from New Road, where Worcestershire have won the toss and opted to bat first. They have made a sound start, too.

There a couple of interesting inclusions in the Surrey side. For a start Kevin Pietersen is here, playing just his fifth championship match for Surrey, while George Edwards makes his championship debut. Edwards is a 19-year-old fast bowler - yet another product of the Surrey youth system - and has been preferred to former England U19 seamer Matt Dunn. Edwards has just started bowling and looks seriously sharp. Bit of Flintoff in his action.

It’s been a fine effort from the groundstaff to stage this game here today. As recently as the weekend, part of the outfield was under water, but the improved drainage installed as a result of the 2007 floods has worked wonders.

Ashley Giles - the Warwickshire director of cricket and one of the England selectors - is among the spectators.

11.40am: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Middlesex

Unlike most grounds, Trent Bridge do not insist on empty seats behind the bowler's arm. Members at the Pavilion End, at least, are trusted not to jump up and head for the bar, or dramatically unfold their Daily Telegraph, just as the batsman prepares to receive.

Choice of clothing can be a problem, however. Subtle, subdued colours are fine. Bold and vibrant less so. Especially red, as one gentleman discovered when waving arms and shouted messages from the middle prompted the stewards/fashion police to move him hurriedly to a less prominent vantage point.

Not that it helped Nottinghamshire. The first ball from that end bowled Neil Edwards anyway, as the towering Steven Finn struck an early blow for Middlesex.

There has been plenty of movement in the crowd at the Radcliffe Road end, mainly due to the fire alarms going off. Nottinghamshire, for whom Chris Read won the toss and, rather daringly in view of his side's track record opted to bat first, are 38-1.

11.30am: David Hopps at Durham v Somerset

No team has looked older than Durham in the County Championship this season. Many viewed their experience as reason to tip them for another County Championship, with injuries and Lions call-ups halting their latter-season charge last year. But come a new campaign and they are no wins from four matches with two defeats – bottom of the table. Today the temperature in the north-east has jumped to a balmy 13.5 degrees, enough perhaps to warm Durham’s creaking bones.

Regular listeners to the Switch Hit podcast will know who George Dobell’s favourite cricketer is. Sure enough Vernon Philander has taken the opening wicket of the match after Somerset won the toss.

11.15am: Sahil Dutta at Sussex v Lancashire

Good morning all. I say good, I mean drizzly. The news from Hove, remarkably, is that it's raining and there will be no play before lunch. Doubt we’ll see much after either. This comes a few days after Sussex's tour match against West Indies was restricted to 34 overs. All a bit grim. On the way in I met a poor fellow who’d come from Liverpool last night for this game and is scheduled to stay through the weekend, wonder how many overs he'll see.

Hove is not without a touch of glamour, though, this morning. There is the beer festival still on and Sky’s commentary team are down. Teams have not been announced but Ajmal Shahzad is in the Lancashire 13 so presumably would play. James Anderson, apparently, will not.

While we wait, have a read about Peter Moores. Tanya Aldred asking what makes him tick?

10.45am: David Lloyd at Hampshire v Derbyshire

Curious things happen at cricket grounds these days. Not much in the way of cricket, admittedly, so far this soggy season but counties are ever keen to attract new clients to their corporate suites and conference rooms in order to raise extra revenue.

And so it came to pass, as the drizzle drizzled and the players of Hampshire and Derbyshire huddled in their changing rooms this morning, that a company held one of those ‘team bonding’ days at the Ageas Bowl – with the promise (threat?) that employees would be able to do some ‘fire walking’ later in the day.

It’s all to do with finding your inner self, apparently. That and seeing how thick the soles of your feet are, presumably. Anyway, the very mention of flames was enough to trigger a (false alarm) fire alert – which at least sparked a moment or two of excitement in the media centre.

As for cricket, not much chance of play at the moment.

10.45am: Alex Winter at Gloucestershire v Yorkshire

No play before lunch here and I would strongly suggest no play all day because this afternoon’s forecast is horrendous. Thankfully tomorrow’s charts have cleared but this could still be a two-and-a-half day fixture.

I’m sure Gloucestershire are pleased Mitchell Starc can’t fill in his forms properly! Saying that, they are suddenly in a position where Dan Housego, the winter signing from Middlesex, is left out of the squad because they have a few guys in form. A second-innings total of over 400 and a century from Kane Williamson helped them draw last week at Derby. Benny Howell, who everyone can’t believe was released from Hampshire, has come into the championship and CB40 teams and looked a good cricketer – he will retain his place here.

9.30am: Alan Gardner sets the scene

As surely as the rain continues to fall, the County Championship rumbles on, water dripping from the brim of its floppy "sun" hat. We have a full schedule of eight games starting today, although, as you can see from the handy little weather symbols on our fixtures page, the elements are set to impose themselves once again.

Luckily, at the grounds we have a hardy bunch, armed with insight and wit as well as galoshes and brollies. The full line-up is:

Division One Durham v Somerset - David Hopps Nottinghamshire v Middlesex - Jon Culley Sussex v Lancashire - Sahil Dutta Worcestershire v Surrey - George Dobell

Divison Two Essex v Kent - Charles Randall Gloucestershire v Yorkshire - Alex Winter Hampshire v Derbyshire - David Lloyd

There's also action at Grace Road, between Leicestershire and Northants. Do chip in below the line with your thoughts, questions and funnies. And while you wait for the start of rain-delays-play, here's our editor, David Hopps, on the Mitchell Starc imbroglio and more bother for Yorkshire.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Samuel on May 9, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    To be honest David, I wouldn't recommend heading too far South West - once you get past Wells, things start to get weird :P Far better off up here in Bath and Bristol - fine cities both, with good countryside and even better cider knocking about.

  • Michael Trout on May 9, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    Something fishy going on at Yorkshire methinks. As that nice Mr Wilde once said: "To lose one paceman, Mr Graves, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness."

  • David Hopps on May 9, 2012, 15:38 GMT

    @Dave Lewis.... I have always wanted on the bad days to take it easy and semi-retire to a West Country orchard. Where's the best place to take it easy in the ever-more-crowded south west these days?

  • Nick C on May 9, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    Dibble and Buttler are injured....I don't like some Somerset fans blame Rose for the situation were in. Who could have predicted that we'd have 6 first team injurues and 2 players on other duties (IPL and Lions) after a month into the season. It's a testament to the current set-up that we are still competing. Although we have been found out against Surrey on Friday and lucky for the rain against Lancs. Still we have every right to worry with a fully fit side we can expect to compete for top honours in all competitions and to not do that due to injury is disappointing.

  • Mathew on May 9, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    To Nick C and Samuel to be fair lads I think as a team you have the least to worry about out of pritty much everyone. Due to some unexpected circumstances your squad may look a bit thin at the moment but lets be honest any team with the amount of talent you have missing at the moment would be struggling. As for your youngsters they are the best crop out of any county team buttler, overton brothers, barrow, gregory, dockrell, waller, dibble and merschede and barrow who I played against the year before last and are real quality. You konw there is a reason you have been making all the final the last couple of years because your squad is real quality.

  • David Hopps on May 9, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    Your fears have proved justified.... perhaps time for Trego to have a dart after tea?

  • Samuel on May 9, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    Nick, again I agree - considering we're bringing youngsters up on a batting strip like Taunton (a dream place to learn to bat surely?), the likes of Barrow and Jones don't quite seem good enough for me. Suppiah has some good days but as many bad, and him and Gregory at the top of the order doesn't strike me as solid!

    However, it could be worse; we could be Kent right about now...

  • Nick C on May 9, 2012, 14:00 GMT

    Why does Suppiah rarely fill me with confidence? Tbh when I saw the team sheet I was more worried about that batting. Onions really is a class act as we all know so it's really a case of praying Trego, Hildreth and Kieswetter can make a game of it. Or these two young lads may have a chance to truly shine.

  • Samuel on May 9, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    ... and as I say that, Sup gets a first baller!

  • Samuel on May 9, 2012, 13:53 GMT

    Agree Nick - but without Trescothick and Compton in the top 3 I don't think we'll find batting against Onions any easier! We're in for a low scoring game I think.

  • Samuel on May 9, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    To be honest David, I wouldn't recommend heading too far South West - once you get past Wells, things start to get weird :P Far better off up here in Bath and Bristol - fine cities both, with good countryside and even better cider knocking about.

  • Michael Trout on May 9, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    Something fishy going on at Yorkshire methinks. As that nice Mr Wilde once said: "To lose one paceman, Mr Graves, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness."

  • David Hopps on May 9, 2012, 15:38 GMT

    @Dave Lewis.... I have always wanted on the bad days to take it easy and semi-retire to a West Country orchard. Where's the best place to take it easy in the ever-more-crowded south west these days?

  • Nick C on May 9, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    Dibble and Buttler are injured....I don't like some Somerset fans blame Rose for the situation were in. Who could have predicted that we'd have 6 first team injurues and 2 players on other duties (IPL and Lions) after a month into the season. It's a testament to the current set-up that we are still competing. Although we have been found out against Surrey on Friday and lucky for the rain against Lancs. Still we have every right to worry with a fully fit side we can expect to compete for top honours in all competitions and to not do that due to injury is disappointing.

  • Mathew on May 9, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    To Nick C and Samuel to be fair lads I think as a team you have the least to worry about out of pritty much everyone. Due to some unexpected circumstances your squad may look a bit thin at the moment but lets be honest any team with the amount of talent you have missing at the moment would be struggling. As for your youngsters they are the best crop out of any county team buttler, overton brothers, barrow, gregory, dockrell, waller, dibble and merschede and barrow who I played against the year before last and are real quality. You konw there is a reason you have been making all the final the last couple of years because your squad is real quality.

  • David Hopps on May 9, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    Your fears have proved justified.... perhaps time for Trego to have a dart after tea?

  • Samuel on May 9, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    Nick, again I agree - considering we're bringing youngsters up on a batting strip like Taunton (a dream place to learn to bat surely?), the likes of Barrow and Jones don't quite seem good enough for me. Suppiah has some good days but as many bad, and him and Gregory at the top of the order doesn't strike me as solid!

    However, it could be worse; we could be Kent right about now...

  • Nick C on May 9, 2012, 14:00 GMT

    Why does Suppiah rarely fill me with confidence? Tbh when I saw the team sheet I was more worried about that batting. Onions really is a class act as we all know so it's really a case of praying Trego, Hildreth and Kieswetter can make a game of it. Or these two young lads may have a chance to truly shine.

  • Samuel on May 9, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    ... and as I say that, Sup gets a first baller!

  • Samuel on May 9, 2012, 13:53 GMT

    Agree Nick - but without Trescothick and Compton in the top 3 I don't think we'll find batting against Onions any easier! We're in for a low scoring game I think.

  • Nick C on May 9, 2012, 13:49 GMT

    Well I'd have bitten your arm off for that bowling result at the beginning of the day. Lets hope the batting can put in the same kind of application. Congratulations to Craig Overton, opening the bowling taking 4 wickets for 38 runs at an econ of 2.37 in his second FC game, the lad hasn't even been 18 for a month yet. Okay probably helpful conditions but he's probably playing a lot sooner than he thought he would.

  • David Hopps on May 9, 2012, 13:49 GMT

    And as a result of the rant I fully expect to have my suitcase laid bare and to be stripsearched when I take a brief break over half-term. I will have to smile bravely and take my punishment. Which reminds me, when I go abroad I am insecure enough to take about 20 biros with me. These are routinely seperated into several pieces when I unpack my suitcase. Is that just the effects of the flight or do people think I am smuggling drugs inside pens or something? This has bothered me for 20 years.

  • David Hopps on May 9, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    @ Dave Lewis. It was a rant, indeed, but it was not in essence a political rant. Nobody doubts that someone representing Starc has messed up and I am not saying it should be waved aside. But show some commonsense and sit him in a darkened room, a hotel or whatever until it is sorted out. Any commonsense assessment is that he is not an immigration risk and everybody knows he is here for a specific purpose. The argument against this silly rant (or polemic as we prefer to call it) is that it gives favouritism to international sportsmen and women so where do you draw the line. "Where do you draw the line" is the usual question to defend following the rules to mindless extent.

  • Samuel on May 9, 2012, 13:21 GMT

    Alfonso hasn't even been in the Pune side for the last couple of weeks - might explain why they've slid so far down the IPL table! They were looking nailed on for a semi-final spot at one point, but luckily they've blown up spectacularly and Thomas should be back sooner rather than later.

  • Tim Vine on May 9, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    My wife left me beacuse of my obsession with The Monkees I thought she was joking ..... And then I saw her face

  • Coverpoint on May 9, 2012, 12:59 GMT

    County Cricket is a national treasure! I think we should revert to pre 1963 type of season - 5 Tests (the pinnacle needless to say) and 34 (adjusted for Durham)three-day county matches! No T20 and no boring 40/50 over nonsense! Bliss!

  • Justin on May 9, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    Cheers nick.

    Yeah for me there is only one IPL hahahaha i wish i could travel to Taunton. Been to many a year i have been away. i live up in derby now so will be going to the notts game in june.

  • Nick C on May 9, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    The Fonz is playing for Pune Warriors who by the looks of things are awful so they'll finish 19th May. Arguably he could play for us the CC match at Home against Durham on the 22nd but more likely against Hampshire in a CB40 match on the 27th.

    We play in the CLT20 which is slightly different the IPL which is just India's version of the FLT20. A domestic league with a lot more money and less restriction on foreign players. I personally pay little attention to it as I get my T20 fixes from England on TV and travelling up to Taunton.

  • Justin on May 9, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    Just downloading the somerset app as well fingers crossed.

    Nice to see we actually have a 12th man as well with our academy director filling in hahahaa

  • Justin on May 9, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    Nick when does that end not sure only watch it when somerset play in it. No one would have had thesee thought in there nightmares.

    Andy not sure ahazzer would have come and glad he has not. There was mention about the loan markets two weeks agon and nothing???

  • Nick C on May 9, 2012, 12:20 GMT

    @Justin Use the ECB app I find it better. You can set you teams so you only see fixtures and results for them (I'm set to Somerset and England) or by competition. It's only lacking feature is a league table of some kind.

  • Andy Barrick on May 9, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    Justin, Shahzad would have given you a very similar sense of frustration.

  • Nick C on May 9, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    @Justin we do seam to be one of the better supported counties. Although that may have something to do with the lack of somewhere to actually comment with other Somerset fans. Thomas is back when he finishes IPL duties which we always knew about, I don't think Rose predicted our bowling line up would take this kind of hit early-season.

  • Justin on May 9, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    I still don't think relegation is likly. I feel when we have the team we should be able to push again on all fronts but hope we concentrate on the shorter formats as the depth in batting we can POTENTIALLY put out is second to none. Thomas is a need, we have to get him back ASAP

  • Justin on May 9, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    Samuel i think i discussed it wirh you the other week. Yes both players are again pushing for an England place weather it is in the lions or full team. The board should look at the commitments of the players and discuss on all parts. I don't think any one in the mind would have thought about the injuries we have had. Feeling maybe we should have called back Compo? Barrow can he hold his own.

    What do people think about suppiah? Really frustrates me this guy one week awsome and can bowl then 3 - 4 weeks of rubbish?

  • Justin on May 9, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    Any one have the ESPNcricket app for there iphone?

    Just wondering how to get the county scorecards on them as is seems to be for IPL games only???

  • Samuel on May 9, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    Andy - can't see Bairstow getting into the Test team purely as a batsman for a while. If Prior gets injured then he has a chance, but I think Davies is next in line at the moment. I think the fact he is keeping wicket in the Lions game tells you how England view him - they want him to concentrate on both aspects of his game, not just his batting.

    Justin - good point! We really are down to the bare bones, we've had horrible luck with injuries this season. To be honest, because of it I can see us in a relegation battle. We should have enough if it happened to keep us up when the likes of Tresco and Kirby return though. Can't help but think England have picked the wrong player though - fine a player as Compton is, Hildreth just has "number six for England" written all over him, and not just because I wrote it on in magic marker.

  • Justin on May 9, 2012, 12:05 GMT

    Rather liking the fact there seems to be a lot of somerset fans on here again. YIPEE

  • Dave Lewis on May 9, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    David, Ajmal Shahzad doesn't know what's good for him! No better lifestyle than that of a West Country farmer!

    But a good job we're ooop naaarth today! Reasonably pleased with our start. But very concerned at our injury list.

  • Justin on May 9, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    Ohh and when is Thomas back. REALLY NEED HIS EXP NOW.

  • Justin on May 9, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    I did say the other week that picking hildy and compo for the lions would have killed us. One was badenough and taking the leading run scorer in the county so far is understandable and no issues with him going. but we only have 11 fit players. FINGERS CROSSED.

    Phill looks tired and shows he still has that back injury not his best bowling at the moment.

  • Andy Barrick on May 9, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    Will there not be a space at 6 in the England side for the summer? Presumably, we will go back to four bowlers, but from last summer's side, Morgan is not available, and really ought not to get in even if he were. If they are to get Bairstow into the side, then surely this is the chance -- I can't see them putting him straight in against SA, and I'd assume that we'll go back to the five bowlers for India this winter.

  • Jake on May 9, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    Middlesex have now lost six tosses on the trot. Five in the Championship and one in the CB40. Is that some sort of record?

  • Chris Read on May 9, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    I agree Rick - I'm looking forward to coming in without a heap of pressure on my muscular shoulders

  • Simon Acomb on May 9, 2012, 11:43 GMT

    Great batting line up down at Surrey this week. Worcs will have to post 450+ if they are any chance in this game. Looking forward to reading about a RHB century in the next few days!

  • Rick Lane on May 9, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    Nice as a Notts fan to see 90-1 instead of 50-5. Hopefully the batsmen are finally getting used to Trent Bridge conditions. One batting point from five matches hasn't been good enough, even though we've won three matches.

  • Anonymous on May 9, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    @Anus McGuigan

    I think Mitchell Starc would be torn if he went for option 1...

  • Anus McGuigan on May 9, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    They should have given Mitchell Starc two options:

    1. Sort out problems by fax/email PLUS finger up bum from Customs.

    2. Fly home (48hr round trip) and sort it out.

    I am literally torn as to which option I'd go for.

  • Samuel on May 9, 2012, 11:00 GMT

    Nick - if Prior were to go down injured tomorrow, it would be Steve Davies who got the nod for the first Test I reckon. He never seems to get a mention despite the fact he's been England's reserve keeper on the last three tours!

    Another wicket for Philander, but yet another relatively expensive start. There are chinks in the armour that I think Flower will be noting. Overton bowled economically - any word from David as to how he bowled?

  • Kenny Shovel on May 9, 2012, 10:55 GMT

    IMO, Bairstow & Buttler are more likely to get a regular England place as batsmen at the moment.

  • Nick Curd on May 9, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    Is Bairstow the heir apparent? I know he's included in the Lions squad but Kieswetter still keeps for the ODI and T20 sides. You could argue Bairstow is too young and the same could be said of Buttler (both of whom are batting way too far down the order in those sides to make am impact although Bairstow admittedly got at least one good crack at it). Those two will be fighting it out once Prior retires no doubt but are they ready to take over now? Someone like Read who is performing might be the choice should an injury arise.

  • Chris Read on May 9, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    Say what you want Bairstow, I'm still the best glovesman around. Catches win matches and stumpings bring bunting.

  • Samuel on May 9, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    Although one of the positives of it raining down there is that Matt Prior is putting on an entertaining Q&A session on Twitter at the moment. Hates keeping to Graham Onions at Lord's apparently - too much movement after the ball passes the bat!

  • Samuel on May 9, 2012, 10:11 GMT

    I was looking forward to sitting down and enjoying the cricket on Sky today, but their unerring ability to pick the single wettest fixture of the round that they've developed over the past few seasons is alive and well - it genuinely looks like a Mayan prophecy coming true at Hove. Isn't it always meant to be sunny in Hove?!

  • Jack Russell on May 9, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    Chris - I think I've got a better chance than you mate!

  • Pat on May 9, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    Dave, no one is suggesting a character from a suspicious background should 'just be held in a little room'. But I think international sportsmen of some repute could be given some leeway. It might even free up some of UKBA's time for rather more pressing concerns..

  • Johnny "Kingslayer" Bairstow on May 9, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    Hey Chris, think you might get overlooked if Prior gets injured. Watch out for those bouncers

  • Dave Lewis on May 9, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    Wouldn't it be so fantastically hilariously brilliantly funny if that were the Chris Read!! lol!

  • Chris Read on May 9, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    Hi All

    Has everyone noticed my exceptional form for Nottinghamshire recently. Hoping to get noticed by Straussy today. One injury to Prior and surely no one will get in my way?

  • Dave Lewis on May 9, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    Silly political rant by Mr Hopps about the Border Agency. All it takes is organisation and a few phone calls to check that everything is in place before you travel - it really isn't that hard.

    Yes the Border Agency is perhaps inflexible and the system long-winded but when faced with such obstacles the answer is not to moan about the barriers, the answer is to do what is asked of you to overcome them!

    And would we be happy with a character from a more suspicious background just being held in a little room for a few hours? I don't think so. Rules are rules as they say!

    (And I, nor any of my family, are employed by the Border Agency! I just hate people who try to blame someone else when ultimately they are at fault.)

  • Nick Curd on May 9, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    Somerset announced their team yesterday.

    http://www.somersetcountycc.co.uk/2012/05/last-eleven-men-standing-face-durham/

    Absolutely insane injury problems for the county. Almost wish Compton didn't get called up for the Lions...

  • Tim P on May 9, 2012, 9:26 GMT

    I think it is stupid to have so many championship 4-day games so early on in the season. All the domestic fixtures are being organised around Twenty20 cricket. It's no wonder the longer version of the game is said to be on decline if we are not giving it enough priority. Having the first 3 games of the championship season in April is farsical. Having more championship games in the summer months would get more people interested in the 4-day game. The real game of cricket.

  • coo on May 9, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    any team news? durham have played pants so far so a change to their batting line up is probably due

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • coo on May 9, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    any team news? durham have played pants so far so a change to their batting line up is probably due

  • Tim P on May 9, 2012, 9:26 GMT

    I think it is stupid to have so many championship 4-day games so early on in the season. All the domestic fixtures are being organised around Twenty20 cricket. It's no wonder the longer version of the game is said to be on decline if we are not giving it enough priority. Having the first 3 games of the championship season in April is farsical. Having more championship games in the summer months would get more people interested in the 4-day game. The real game of cricket.

  • Nick Curd on May 9, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    Somerset announced their team yesterday.

    http://www.somersetcountycc.co.uk/2012/05/last-eleven-men-standing-face-durham/

    Absolutely insane injury problems for the county. Almost wish Compton didn't get called up for the Lions...

  • Dave Lewis on May 9, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    Silly political rant by Mr Hopps about the Border Agency. All it takes is organisation and a few phone calls to check that everything is in place before you travel - it really isn't that hard.

    Yes the Border Agency is perhaps inflexible and the system long-winded but when faced with such obstacles the answer is not to moan about the barriers, the answer is to do what is asked of you to overcome them!

    And would we be happy with a character from a more suspicious background just being held in a little room for a few hours? I don't think so. Rules are rules as they say!

    (And I, nor any of my family, are employed by the Border Agency! I just hate people who try to blame someone else when ultimately they are at fault.)

  • Chris Read on May 9, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    Hi All

    Has everyone noticed my exceptional form for Nottinghamshire recently. Hoping to get noticed by Straussy today. One injury to Prior and surely no one will get in my way?

  • Dave Lewis on May 9, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    Wouldn't it be so fantastically hilariously brilliantly funny if that were the Chris Read!! lol!

  • Johnny "Kingslayer" Bairstow on May 9, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    Hey Chris, think you might get overlooked if Prior gets injured. Watch out for those bouncers

  • Pat on May 9, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    Dave, no one is suggesting a character from a suspicious background should 'just be held in a little room'. But I think international sportsmen of some repute could be given some leeway. It might even free up some of UKBA's time for rather more pressing concerns..

  • Jack Russell on May 9, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    Chris - I think I've got a better chance than you mate!

  • Samuel on May 9, 2012, 10:11 GMT

    I was looking forward to sitting down and enjoying the cricket on Sky today, but their unerring ability to pick the single wettest fixture of the round that they've developed over the past few seasons is alive and well - it genuinely looks like a Mayan prophecy coming true at Hove. Isn't it always meant to be sunny in Hove?!