June 1, 2012

LV= County Championship, Friday June 1

7pm: Alex Winter's round up

7pm: Alex Winter's round up

Final day of a few games still to come but two results today, the Division Two leaders Derbyshire suffering their first defeat of the season at the hands of Gloucestershire, who win for the second time this campaign - a vital win for them after a lean period.

The other result was in the Principality where Leicestershire battled away for four sessions to secure a draw, hundreds for Ned Eckersley and Michael Thornely - the former Sussex batsman on debut for Leicestershire.

Few would have bet on either of those two results. But a few more would have bet on Yorkshire being on top against Northamptonshire; they have a big lead and can push for victory on the final day at Headingley. Jonny Bairstow made 68 incidentally.

In the top flight, Lancashire have made a strong start to their chase of 200 against Durham at the Riverside. Lancashire's bubbling form will finally produce a victory tomorrow. Also on course for victory are Middlesex, who have asked Sussex to bat a long way into the final day to secure a draw at Lord's. Funny game at New Road though, a draw there by 5pm tomorrow.

That's day three wrapped up then, all the best coverage on our county homepage, make sure you take in some of the best county writers on the circuit. See you tomorrow, I'm off for a curry...

4.40pm: David Lloyd at Middlesex v Sussex

It was almost inevitable but Rayner has piled on some more agony for Sussex – the county he left permanently last winter after being loaned to Middlesex in 2011.

With a century (made after being sent in as a night-watchman) to his credit already this season, Rayner moved to 69 before holing out to long on. At 475 for nine, Middlesex were 192 ahead and it was slightly surprising to see Steve Finn walk out to join Toby Roland-Jones when a declaration would have given them a little longer with the ball.

Still, Roland-Jones was not complaining: a six hoisted to wide long on, off the bowling of Mike Yardy, took him a maiden first-class half-century and the lead had reached 208 when he, too, hoisted a catch.

Eight and a half overs since tea had yielded 71 runs.

4.35pm: Paul Edwards at Durham v Lancashire

From 71 for four at lunch Durham have progressed to 226 for six just after tea and you would be hard pressed to find a soul on this ground who saw the scale of the home side’s recovery coming. In conditions not significantly different from those in which Chapple’s bowlers had the batsmen groping around late this morning, Paul Collingwood and Ben Stokes added 132 for the fifth wicket, which is only Durham’s second ton-plus stand of the season in Championship cricket.

Stokes has batted with increasing fluency and is nearing a century. Collingwood was hit once or twice, dropped by Ashwell Prince on 27, and also played and missed to plenty of deliveries. But just as he has done for 16 seasons, he shrugged and got on with the job until he was late on a full length delivery from Kyle Hogg two balls after reaching his fifty.

Durham’s lead is over 150 and we have a vital session in prospect. A lead of 250 would surely be undreamt-of riches in these conditions, but this has become a wonderfully difficult match to call.

4.10pm: Jon Culley at Worcestershire v Somerset

Quite apart from anything, Nick Compton has done a fine job of getting Somerset out of difficulty over the course of an innings that has now spanned 65 overs.

They still trail by 116 at tea on day three but he and Jos Buttler have put on 138 for the fifth wicket and the Worcestershire bowling is looking tame in the absence of the injured Alan Richardson, on whom they have become a little too reliant given that he is 37.

Compton has 1,024 first-class runs for the season and is 17 away from his third century. He has not given a chance. Buttler, who had an escape on 23 when David Lucas failed to hold a return catch, is 70.

The sun has made a brief appearance and the ice cream van is doing brisk business but the game is not progressing quickly enough, really.

3.45pm: Alan Gardner with the action elsewhere

We have another Unicorns success story on our hands at Cardiff, though Glamorgan may not be too pleased about Michael Thornely’s impressive debut for Leicestershire. Following-on almost 300 runs behind, Leicestershire began the day on 84 for 1 and both Thornely and Ned Eckersley went on to score hundreds in a 245-run partnership. Thornely, having missed out on a maiden first-class century in the first innings by just three runs, finally got to three figures this time around, progressing to 131 before falling to Jim Allenby. Having been released by Sussex in 2010, Thornely has been playing for the Unicorns and made a century for Leicestershire’s second XI at the end of May to get his chance with the first team.

That stand between wicketkeeper Eckersley and Thornely looked to have ended Glamorgan’s hopes of a first Championship win of 2012 and although Leicestershire still trail by 16 runs at tea, it will take a monumental collapse on a good wicket to deny the visitors a share of the points.

At Headingley, England players past, present and possibly future have been among the runs, with Joe Root moving from his overnight 98 not out to a first Championship ton of the season. Root put on 147 with Jonny Bairstow, who received some respite after his Roach attack in the second Test against West Indies to score 68. Both are now out but Anthony McGrath, a veteran of four Tests and 14 ODIs back in the noughties, and former England U-19s captain Azeem Rafiq, in his first Championship appearance for two years, have blended experience and youth to extend Yorkshire’s first-innings lead towards the hundred mark.

3.20pm: Ivo Tennant at Gloucestershire v Derbyshire

Alex Gidman, who appropriately has hit the winning run for Gloucestershire, described his side's strange defeat in this fixture two years ago, after they had bowled out Derbyshire for just 44, as "the worst day of my life." He can expunge that memory now.

3.00pm: Paul Edwards at Durham v Lancashire

Paul Collingwood, who was 36 last Saturday, and Ben Stokes, who will be 21 on Monday, have shared the first 50 partnership of this match, and suddenly, batting looks a whole lot more straightforward.

Lancashire have not made it particularly easy for them - Chapple whacked Collingwood on the glove with his first delivery after lunch – but neither Procter nor Shahzad have yet looked as penetrative as they did before the break.

Durham’s lead is now 86 and I suspect no one would put a lot of money on Lancashire chasing down 150-plus to win. Stokes has just reached his own fifty and the cricket today has been characterised by excellence rather than error. Prospects of a Friday finish are receding - but the last time someone said that, four wickets fell in 12 overs

3pm: Jon Culley at Worcestershire v Somerset

Nick Compton may have failed to reach 1,000 first-class runs before the end of May but he has the consolation of becoming the fastest to the mark since the last man who did do it.

Since Hick completed his 1,000 on May 28, 1988, only Rob Key has reached the milestone remotely as quickly. The Kent and England batsman passed 1,000 on June 2, 2004.

Compton got there when he reached 59, dabbing a ball from Gareth Andrew towards third man after crashing the previous delivery through the offside off the back foot for four, his 10th to that point. He celebrated with a clenched fist as he ran the single before going down on one knee and pumping his right arm.

It had been a curious innings. He was cautious even by his own risk-nothing policy for the first two hours or so, taking 103 balls to reach 21. Then came a change of tack so marked that he scored the next 38 runs from a mere 36 balls.

Somerset still haven't quite avoided the follow-on, however, at 176-4.

2.35pm: David Lloyd at Middlesex v Sussex

When the Olympics come to Lord’s in a couple of months, the arrows will be flying from the Pavilion End towards the media centre (no complaints from our archery covering colleagues, one assumes, about the lack of opening windows in the space ship).

Anyway, John Simpson – batting at the Nursery End – was about as defenceless as one of those target things when Naved Arif, the left-arm paceman, produced a full, swinging delivery soon after lunch to remove two of the left-hander’s three stumps.

At that stage, Middlesex were 324 for six. But having struggled to make much meaningful progress, they suddenly got a wriggle on with Gareth Berg and Ollie Rayner plundering 22 off two overs (from Arif and Panesar) to secure a fourth batting point with an over or so to spare.

1.50pm: Ivo Tennant at Gloucestershire v Derbyshire

This would be worth a flutter. Gloucestershire need just 85 runs to win and have lost their first wicket without a run on the board. Two years ago in this fixture, Derbyshire were bowled out for 44 on the first day. Gloucestershire were left needing 125 to win and were all out for 70. One of the most extraordinary matches on this soon-to-be-developed old ground.

1.20pm: Jon Culley at Worcestershire v Somerset

If the main scoreboard was working, it would show Somerset 89-4 at lunch, Worcestershire having come back well in the last 25 minutes or so with some tight bowling from Gareth Andrew and Jack Shantry, who struck twice in two balls after the two had managed to pin down James Hildreth. Somerset still trail by 251 runs.

Hildreth went from five overnight to 51 in 35 balls, eight of which he hit for four despite a very slow outfield. But he had scored only one off the next 13 deliveries when he was caught on the crease by Shantry, who moved his next ball away from new batsman Craig Kieswetter to find a thin edge, snapped up by 'keeper Ben Scott.

Nick Compton, meanwhile, has gone into full give 'em nowt mode, executing just five scoring shots in 66 balls, ending the session with 29 consecutive dot balls to move from nine overnight to 17.

On the subject of the scoreboard: good news. The malfunctioning model will soon be no more, to be replaced by a new one, costing £120,000 and featuring a replay screen, that may be up and running within three weeks.

1.15pm: Paul Edwards at Durham v Lancashire

Ajmal Shahzad may not have done much for Yorkshire’s team spirit but he seems to be having a very beneficial effect on the esprit de corps across the Pennines.

Just 70 minutes into the first session at Emirates Durham the home side were 53 for no wicket; at lunch they are 71 for four and we could well be looking at a Friday finish. Shahzad’s only taken one of the wickets, that of Will Smith, but he changed the temper of the contest in a seven-over spell. Luke Procter performed well again and Chapple returned at the Finchale End to get rid of both Muchall and Benkenstein, the latter caught at slip by Prince off the last ball before lunch.

It’s probably important to say that Durham’s batsmen have played much better than they did in the first innings - only Muchall was culpable this morning – but Lancashire’s attack has been impressive, admittedly in reasonably helpful conditions.

12.55pm: David Lloyd at Middlesex v Sussex

Sussex do not look the sharpest catching unit on the evidence of this match. Joe Denly survived a couple of edges into the slip cordon yesterday and at least one more chance went begging this morning with John Simpson being badly dropped by Mike Yardy, at first slip, off Jimmy Anyon.

Morgan may have been lucky as well. He top-edged a cut against Naved Arif, on 66, with the snick flying high in the gap between Yardy and keeper Ben Brown. Whether either man could have reached it is impossible to say from our elevated position but one of them might have got off the ground.

Anyway, it mattered only a little because the second new ball soon did for Morgan with a catch behind off Steve Magoffin.

There are a few keepers on the circuit in need of some championship runs. Sussex’s Ben Brown was one of them until scoring his first half-century of the season in this match – and Simpson is another with only a couple of 40s in the book.

This would be a good time to get cracking. He had 32 out of 307 for five with lunch almost upon us.

12.40pm: Jon Culley at Worcestershire v Somerset

At this morning's scoring rate, Nick Compton might have struggled to get to 1,000 runs even if he'd batted all day yesterday. He's added eight runs in 48 balls this morning. Apart from one aberration, when he stretched to play a ball from David Lucas that went for four a little fortunately, he has met virtually every delivery with a solid, straight, stubborn bat and a give 'em nowt demeanour.

By contast, James Hildreth has been wielding his willow to much more productive effect, hitting nine fours in a 62-ball half- century and Somerset are 85-2.

11.55am: David Lloyd at Middlesex v Sussex

England have ‘produced’ more than their fair share of one-cap wonders but it is not a habit you tend to associate with Australia. Chris Rogers can claim membership of the club, though, and four and a half years have passed since he earned his solitary Baggy Green – against India in Perth.

Now 34, Rogers has been much more productive when it comes to collecting counties: Middlesex are his fourth first-class English employers after Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Northants. And he continues to give good service.

Having made a matching-saving century against Lancashire last week, few would have bet against him turning last night’s unbeaten 93 into another hundred today. But it was not to be, although the left-handed opener may feel he was unlucky to fall lbw for 98 to Luke Wright as Sussex continued to battle hard here.

With Luke Wright bowling over the wicket, the vital delivery just looked as though it could have pitched outside leg stump but umpire Michael Gough was happy enough.

Middlesex, with Eoin Morgan still looking good, want a big first innings lead. They will have to work hard for it though – and at 276 for four they are still seven adrift with the second new ball about to be taken.

11.50am: Paul Edwards at Durham v Lancashire

Morning from Chester-le-Street, where Durham’s openers have made a pleasingly circumspect start against Lancashire. Plainly attempting to leave the ball alone as often as possible, Smith and Stoneman have survived the first 50 minutes and reduced their side’s deficit to just 35 runs. Smith was comprehensively beaten by Chapple’s first ball of the day but there have been few alarms since.

This is a big day for both these counties and the tension on the ground suggests that the good-sized crowd understands that very well indeed. The spectators are quiet, attentive, rapt – and wrapped up. Twelve overs have been bowled and Durham are 33 for no wicket. The clouds are high and we seem set for a full day’s cricket.

Meanwhile, Chester-le-Street’s few hotels and b&bs have already taken bookings for next season’s Ashes Test (August 9-13). The dates were announced this morning.

11.45am: Jon Culley at Worcestershire v Somerset

Not long started at New Road. A 35-minute delay due to rain but thanks to the players' willingness to work flexible hours the time will be made up at the end, just about. Only one over lost.

Headingley car park attendants are less flexible, apparently. My friend Chris Waters, cricket correspondent of the Yorkshire Post, informs me that he was declined entry to the car park this morning, despite possessing the relevant pass. Yesterday he visited the club shop, naturally expecting that his triple award-winning book about Fred Trueman would be on prominent display, only to find they had no copies at all, or at least were hiding them. Don't they realise he is t' finest Trueman biographer that ever drew breath?

Worcestershire are 39-2 and Nick Compton, with considerably less significance than yesterday, has moved on to 13 not out.

11.40am: Ivo Tennant at Gloucestershire v Derbyshire

Wes Durston - or Durtson as he is called in the press release - has become the first Derbyshire cricketer to win a monthly FTI most valuable player award. This compared him against his peers during May, when he scored 536 runs and took seven wickets and held 12 catches. To think that in 2009 he was almost lost to professional cricket when Somerset did not renew his contract after eight years at Taunton.

10.30am: Alan Gardner starts the car

Good morning and welcome to another day in the sun. The ripples of KP’s retirement from limited-overs internationals have barely intruded on the tranquil world of the County Championship, though we might expect to see England’s errant batsman extraordinaire playing domestic cricket with a little more regularity now. In the shires, talk is of Nick Compton’s misfortune, Graham Onions’ menace and the feats of James Taylor, who may well get his chance with England thanks to Pietersen’s goodbye.

As ever, you can catch up on all of yesterday’s action with the reports on our county page, and feel free to chip in below the line with your thoughts. Every day is Fan Friday here at ESPNcricinfo ...

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo