Chris Cairns has provided the most encouraging news for New Zealand cricket interests in England in the last few weeks. He showed his developing preparedness for the one-day campaigns coming up in India and Pakistan in his most recent outing for Nottinghamshire.
In a National Cricket League match against Sussex, which Notts won by 71 runs, Cairns hit 91 not out off 72 balls, then took 3 for 48 off nine overs. In the County Championship match against Kent, which preceded the NCL game, he took 3 for 59 and 0 for 14 in the nine-wicket loss. However, earlier in another NCL game against Middlesex he hit 14 and took 1 for 78 off nine overs. Notts lost by 37 runs. In the preceding county match against Surrey, a game Notts lost by an innings and 211 runs, his 27 overs yielded 2 for 133. He scored 26 and nine with the bat.
Craig Spearman has had a quiet time of it with Gloucestershire, scoring one and 37 in a drawn county match against Glamorgan while he scored 37 in a four-wicket NCL win over Worcestershire.
Stephen Fleming has also had a quiet time of it with 0 and one in his last two NCL matches while in the last county game Yorkshire played he scored 31 and 35 in a five-wicket loss to Worcestershire.
Playing in the second division of the Surrey Championship, Luke Woodcock took 5 for 51 in a losing draw for his Purley side against Streatham and Marlborough.
In the Lancashire League, Rob Nicol has had scores of 32, 43 and 56 in Rishton's last three losses while he has taken 2 for 20, 4 for 38 and 0 for 18 in those games. He has now scored 805 runs at 32.20 and taken 35 wickets at 36.17.
Neal Parlane's BAT Sports team is still first in the Hampshire league and in the last two matches Parlane has scored 32 and 48 in his side's wins. His brother Michael has not been quite so successful in the East Anglia League for Swardeston. He scored 22 and took 2 for 40 in a 15-run victory over Cambridge Granta.
Their former Northern Districts teammate Hamish Marshall helped his Gerrards Cross team to a 173-run victory over Wokingham by scoring 150.
Warren McSkimming's productive time with Lytham in the premier division of the Liverpool and District League continued with 30 not out and 3 for 48 in a seven-wicket win over Newton le Willows while last weekend he scored 60 in a six-wicket win over Bootle. Brendon Donkers, in the same league, for Leigh, scored 10 and took 2 for 40 in a drawn game with Ormskirk.
James Marshall, for Formby in the first division of the same league has had scores of 16 and 130 in his side's two drawn matches while Aaron Barnes, for Colwyn Bay, has scored 23 and 42.
The Dutch season has been completed with former New Zealand representative Shane Thomson's VRA side winning the competition. In the last two rounds of games, Thomson scored 59 and 12. Andre Adams, for HCC which finished fifth, scored 49 and 38 while having respective bowling figures of 5 for 31 and 2 for 25.
Greg Todd scored 1 and 56 not out for his Hermes DVS side while taking 1 for 32 and 3 for 27. Tama Canning's stint with VOC ended with him scoring 16 and 6 and taking 0 for 20 and 1 for 34. Darron Reekers, with Quick Haag, hit 64 not out and 124 while taking 2 for 30 and 1 for 46.
Jarrod Englefield, whose Rood en Wit have still to play a promotion-relegation match, scored 47 and 3 in his last two appearances.
Women's player Sarah Burke has been luckier than the men's Roon en Wit side. They won the women's league with Burke taking 4 for 16 off nine overs in the penultimate match and scoring 15 in the last game.