LV= County Championship, Thursday September 6
6:30pm: Vithushan Ehantharajah at Middlesex v Lancashire
Play ended 30 minutes ago at Lord’s. I want to say the game is interestingly poised, but all I can think about is how comfortable it would be to sleep under the Lord’s hover-cover.
It looks so warm and safe, like an inflatable, J.P. Morgan sponsored womb. I’m sure someone’s slept under it before, surely?
You hear stories of club cricketers kipping under covers or in changing rooms after a night of boozing. It seems a waste that the most hospitable pitch-covering since I used a combination of duvets and pillows to flatten out my Subbuteo pitch (I thought anything firmer would damage the fast surface – I lived to tika-taka), has never been put to slumbering use.
Tomorrow’s evening session could either be compelling or tedious. If it’s the latter, you know where I’ll be.
Sweet dreams, and congratulations to Warwickshire.
5.30pm: George Dobell’s report from New Road
Our senior cricket correspondent has written notice of Warwickshire’s title-winning exploits - click here for an in-depth read on the best team in the land.
5:15pm: Jarrod Kimber at Surrey v Notts
The great GW is out, he and de Bruyn have given Surrey the upper hand in this match, twice, but even with the ball spinning violently now, Surrey won't declare.
Batty is out there with Kartik, both putting on pointless runs. Surely on this pitch they have enough runs to give this a go. But, no, they continue on, perhaps they won't declare at all. They'll just bat on forever.
If they do, I'm bring bagpipes to the ground tomorrow and sitting in front of their changeroom to play them.
Surrey are 283 for 8 with a lead of 325.
4.50pm: Les Smith at Yorkshire v Glamorgan
Yorkshire have beaten Glamorgan by eight wickets, Gary Ballance striking the winning boundary off Will Bragg. With Derbyshire chasing a big target at Canterbury, it’s looking tasty for next week at the top of Division 2.
4.40pm: David Lloyd at Kent v Derbyshire
Kent declared on 342 for eight, leaving Derbyshire plenty of time (113 overs) to score a great many runs (404) for victory. And you can probably guess what happened next: Tredwell was involved in the first wicket to fall.
When Wayne Maden prodded at Mark Davies’ fourth ball, Darren Stevens did well to parry at third slip – leaving Tredwell at second to take the rebound.
4:35pm: Vithushan Ehantharajah at Middlesex v Lancashire
Patel falls agonisingly short with 4 for 126. Gareth Berg ends the Lancashire innings, nipping one in a touch for Karl Brown to play onto his stumps. It’s been a good knock from Brown, who helped give Lancashire a two run first innings lead.
Robson’s gone early, but Chris Rogers has avoided a pair. Denly has joined him after Robson fell early to Chapple, and they’re pushing the ball into gaps which only they can see. It’s good batting, if a bit tedious for the crowd.
Speaking of which, I count three men in the Upper Compton stand who have decided to go shirtless – a 50% decrease from yesterday. Unless you came wearing only a jumper so thick that it could scrape your nipples off if you sneezed, there’s no real reason to watch cricket shirtless. In London. In September. One of them is wearing a fedora.
If it’s the middle of September and you find yourself watching cricket bare-chested in the Big Smoke, ask yourself one question – “Where’s my fedora?"
4.20pm: David Lloyd at Kent v Derbyshire
Derbyshire are still not happy about the Tredwell decision. And they're probably even less chuffed with the way this day is going on the field. Having seen Northeast and Nash add 137 for the fourth wicket, another 123 runs were posted by Northeast and Mike Powell for the fifth before the young opener’s innings finally ended on 165.
Darren Stevens did not last long (a ball, to be precise), Geraint Jones and Matt Coles took turns to run themselves out but by the time Tredwell appeared in the middle, batting at No 10, Kent were 400 ahead at 339 for eight.
4.10pm: Ivo Tennant at Hampshire v Essex
The scorer supplying Press Association with detail at West End is saying in the tea interval that if Lancashire are relegated from division one this season, this will be the third time the county champions have suffered this ignominy in eight years. Even allowing for the relatively small number of sides, this would seem to be a high proportion and shows the levelling-up process there has been. You can’t imagine such a fall from grace for Colin Ingleby-MacKenzie’s Hampshire or Graham Gooch’s Essex.
4:10pm: Jarrod Kimber at Surrey v Notts
When you watch Luke Fletcher bowl, it feels like he’s always been bowling. From the first ball he bowls he summons all the tired feelings he’s had from a lifetime of bowling. He’s purportedly always midway through a torturous spell. It’s an impressive thing to pull off.
Jason Roy made 41 today, making him Surrey’s leading run scorer in championship cricket this year, which has lead several Surrey fans to a deep depression.
With Wilson and de Bruyn pushing Surrey into a very safe position, talk has turned to who will or wont play for Surrey next year. Such rumours include Hamilton-Brown to Sussex, Spriegel to Northants, James Harris to everywhere and GW to play for Surrey first time, in an effort to move from the Ireland team to the English team.
Most of these rumours involve people having dinner, or lunch, with other people, But like all the best rumours, no one has actually seen anyone having dinner, but they have heard from someone, who has heard from someone, who has…
It’s much the same way the Merman and Mermaid rumours where spread in the 1800s. Until people starting buying Japanese monkey fish. Surrey 224 for 5, leading by 266.
3.15pm: David Lloyd at Kent v Derbyshire
It’s official, finally – James Tredwell has taken Adam Riley’s place in the Kent team for the remainder of this match.
The ECB have confirmed that they did say, before the game began, that if Tredwell made England’s XI for yesterday’s final ODI against South Africa at Trent Bridge he would not be able to play at Canterbury. But the fact the international finished more than 15 overs early apparently satisfied the ‘exceptional circumstances’ proviso mentioned in the ECB’s regulations.
Kent last night asked the ECB to reconsider and the Board took the decision to release Tredwell after all.
Derbyshire were not happy when the news was sprung on them this morning and made an official protest, but the ECB have today explained their reasoning to the county “We operate on the basis that England players should be made available for their counties whenever possible so long as there are no fitness or workload issues,” said a Board spokesman.
So there we are – Tredwell is free to try to spin Kent to victory tomorrow. Mind you, the ease with which the home batsmen are now playing on this pitch it might take Shane Warne at his best to unsettle Derbyshire.
We shall see. For the moment, Northeast has just recorded his Championship best score, going beyond the 140 he made against Hampshire earlier this season. And with Mike Powell on 37, Kent are a commanding 354 ahead at tea on 293 for four.
3.15pm: David Hopps at Sussex v Somerset
Sussex have retired Murray Goodwin’s No 3 shirt as a mark of respect to “a great cricketer and a fantastic team man.” Whether they have retired Murray Goodwin is another thing. He might be playing his last game for Sussex, but it is by no means certain that his time on the county circuit is not yet over.
Goodwin was treated to a gracious lunchtime speech in his honour, and even more impressively it didn’t go on as long as the rival speeches blaring out of a marquee adjacent to the media centre. Corporate support is necessary for the survival of the county game, and it is all for a very good cause apparently, but perpetual speeches, on microphone, throughout the afternoon session have become a bit wearing. They are on the auction at the moment. I would throw a fiver in if I could be sure they were going for the very last time.
It’s been a humdrum afternoon, with the best county action elsewhere. Sussex made a hash of their second innings, losing their last eight wickets for 78 in 29 overs, the Great Alfonso finishing with 5 for 68. Somerset, who should have been out of it, are instead not quite out of it. Needing 388 to win, they are 58 for 0 at tea.
2.55pm: Ivo Tennant at Hampshire v Essex
Dimitri Mascarenhas, looking rather bored – as well he might be, given he is not likely to play again this season – is sitting in the chair in the atrium here that is occupied by the lady who answers the general enquiries number. Needless to say, he is not wanting to take her job or even pick up the telephone. He is on the computer in front of him. Meanwhile, his colleagues in the middle are looking not so much bored as dispirited. They have to win this match to have any chance of promotion and Owais Shah, having made 161, has done his best to prevent that.
2.50pm: Les Smith at Yorkshire v Glamorgan
Yorkshire, by dint of persistence rather than brilliance, have finally seen off Glamorgan’s second innings and are about to set off in pursuit of 111 to win. Adam Lyth’s 95 yesterday enabled Yorkshire to be in this strong position, but the contribution of Steven Patterson should not be underestimated. Four wickets in each innings, and a strong hand in a ninth wicket half century partnership, leap less starkly off the scorecard than Lyth’s knock, but have been just as important. It’s also worth noting how rapidly wicketkeeper Andy Hodd, on loan from Sussex, has become an integral part of this Yorkshire team. He missed a tricky one standing up yesterday, but in his third championship match for his new side has already accumulated 16 dismissals, half of them in this match.
2:35pm: Vithushan Ehantharajah at Middlesex v Lancashire
Ravi Patel is on the verge of his first five-wicket haul in county cricket. I say “on the verge”, he needs three more and Lancashire are seven down. He’s bowled pretty well, but Lancs will look to get after him to at least draw level with Middlesex’s 446 before thinking about a lead.
Chances are his five wickets could come for around 150 runs. That seems much more acceptable for a spinner, especially if the batting side has scored more than 400. Whatever Lancashire finish on, Patel would have bowled the most overs, so I suppose it’s only fair if he takes the most wickets. Cricket doesn’t always work like that, but sometimes it’s not the unforgiving, incomprehensible meta-beast it’s talked of being.
Sometimes you can be the best bowler, bowl the most overs and end up with the most wickets.
Neil Dexter’s on to bowl an over of right-arm mediocre at the other end. Patel looks worried – he knows his five-for dream is a badly played long-hop away from ruin…
2.30pm: Warwickshire’s title winners speak (well, one of them does)
Varun Chopra, the Warwickshire opening batsman, has spoken about securing the Championship pennant, saying that missing out despite coming so close last year made it all the more special for the club. "We're just so proud with what we've achieved,” he said. “It's been a great team effort. Everyone has chipped in, everyone has had a major part to play this season."
2.10pm: Robert Croft retirement confirmed
Glamorgan have confirmed that Robert Croft will retire from playing professional cricket at the end of this season. He will remain with the county in “a coaching and ambassadorial role.”
Croft said, “It’s finally dawning on me that my career is coming to an end. It’s unbelievable how quickly time has passed since from 1985 when I first walked into the Glamorgan environment as a teenager. Too think that it is the best part of 30 years is incredible.”
His Glamorgan career is set to end with a home match against Kent at the SWALEC next week. “When I walk up those stairs for the last time as a player, I will be emotional,” he said. “There’s sure to be a tear in my eye.”
Croft expects to flot between the 1st and 2nd X1s in his new role. “I’ve always majored on the skills of the game,” he said. “Fitness is a factor of cricket more and more these days, but my game has always been about the skills. I hope to be able to share the bank of knowledge I have from 23 years in the first team of how batsmen and bowlers react in match situations.”
Glamorgan awarded Croft a testimonial year in 2012. The final event is a lunch at the Towers Hotel, Swansea Bay on November 2
* Croft is the only player in Glamorgan’s history to have taken over 1,000 first-class wickets and to have also scored more than 10,000 first-class runs for the county.
* Only eight players since 1945 have accomplished this feat for any County.
* Croft played in more international matches for England than any other home-grown Glamorgan cricketer, appearing in 21 Tests and 50 ODIs.
* He made his first-class debut in August 1989 against Surrey at The Oval.
* He was a member of the Glamorgan side that won a series of county titles during the next two decades, besides captaining them between 2003 and 2006.
* He won his Glamorgan cap following a series of outstanding performances, including career-best figures of 8/66 and a fourteen-wicket match haul against Warwickshire at Swansea.
* In July 2010 he took his 1,000th first-class wicket for Glamorgan, during the Welsh county’s match with Leicestershire at Swansea. A month later, he also claimed his first hat-trick for the club, completing their victory against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham.
First Class Debut Glamorgan v Surrey, The Oval, August 1989
First Class Glamorgan appearances 406 First Class Wickets 1168 First Class Runs 12879 Glamorgan Club Captain 2003 - 2006
England Test Debut v Pakistan at the Oval, August 1996
England Test appearances 21 Wickets 49 Runs 421
England ODI appearances 50 Wickets 45 Runs 345
Career best Bowling: 8/66 v Warwickshire 1992 & Batting:143 v Somerset at Taunton 1995
Leading all-rounder in English first-class cricket in 2004, with 712 runs and 57 wickets
1.45pm: David Lloyd at Kent v Derbyshire
Well, the press box has been given a written statement by Kent saying “with the England ODI having finished earlier than anticipated (SA won with more than 15 overs to spare), James Tredwell was able to travel back to Kent last night. James is now available for the last two days... Derbyshire have been alerted to the decision as well as the umpires.”
So that’s it, then? Well, hang on a mo. Kent are not sufficiently confident to share this information with the crowd, most of whom are talking about the situation, anyway. And as for the ECB, who knows.
So far, four telephone calls have been made by this observer to two different ECB officials. Replies received? None.
On the field, Kent’s fourth wicket pair took their stand to 137 before Nash, on 62, made a hash of an attempted paddle sweep against David Wainwright. No wonder he swished his bat angrily before dragging himself away.
Same Northeast was not about to give it away, though. He completed his third championship century of the season out of a total of 204 for four – and Kent were then 265 to the good.
George Dobell at Worcestershire v Warwickshire
Warwickshire have won the 2012 County Championship
1.40pm: Jarrod Kimber Surrey v Notts
Surrey's number four went out to a left arm spinner.
1.35pm: Les Smith at Yorkshire v Glamorgan
Glamorgan’s Australian Jim Allenby has impressed over the last two and a half days. In his side’s first knock he was not in for long but his assertive approach put some spark into a fading innings. Yesterday his 4-61 kept Yorkshire’s lead within manageable proportions, and now today, coming to the wicket with his team still 26 runs in arrears and half their wickets gone, he’s gone conscientiously about leading a rearguard action. He’s within a big hit of a half century, but will need to keep his head down if Glamorgan are not to lose some time later today. Their lead is 48 and they have four wickets in hand.
Events at Canterbury are attracting almost as much interest at Headingley as what we’re watching here. While it looks as if the top end of Division 1 will be sorted out this afternoon, Division 2’s promotion shake up is going to go all the way into next week.
Much of the talk on the terraces is about the bizarre news that Andrew Flintoff is going to become a heavyweight boxer. One sporting sage in the eastern stand, whose knowledge is matched only by his mastery of the technical terminology, reckons Flintoff has a good chance if he takes on Audley Harrison, “the only professional boxer in history to have a cauliflower arse”.
12.45pm: Jon Culley at Worcestershire v Warwickshire
Boyd Rankin -- remember him? -- was finally granted a function in this match other than specialist fielder and has taken the opportunity to join the fun by taking a couple of wickets, just so Messrs Barker and Wright cannot claim to have done all the work.
The big Irishman entered the attack in the 214th over of the match and immediately gave the batsmen something else to worry about with his extra bounce. He claimed his first wicket with the last ball of his third over when Brett D'Oliveira was taken at first slip and struck again when Ben Cox was undone by the bounce and snapped up at second slip.
At lunch, Warwickshire are three wickets from the title and photographers, broadcasters and ECB officials not seen until now have suddenly appeared. I shall remain calm as usual.
12:40pm: Vithushan Ehantharajah at Middlesex v Lancashire
What is it about wicketkeepers that make them such pro-active batsmen? Is it their hand-eye coordination? The fact that they’ve spent all that time watching the ball off the pitch? Maybe they’re just a different breed of people. They’re mavericks - they don’t need to nudge and nurdle or play in the “V”.
“I’m a wicketkeeper – the world is my ‘V’!”
Gareth Cross has come in and tonked Ravi Patel about – dancing down the wicket and plonking him for a couple of one-bounce fours, then sweeping when Patel changes his line. Since coming in, he has accounted for 42 of the 57 runs he has put on with Karl Brown, giving Lancashire the edge this morning.
They are 119 runs behind at lunch.
12.40pm: David Lloyd at Kent v Derbyshire
Excellent morning’s work for Kent, whether or not Tredwell is confirmed in their side (and it seems pretty certain he will be).
When the hosts lost three wickets in five overs for one run at the end of yesterday, Derbyshire appeared to be on a roll. But, try as the might, the second division leaders could not add to that little purple patch before lunch.
Sam Northeast and Brendan Nash had a few close shaves, mainly against spinners Wes Durston and David Wainwright, but batted extremely well while putting together an unbroken stand of 115.
By the interval, Northeast was only 10 runs away from his third championship century of the season – and Kent’s lead had blossomed to 235. Very handy indeed.
Mind, Kent’s happy position was not the only thing to occupy the thoughts of home supporters after the public address announcer informed them that there were plenty of good books for sale during the lunch interval, including “50 Shades of Grey”. Before he could add “only joking” the rush had begun.
12.20pm: David Hopps at Sussex v Somerset
Murray Goodwin’s last championship innings at Hove has come to an end. His hopes of finishing with another hundred – it would have been his 49th – were dashed by Alfonso Thomas who had him caught at the wicket for 77.
Goodwin walked off to a standing ovation. If he had to leave Sussex, and he has no wish to, this was not far short of how he might have imagined it: another glorious late summer’s day, a standing ovation from a decent, appreciative crowd and his young sons, Jaydon and Ashton, dashing onto the outfield to greet him as he crossed the boundary rope. His family have even made the trip from Australia to see him off.
Suggestions are that Goodwin is unlikely to play in Sussex’s final championship match against Durham at Chester-le-Street next week in which case he would finish with 14,573 first-class runs for Sussex over 12 seasons at an average of 49.23.
This match has quickened pace decidedly as Alfonso Thomas has taken four wickets for seven runs in 28 balls. He removed Nash and Goodwin with the old ball and then Ben Brown, lbw, and Mike Yardy, chopping on, with the new. Add the run out of Matt Prior and Sussex, luxuriating at 230 for 2, found themselves 254 for 7. Total domination has now become a potentially matchwinning lead.
12.15pm: Ivo Tennant at Hampshire v Essex
Owais Shah, who has just reached 150 with 27 fours and a six, was drafted in to the IPL by Rajasthan Royals at the last minute earlier this year, and did well. That is now his priority in the game: he anticipates that his England career is over and will not hang around waiting to see whether he is called up for a winter tour. And as he will be 34 next month, it is likely he will not play international cricket again.
Maybe, like Mark Ramprakash, he will feel he has a point or two to prove and will make endless runs in his late ‘thirties. Only 49 runs to go here at West End before he reaches his career best score.
12 noon: Jon Culley at Worcestershire v Warwickshire
Warwickshire have moved three wickets closer to confirming their status as County Champions for the first time since 2004 and Ashley Giles, their director of cricket, is already conducting the first of many interviews describing how it was done.
Giles was in a counting-no-chickens mood last night but even if he would have to concede that it would take a rearguard action from Worcestershire of proportions to which the word 'heroic' probably would not come close to doing justice to prevent it from happening.
Honest and frank, Giles said that one of the things he was looking forward to most at this stage was a rest. Compared with winning trophies as a player, going through the process as a coach, he said, was several times more draining. Although the adrenaline coursing through his veins is keeping him going day-to-day he admitted that his nights have become sleepless with tension, waiting for the job to be done. It will not end today, either, with the CB40 final at Lord's on Saturday week to think about.
When it is all over, at least today's part of the double bid, no names will be cheered louder in the Warwickshire dressing room than Chris Wright and Keith Barker, whose efforts in carrying the burden of responsibility for leading an attack often without Chris Woakes and Boyd Rankin can be described as heroic.
Barker has taken two of this morning's wickets, bowling Daryl Mitchell, who jammed a yorker into his stumps, and Alex Kervezee, who was lbw to one that swung in. Wright bowled Joe Leach middle stump. Moeen Ali has a half-century and Worcestershire have regained some respectability at 177-5 but it is only a matter of time.
11:55am: Jarrod Kimber at Surrey v Notts
Rory Burns has a foot tick. As the bowler is coming in, he fires his left foot back in a twitchy manner. Once you see it, you can’t stop noticing it. It’s like once you find out a Japanese Monkey Fish (also known as a merman) is not actually made of a monkey and a fish. You can never go back.
Harinath was bowled around his legs by White, which then started a conversation about what is around the legs. Essentially Harinath played the ball with the modern style of getting outside the line of off stump, so the ball spinning back into him couldn’t get him LBW. The the ball spun violently and clipped the exposed leg stump. So it was less around his legs, and more in front of them, if that matters.
Surrey are 58 for 2, and you know what that means, GW has not come in to bat yet.
11.30am: David Hopps at Sussex v Somerset
Chris Nash has fallen with the third morning nearly an hour old, still 23 runs short of becoming the third England-qualified batsman to reach 1,000 first-class runs for the season. Returns are much lower this season because of the rain-sodden summer (remember that?) and Nash, caught at the wicket off Alfonso Thomas for 126, has a maximum of three more innings to reach his personal goal.
We could be in for a somnolent time until tea as Sussex, 273 ahead at start of play with eight wickets left, negotiate a safe passage to a suitably risk-free declaration. Most interest centres at the moment on whether Murray Goodwin can say farewell to the Hove crowd with another championship hundred. He was 51 not out overnight and upon Nash’s departure had moved unfussily into the 70s.
11.25am: Les Smith at Yorkshire v Glamorgan
It’s tenterhooks here. Glamorgan debutant David Lloyd , coming to the wicket after Will Bragg had his stumps clattered by Moin Ashraf, is on a pair. From a distance he looks composed, but there must be considerable internal butterfly activity . His wait for another opportunity to get off the mark has been delayed by the dismissal of Stewart Walters, again of Ashraf.
And this is horrible! Patterson bowls a length ball which bounces and moves a little, Lloyd nicks it, and for the second time in his first appearance in first class cricket he’s gone for a duck. I’ve never seen any batsman walk back to the pavilion so slowly. It’s looking as if Dickie’s prediction of an early afternoon finish might be proved right. Glamorgan are still 24 runs behind with five wickets remaining.
11:20am: Vithushan Ehantharajah at Middlesex v Lancashire
Through a combination of the Lord’s media centre air conditioning – seemingly stuck on “Baltic” - and the overheating of my laptop, I have created the perfect microclimate. I feel at peace with the world. Not that I have anything to feel on edge about.
Neither does Ashwell Prince by the looks of things. He greets Ravi Patel with a brace of reverse sweeps. The first is paddled down to third-man for two runs. The second is not quite as well timed, as Prince top-edges straight into his helmet, where it stays lodged. A minor inconvenience, but he removes his lid, pops the ball out and has a little chuckle. The new ball has been taken.
Prior to the start, Glen Chapple was presented with a leather bound Wisden for being one of their five Cricketers of the Year. He will defend it against Freddie “Friends with James Corden” Flintoff at the MEN Arena, later this year.
11.05am: David Lloyd at Kent v Derbyshire
The regulation allowing international players to join championship matches after they have started, replacing a nominated member of the side who may have already batted and bowled, was introduced several years ago – and still does not sit easy with many people.
But this one seems particularly messy because both sides appeared to be under the impression that Tredwell (who was included on Kent’s squad sheet with Riley identified as the player in line to be substituted) would only join the match if he was deemed surplus to England’s requirements yesterday.
Instead, the 30-year-old presumably travelled down from Nottingham last night following representations from Kent to the ECB. In any event, he was here this morning and practising in the nets.
The regulations make it clear that a player made available by England can participate in a championship match provided there are two full days remaining, but the paragraph starts with the proviso “in exceptional circumstances”.
So does the fact that Kent are challenging to go up, and playing against promotion rivals, on a pitch taking some turn and they would rather have a 30-year-old spinner in their side than a 20-year-old rookie constitute exceptional circumstances?
10.50am: George Dobell at Worcestershire v Warwickshire
Morning from New Road.
The Championship Trophy is at New Road this morning and, barring a miracle, will be presented to Warwickshire at some stage today.
Worcestershire’s hopes of pulling off an unlikely escape have been diminished even further by the early loss of Daryl Mitchell, playing on, in just the third over of the day.
10.45am: David Lloyd at Kent v Derbyshire
Interesting, controversial and potentially crucial development here – Kent are trying to draft their England off-spinner James Tredwell into this match at the halfway stage. But Derbyshire are contesting it with the ECB
Everyone, including umpires Neil Mallender and Nick Cook, apparently, were under the impression that Tredwell would not be available for Kent if he played in yesterday’s final one-day international against South Africa at Trent Bridge, which he did.
But Derbyshire were told just 35 minutes before start of play that the vastly experienced Tredwell was going to replace rookie off-spinner Adam Riley under an “exceptional circumstances” clause in the ECB’s regulations.
No announcement has been made to the crowd here and, with Derbyshire in the field, the situation may not become crystal clear until either Tredwell or Riley walks out to bat. But the visitors are not happy and are contesting the decision with Lord’s. Who can blame them?
10.40am: Ivo Tennant at Hampshire v Essex
Rod Bransgrove, the chairman of Hampshire, was at Southampton Airport railway station this morning, but not on his way to the Ageas Bowl. He was off to London to attend to his myriad business affairs. Anyway, he is back at the ground tomorrow and promised, in his characteristically sardonic way, to bring out his famed personal supply of Chablis. Rod has kept a low profile this season – Kevan James of the BBC, who knows him better than most, feels he sees no worth in more public utterances - although he did give an interview to Sky last week, talking about his intentions to build the proposed hotel at the Northern End as soon as possible. Mark Nicholas wrote of him in his profile for ESPN Cricinfo last year that “there is no better man in the game” and that is fair comment.
10.30am: Les Smith at Yorkshire v Glamorgan
Morning from Headingley. I found myself sharing an elevator with Dickie Bird after close of play yesterday, which in my experience doesn’t happen every day. He asserted with the utmost confidence that Yorkshire will have won this match by the middle of this afternoon. We’ll see about that. It’s another lovely Leeds morning, and Will Bragg and Stewart Walters are walking out intending, no doubt, to prove Dickie wrong. Very sorry to name drop again, but I overheard Geoff Boycott telling a member in the car park this morning that Ryan Sidebottom is “a proper pro, just like his dad”. And it’s Sidebottom junior who’s opening the attack for Yorkshire.
David Hopps with The 3am Preamble
It's kicking out time at Oceana and a girl has not got her bag. I know that because she keeps screaming "That's my bag." If she screams it once, she screams it hundreds of time and her insistent cries must wake up hundreds of hotel guests in the vicinity.
At the taxi rank, from what I can see, peering out of a fifth-floor window, nobody pays much attention but finally, after who knows what outcome, there is the slamming of a car door and all you can hear once more is the lapping of the waves.
If somebody loses a bag at a county cricket match someone just makes a polite announcement over the PA system.
Which brings us in a roundabout way to Les Smith's report today on Yorkshire v Glamorgan:
"Promotion hopes or not, it would be an unusual end to a Yorkshire season that did not see a dispute or two. This year's surrounds the long-serving public address announcer Tony Loffill, who was informed at Scarborough on Friday that he would be making way for somebody with a more upbeat style of delivery."
Tony was a gent: intelligent, well read with a love of cricket. Yorkshire were lucky to have him. When he kept his announcements sparse, there would be complaints from Yorkshire members that he was not providing enough information. When he provided information, they complained he was talking too much. His successor may start with a more upbeat delivery, but the malcontents will soon wear him down.
David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo