LV= County Championship, Saturday August 4, 2012
4.25pm: Myles Hodgson at Lancashire v Somerset.
After the latest inspection, the umpires have decided the playing area is too wet to continue, so the match is abandoned as a draw, I’m afraid. Match report and reaction will follow.
3.55pm: Myles Hodgson at Lancashire v Somerset
After looking at the middle, umpires Peter Hartley and Nigel Llong are still not happy with the damp outfield and have agreed to look again at 4.15pm. Given that conditions have improved little over the last hour, it seems unlikely there will be a start any time soon. The scorers estimate there were around 40 overs left at 4.00pm, so an exciting end to the match seems remote.
2.20pm: Myles Hodgson at Lancashire v Somerset
The rain has been heavy enough for the umpires to already estimate it will take around two hours of cleaning up by the ground staff before they can even inspect the playing surface. They have been out to have a look at the middle, and plan to have another look at 3.30pm although the prospects look bleak.
Here in the press tent, we have a working conditions crisis of our own with the back of the tent now resembling a paddy field and rendering the tea urn out of action for anyone not wearing wellies or flippers.
2.10pm: Jon Culley at Northamptonshire v Yorkshire
The weather may have been kind to Yorkshire this time. A momentous downpour two overs into the afternoon session put paid to any chance of a result here, and given that the result was threatening to be a Yorkshire defeat the groans in the White Rose dressing room aren't quite as loud as they were at Leicester last week. Match drawn: Northants 10pts, Yorkshire 7.
1.40pm: Myles Hodgson at Lancashire v Somerset
Thunder storms have livened up the lunch interval and sent the small crowd looking for cover in the beer tent and under the canopy at the refreshment hut. There are still some threatening noises from the sky and the groundstaff are conspicuous by their absence out in the middle, which is usually a good sign they expect more rain to follow.
Somerset battled hard through the morning session and will be pleased the only lost two wickets with James Hildreth following Trescothick back to the dressing room after being caught at second slip having edged Kyle Hogg. They reached the interval on 93 for three, needing a further 186 from a minimum of 64 overs for victory.
>1pm: Jon Culley at Northamptonshire v Yorkshire
Pressure building on Yorkshire. At lunch they still have to score another 36 to be back on level terms and they have lost three wickets in the morning session. James Middlebrook, getting turn and bounce from the Lynn Wilson end, bowled Phil Jaques with one that turned sharply, and after a very tidy spell from young Oliver Stone at the Wantage Road end, David Willey came back with a big wicket in the first over of his second spell today as Joe Root edged to Stephen Peters at second slip.
Root had played well for his 38 in what has become a difficult situation for Yorkshire, with Middlebrook bowling with four close fielders and pressure being applied at the other end. In 18 overs bowled from the Wantage Road end, only 28 runs have been scored, 15 of them off Andrew Hall. Willey has conceded only seven runs in nine overs, Stone six in five. Yorkshire are 67-3.
12.05pm: Jon Culley at Northamptonshire v Yorkshire
If Yorkshire take nothing else from this match -- and as this stands it is hard to see them doing better than moving on with yet another draw -- it will be the hope that Adil Rashid can maintain his rediscovered form over the last four games of their promotion challenge.
Interestingly, Andrew Gale, the Yorkshire captain, suggested that dropping the leg-spinner was probably the best prescription for his troubles, giving him time to go away and work on his technique. In fact, he wondered if he could have even done it sooner.
"Maybe we could have," he said last night. "But the thing with Adil is that you always think with Adil that he might produce a match-winning innings or bowl a great spell. And it was difficult last year because David Wainwright was not bowling as well as Azeem Rafiq has done this year. Rafiq gives us control.
"When you have two spinners in the side, Adil feels he can be a wicket taker. But when Adil has been the main man, he has never quite been sure if he should be taking wickets or keeping it tight."
Interestingly, in the only two completed Championship matches in which both Rashid and Rafiq have bowled -- against Lancashire at OId Trafford in June 2010 and against Warwickshire at Headingley a week later -- Rashid took 17 wickets. In the first, Lancashire held on for a draw by the skin of their teeth with Rashid and Rafiq bowling in tandem; in the second, Rafiq did not take a wicket but Rashid finished with nine and Yorkshire beat Warwickshire by six wickets.
In this match, Yorkshire are 43-1 in their second innings, trailing by 60 runs, with Adam Lyth the man out, caught at point in 18-year-old Oliver Stone's first over of the morning.
11.55am: Myles Hodgson at Lancashire v Somerset
It may lack the intensity of its international equivalent at times, but every so often county cricket conjures up a duel that is every bit as competitive and enthralling as those seen at the top level. We have had that this morning as Somerset attempt to chase down a victory target of 279 on the final day at Aigburth.
Central to their hopes of victory is, of course, their captain, Marcus Trescothick. Playing his first championship match since April, his confrontation with Glen Chapple, his equivalent with Lancashire, has been the highlight of the morning so far. Bowling from the River End, Chapple thought he had claimed an early breakthrough when he induced Trescothick into an edge in the fourth over of the day, but Paul Horton failed to take the sharp chance above his head at first slip.
There was a momentary sigh of disappointment around the ground, but after a brief glare at Trescothick, Chapple trudged back to his mark to try and again. Two overs later, Chapple thought he had his man again, appealing strongly with the rest of the Lancashire team for an edge behind, only for Peter Hartley, the umpire at the River End, to remain un-moved.
Chapple returned to his mark with every step appearing to signal his disappointment at the decision, but any bowler with over 800 first class victims learns quickly to move on quickly. He responded in his next over with a full-length ball that kept low and this time the lbw appeal was upheld. Trescothick fell for 27 with Somerset on 48 for two, still needing 231 for victory.
10.00am: David Hopps with the preamble
Beneath the shadow of the London Olympics, the county championship continues to progress towards the climax to the season. It is used to being largely unnoticed, but it can rarely have been as overshadowed as this.
You can be sure that no TV reporter is about to rush up to a county captain this morning and ask what they thought of the support of the crowd.
For those of you able to break away from Jennifer Ennis, why not have a read of some of our county reports from yesterday.
Myles Hodgson at Lancashire v Somerset
"It may have become tiresome to watch South African batsmen play long, patient and match-winning innings in recent weeks, but Lancashire will hope their own version of old-fashioned style batting may have provided the springboard for one of their most outstanding victories of the summer."
Ivo Tennant at Sussex v Worcestershire
"So what a triumph for Ed Joyce, the new Sussex captain: a century, the correct decision upon winning the toss, and a convincing victory.
Jon Culley at Northants v Yorkshire
"Yorkshire have not been beaten in the Championship but haven't won a match since May, which is of much greater significance in their quest to return to Division One. After losing more than 40% of their playing time to the awfulness of this summer, you could hardly blame them for feeling a tad frustrated. But maybe their own shortcomings would have caught up with them anyway."
David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo