Nottingham, May 04 - 07, 2023, County Championship Division One
214 & 329/8d
(T:295) 249 & 138/9

Match drawn


Josh Bohannon, George Balderson extend Lancashire lead on dreary day

Sight of Olly Stone limping off midway through an over with a hamstring injury piles on gloom for Notts

David Hopps
David Hopps
Josh Bohannon en route to a half-century, LV= Insurance County Championship, Kent vs Lancashire, day 1, Canterbury, April 22, 2021

Josh Bohannon fell agonisingly short of a ton between rain showers  •  Getty Images

Lancashire 214 and 219 for 4 (Bohannon 92, Balderson 91) lead Nottinghamshire 249 (Hameed 97) by 184 runs
You would need to be a confirmed anti-monarchist to turn up at Trent Bridge on a wretched day like this: the coronation of King Charles III pointedly shunned in favour of a bedraggled County Championship match that appeared likely to be rained off by lunchtime only to totter back into life when least expected.
Threats to the realm these spectators, dotted around largely deserted stands in rebellious little groups, with every chance there were crumpled paperbacks of Milton's Paradise Lost in their knapsacks, concealed below a slice of republican quiche. Fortunate, some would say, not to be bundled off into white vans.
Trent Bridge officially did everything by the book, of course. They sang the national anthem when Queen Elizabeth II died and, as history took its course, they sang God Save the King to mark the succession, both teams with chests thrust out with pride. County clubs have vied loyally in the past week to promote their link with royalty, however tenuous. Nottinghamshire's prize possession is a photo of Prince Philip bowling in the nets in 1949, one royal who really did have an affinity with the game.
That goodwill fleetingly appeared to be reciprocated when Charles formally promised to be a "brave advocate of those in need" shortly before the exchange of swords. Well, somebody has to try to save the Championship, and a newly-crowned king, with an insatiable appetite for tradition, is in as good a position as anyone.
What cricket there was saw Lancashire extend their overnight lead of 63 to 184 with the second-wicket pair, George Balderson and Josh Bohannon, both closing in on hundreds during an ominously warmish morning of thickening cloud only to perish five hours later. When the umpires did lead the teams off at lunchtime, like a couple of malcontents anticipating the rain before it had actually happened, Lancashire's head coach, Glen Chapple, leant over the balcony, arms quizzically outstretched. The implication was that every ball, every minute, was vital.
Be careful what you wish for, however. At five past five, the players trooped out under glowering skies for another 21 balls, which was long enough for Balderson to be caught at first slip for 91, driving at Olly Stone. They then all trooped in, only to troop back out again almost immediately. This time Lyndon James had Bohannon caught at second slip for 92 before they about-turned once more. The least they deserved for all this marching around was a full military band, but the only accompaniment was the tuning up off a hover cover.
Dane Vilas fell in a third slice of floodlit play as Lancashire, all told, lost three wickets for 24 in 10.3 overs. Nottinghamshire's bowling, assisted by spicier conditions, had been much better than before lunch, although the sight of Stone limping off midway through an over with a hamstring injury brought more despondency for a fast bowler whose career has been haunted by injury.
By then, the crowd had dwindled to next to nothing, a few dissidents perhaps who were looking for an excuse to avoid a street party or a celebratory fete. But those final overs might have been enough to keep the match alive. If Lancashire, who are still without a win, are serious about challenging for the Championship, they will need to manufacture a declaration in late morning.
Bohannon is an eye-catching player, especially his penchant for an off-side drive, which has a touch of the cavalier about it. Two such assaults against Luke Fletcher took him to his half-century, but Balderson, who is opening because of an injury to the captain, Keaton Jennings, kept pace.
Balderson is a compact and pragmatic left-hander capable of strong forearm thrusts, more pikeman than cavalry. Despite a first-class average of only 24, barely half that of Bohannon, he has looked difficult to dislodge and, at 22, has time on his side. At Westminster Abbey's crowning moment, he brought up the 150 stand by flaying a wide half-volley from Stone to the cover boundary. "Nicely balanced," somebody murmured appreciatively, which at that precise second was not what the Archbishop of Canterbury was thinking about the crown.
Surprisingly there was also a full programme of cricket on Elizabeth's Coronation Day 70 years ago. The Australians were on tour and stayed in London after the Lord's Test for a Coronation meal at Haymarket House before travelling to Hove to face Sussex the following day. An autographed copy of the menu was auctioned recently but nobody bought it. That's what creeping republicanism does for you.
England recovered the Ashes that year, winning the final Test after the first four Tests were drawn. Four successive draws in the era of Bazball? This ropey weather would have to continue deep into July for a repeat of that.

David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

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County Championship Division One