A soporific second day of the Bob Willis Trophy came and went with Warwickshire practising for world domination. As inexorably as the rising and setting autumnal sun, on they strode, the occasional wicket only a temporary diversion, as they notched up two hundreds, two fifties, and a forty on the way to a first-innings lead of 386.
The captain, Will Rhodes, who finished the day unbeaten on 151, was given a standing ovation as he trotted back up the steps of the pavilion. What a last hurrah to his season: catching Jack Brooks to secure the Championship at Edgbaston on Friday, and powering on to his first century of the summer, at Lord’s, to put the game well out of Lancashire’s reach.
Rhodes fizzed with man-about-town confidence, off the mark with a four through the covers, with another four, this time a spank through midwicket, bringing up his fifty in foot-tapping time. He was ruthless on anything too short or wide, as was Rob Yates, the pair putting on 110 for the second wicket.
Yates, one of the most talked about young batsmen on the circuit, reached his hundred with an eggs-over-easy cover drive, becoming the first player to make five first-class centuries this season and the first since Nottinghamshire’s Joe Clarke to make five or more in a summer at the tender age of 22 or younger. It was also his first century away from Edgbaston, and in front of the Sky cameras too.
There were also runs for Sam Hain and Michael Burgess, with poor Matthew Lamb the only recognised batsman to fail, skedaddled for a duck by a beauty from Luke Wells that dipped and turned out of the dust.
As play pushed towards six o’clock, Matt Parkinson launched into yet another over, his shadow stretching back almost to the start of the season. He picked up his 100th first-class wicket, after Burgess pushed forward and was snaffled by Alex Davies behind the stumps (a story within a story: Warwickshire keeper present stumped by Warwickshire keeper – possibly – to come). His 101st followed when an uncharacteristically subdued Tim Bresnan was caught for four. It was a plucky and tireless performance, reeling in with the ball.
As if to suit the mood of the day, the meeting between the 18 county chief executives and chairs to work out the structure for the 2022 summer decided on nothing. They talked over the England and Wales Cricket Board recommendations (three conferences next season, with the results having some bearing on a return to a two-division structure in 2023) and returned to their counties to consult. The ballots will be returned early next week. A two-thirds majority is needed for any decision to pass.