Tanya Aldred's roundup
A biblical overnight deluge, that continued through most of the morning, ruled out play in most of yesterday’s Championship games. Only at Lord’s were two sessions possible, which was more than enough time for Gloucestershire to complete their seven-wicket defeat of Middlesex.
David Payne, who missed the last round of games for the birth of his first child, skedaddled through Middlesex’s defences, with six for 56, to pocket 11 wickets for the match: a career-best bowling performance.
There was fortification only from Nick Gubbins, author of an energetic 52 before being lbw to Payne – the cut of his jaw as he trudged off suggested that the ball may have pitched outside the line – and John Simpson, who was caught and bowled by the leaping Payne for 40. There was time for Thilan Walallawita to bash Payne into the Grandstand for six, alas for Middlesex, it was but a fleeting gesture.
Set just 90 to win, Gloucestershire lost three wickets. Their guiding lights came from the steady Kraigg Brathwaite, out with just three needed for 21, and a delightful cameo from Tom Lace who, with great delicacy, cover drove, cut, clipped, and nudged his way to an unbeaten 31 against his old club.
The victory leaves Gloucestershire top of Group Two, with four wins in five games; and Middlesex second-bottom, with four defeats from five matches.
A 5.30pm start at the Rose Bowl gave Craig Overton enough time to pick up a fourth wicket for Somerset against Hampshire in conditions that could not have been more leadenly-perfect, Sam Northeast snatched with one magical hand by George Bartlett at short leg for nine, before they were beckoned off by the encroaching gloom.
The other six games, at Headingley, Trent Bridge, Grace Road, Edgbaston, Old Trafford and Wantage Road were abandoned without a ball being bowled.
Sky will cover games in the next three rounds of the Championship: Glamorgan v Yorkshire at Cardiff next week, followed by Surrey v Middlesex at The Oval for the first match where crowds will be allowed, before the Roses game at Old Trafford.
Bad light stops play at the Rose Bowl.
Hampshire 79 and 110-4 v Somerset 336 all out (Southampton)
And off they trudge at the Rose Bowl, bad light the villain. Half an hour or so’s play possible - enough for Craig Overton to add a fourth wicket and Hampshire to limp to 110-4. I suspect that is that - a rain-drenched Saturday all round the country, with only the game at Lord’s, and a victory for Gloucestershire, to warm the cockles.
Thanks for sticking around in your wellies. Simon will be back tomorrow and I’ll see you next week. Good night!
A wicket at the Rose Bowl - Sam Northeast for nine, a fourth wicket for big bad Craig Overton. Hampshire: 103-4, still 154 behind Somerset. Enter James Vince, to waft dangerously.
Gloucestershire beat Middlesex by seven wickets
Middlesex 210 and 152 v Gloucestershire 273 and 93-3 (Lord’s)
Middlesex’s fourth defeat; Gloucestershire’s fourth win, as they show just why they were promoted to Division One at the end of the 2019 season.
A wicket! At the last, Kraigg Brathwaite is lbw for 21. Three needed.
They’re on at the Rose Bowl, where Hampshire resume at 92-3 and Craig Overton has the new ball.
Confirmation that next week’s Championship game on Sky will be Glamorgan v Yorks, followed by Middx v Surrey the following week and then the Roses match.
And Bracey goes, just as he was being compared to Joe Root. Tipping to mid-on where it was comfortably taken for 13. A second wicket for Bamber. Gloucs 50-2, 40 needed to win.
Admiring the neatness of John Simpson behind the stumps, cigarette slim, only needs a cravat.
Bracey hot to trot, sliding a fortuitous four through the slips, following up with a cover-drive for four more.
Chris Dent’s stumps tumble away, bamboozled by Etham Bamber. Gloucs 38-1, need 52 to win.
Play will resume at the Rose Bowl at 5.30pm. A minimum of 16 overs to be bowled.
Gloucestershire advanced to 17-0 while I ran to the mobile phone repair shop round the corner. Further to Romeo’s question about Sky’s coverage: for the seventh round. they are going to do a full bells and whistles production for Surrey v Middx at The Oval.
Brathwaite and Dent are out in the middle in the Lord’s glooom, they need another 88 to win. Middlesex must rely on Tim Murtagh to do Tim Murtaghish things, and quickly.
I must just pop out round the corner - back in ten mins.
“Tanya,” Yes Romeo. “Have you heard any whispers about Sky covering another game next week? They’re at Lord’s because the set-up is the best, and probably wouldn’t do the same thing at other grounds (just having their commentators) but they can’t just repeat next week although Middlesex are again at home. Maybe they will just repeat. Maybe they’ll take their full camera kit somewhere. Or maybe do nothing.”
I believe they are doing a game, but I don’t know any details. Place your bets BTL.
Middlesex all out 152! Tim Murtagh throws the bat at Daniel Worrall, whose hair celebrates with a whoop of wild wackiness . David Payne finishes with 6-56 in this innings, 11-87 in the match. Gloucestershire need 90 to win, to ink their fourth win in five games into the results book.
Payne snaffles a sixth as Andersson is caught, with panache, by Brathwaite, for 15, going for a big one. Middx 135-9, Gloucestershire will polish this off today, I wager. A valuable win in a round of probable draws.
Play has also been abandoned for the day at Wantage Road and Trent Bridge!
Thermal socks and hot water bottles all round.
There will be a further inspection at the Rose Bowl at 4pm.
Make that the ten wickets! David Payne gathers his haul with an inducker into the pads of James Harris for a duck. Middx 134-8, the lead 71. They need to somehow eek another 40 or 50 out of the afternoon gloom.
Wicket! A smart caught and bowled by David Payne does for John Simpson, for 40. Middx 134-7 and Payne has nine wickets in the match.
Latest report from Harare, where Zimbabwe are currently 40-3, losing Kevin Kasuza, Tarisal Musakanda and Brendan Taylor in the first 17.5 overs. Earlier, Pakistan declared on a rather comfortable 510-8, with an unbeaten 215 for Abid Ali, 126 for Azhar Ali and Nauman Ali last man out for 97.
Play has been abandoned for the day at Edgbaston
Just waiting to hear on Trent Bridge, the Rose Bowl and Wantage Road.
Gubbins has a set jaw as he slopes back to the Lord’s pavilion. LBW to David Payne for 52. He semi-crouched into a delivery from Payne - your guess as good as mine as to whether it was outside the line. The lead? 46.
Fifty for Nick Gubbins! Turned off his hip and a stepping stone successfully navigated. Middx 108-5, the lead 45.
Play abandoned for the day at Grace Road
Heavy overnight rain has spoilt Surrey’s chances of continuing with their promising opening partnership today.
The Middlesex lead creeps up to 37. Gubbins (46) and Simpson (27) showing gumption and good sense. Groundsmen’s paraphernalia is scattered around the boundary as Taylor dries the ball on his trousers. Damp underfoot. But the lead grows. Three figures for Gloucestershire to chase in overcast conditions tomorrow morning?
Inspection at 3 o’clock at the Rose Bowl. At 2.45 at Edgbaston.
And some thoughts on India’s Test squad from Harsha Bhogle
Play has been abandoned for the day at Old Trafford
A nailed on draw at OT. Real shame for the Glamorgan batsmen who were looking forward (seriously) to the challenge of batting against Jimmy Anderson again.
Mike Atherton was impressed by James Bracey yesterday. “He looked confident and knows his game, not going to let anyone down if he gets his chance. A hard worker. People speak very highly of his character. Not eye-catching, but organised.”
And a discussion between Adam Collins and Atherton: county cricket is played below the waist, Test cricket above the waist.
Romeo has identified Chris Dent as the walking ponytail wrapped up in the cable-knit sweater. Middlesex battle on, Gubbins looking comfortable-ish.
Oh dear. Robbie White befuddled by David Payne and his stumps are re-arranged. Out for one. Middx 56-5.
A wicket! While Gubbins flourishes, nightwatchman Bamber fenced at Higgins, well caught by Bracey. Middx 45-4.
Nick Gubbins is in shirt sleeves while up on top of the pavilion Old Father Time is blown hither and thither. Gubbins hoes a ball legside and it zizzes along the wet outfield for four. Who is the slip with a pony tail? Middx 26-3.
An inspection is due at The Rose Bowl at 1.40pm.
Four slips await as Ryan Higgins scampers in...
Play at Lord's!
You can tune into Middlesex v Gloucestershire here. The bell has just gone at Lord’s, a groundsman is rearranging the boundary rope and the Gloucestershire players are hovering outside the pavilion. Middx 26-3 and in rather a hole.
Another couple of stories. Firstly, the bizarre alleged kidnapping of former Australian legspinner Stuart MacGill.
And on talks to move the remaining rounds of the Pakistan Super League out of Karachi, where Covid cases are building rapidly, to the UAE.
“How much,” asks Andrew Benton, “does your average county cricketer get paid these days? I remember seeing an interview with an England player years ago - forgotten who - recounting a story of playing an exhibition match in the US and being asked about his salary by a spectator. He said eight thousand pounds and the chap replied it was similar to what sportsmen in the US would get for an exhibition match. The player of course meant per year! The IPL in particular is getting serious money into the pockets of a handful of top players, but what about the rest?”
My enquiries suggest a sliding scale of £25k to £150k.
Post-lunch play at Lord's
In London, the clouds have parted. Play is due to start at Lord’s at 1.10pm, with Middlesex 26-3 in their second innings, still 37 runs behind. Perfect conditions for batting...
Report from Old Trafford: chances of play are low. Puddles everywhere which will take two to three hours to mop up should it actually stop raining. I can confirm this with a quick glance from my kitchen window.
A most noble- looking hound barks into my inbox.
“Meet Luca the Romanian rescue,” writes James Walsh. “He’s been in Bristol for two months and is settling in nicely.
“After enjoying the live blog for many years as someone with no allegiance beyond the meaty forearms of Ian Ronald Bell, I’ve started supporting Gloucestershire due to my current proximity to the county ground. Given their start to the season, I now feel a bit like the kid at school who supported Man United.”
Graham Hardcastle has harvested some nice quotes from the great swamp once known as Headingley. Yorkshire captain Steve Patterson is a close friend of Kent batsman Jack Leaning, who won two Championship titles with Yorkshire in 2014 and 2015 before leaving for Canterbury. Leaning scored 47 on the first day of the current match between the two teams.
“Jack played well, and we know he’s a good player. He’s played some great knocks for us in the past.
What impressed me was that on the back of a pair against us at their place, it took him 29 balls here to get off the mark. But he never got flustered and waited for his opportunity to score.
When lads are your friends and you’ve played with them for a long time, like I have with Jack, all you want to see is them be successful.
We won a couple of Championships together and have all those wonderful memories.
A change of scenery and a new opportunity will do wonders for him. He’s had a tough start to this year, but he got that big double hundred last year for Kent.
I think the future will be bright for him there. If he continues to play like he did on day one here, he’ll score a lot of runs.”
My 2021 XI of names that I didn’t start the season thinking about: Ricardo Vasconcelos, Rob Yates, Adam Lyth, Kiran Carlson, Saif Zaib, Ryan Higgins, Dan Douthwaite, Lewis Hill, Jack Carson, David Willey, Luke Fletcher.
Twelfth man: Haseeb Hameed, because I was thinking about him but didn’t dream it could start so well.
They’ve called no play this morning at Trent Bridge too. A Jofra Archer update for you to peruse:
and a good piece on the IPL bubble bursting.
Play has been abandoned for the day at Headingley.
No play before lunch at Northampton. Do email me in your thoughts on life etc at the usual: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The dog is still berating me from the sofa for forcing her out this morning.
Confirmed delayed starts at ALL games this morning.
And a sad goodbye to to Murray Hedgcock, who died on Friday aged 90. A cricket journalist who loved the game and reading about it till the very end.
Simon may have posted this story on Thursday - a strange tale of a player tangled up in dense regulations. Good luck to Charlie Hemphrey in whatever he does next.
Thanks to Romeo for pointing out this rather lovely Saturday musing from new Leicestershire CEO Sean Jarvis. Leicester may be bottom of Group 2, which contains four Test match counties, and have the lowest number of points bar Kent, but they’ve shown real fight this season.
The best hope of play seems to be, most unfortunately for Middlesex and Hampshire, at Lord’s and The Rose Bowl. I guess things might start moving after lunch but will keep you updated as best I can.
Not cricket, but a beautiful, uplifting interview with Rob Burrow by Don McRae:
The Greater Manchester Cricket league have abandoned all matches today due to the weather and Covid restrictions in clubhouses. Time for a second pair of socks.
Some gentle reading to pass the time:
An update from the MCC after rumours surfaced of objections to plans for a statue of Rachael Heyhoe Flint.
“Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) can confirm it is in the process of agreeing plans for commemorating former England captain and Honorary Life Member Rachael Heyhoe Flint at Lord’s, with further details to be announced in due course.
Baroness Heyhoe Flint contributed a huge amount to the women’s game and indeed MCC, becoming one of the world’s best-known female cricketers, playing for England in a career which spanned 22 years. She led England to victory in the 1973 Women’s World Cup, a tournament she had been instrumental in getting off the ground and also captained England against Australia at Lord’s in 1976 – the first women’s match to be played at the Ground. After leading the campaign for women to be able to join MCC, she became one of the first women to become a Member of MCC when the Committee awarded her Honorary Life Membership. In 2004 she was the first woman elected to the Main Committee and she later served the Club as a Trustee.
MCC has an ambitious and positive agenda for women’s and girls’ cricket to increase its reach and to position Lord’s as welcome and open to all and commemoration of Rachael’s pioneering achievements is part of this wider plan. This commitment was highlighted at an event to celebrate MCC Women’s Day on 29 April when a prestigious panel, hosted by President Designate Clare Connor, discussed MCC’s progress and objectives for the women’s game.
Guy Lavender, Chief Executive & Secretary of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) said: “Rachael Heyhoe Flint’s contribution to the women’s game and to MCC is unparalleled. Her portrait, commissioned by the Club in 2010, is displayed above the entrance to the Long Room in the Pavilion at Lord’s. Its position signifies and acknowledges the huge impact she had on cricket and the admiration in which she is held.
“The Club has been considering further ways to commemorate Rachael’s considerable achievements and when we emerge from the worst of the pandemic, we will be looking at how we honour Rachael’s legacy as part of our wider strategy to advance women’s and girls’ cricket. I have had no sense of opposition to this intent, indeed the notion that there is a revolt at Lord’s is highly misleading with no such challenge raised across our Club committees, or by the broader Membership who recognise Rachael’s contribution to the game of cricket as a whole.”
The kettle is on, I’ll be back to chew the fat and count raindrops shortly.
A round-up of Friday's events
On a day of intermittent showers at Old Trafford, Glamorgan shovelled their way to three batting points against Lancashire, despite the best efforts of Jimmy Anderson.
The partnership of the day came between Dan Douthwaite and Callum Taylor, who both passed fifty as they put on 81 for the seventh wicket. Douthwaite was whippy and plucky, Taylor, patiently defensive, against Anderson, with the new and old ball, and the tweaking and twirling Liam Livingstone and Matt Parkinson. There were three wickets each for Anderson, bowling on a cherry pip, and Saqib Mahmood, who earlier limped off the pitch with an ankle problem. Keaton Jennings and Alex Davies then fiddled 22 in 18 overs in sunshine that belied Saturday’s cataclysmic weather forecast.
Essex and Nottinghamshire continued to don each other’s garments in their rapidly-advancing match at Trent Bridge. Alastair Cook had time to velvet six boundaries in his 35 before being first man out to Lyndon James. But with his dismissal, hopes of batting out the match faded as Tom Westley and Dan Lawrence followed cheaply, though Nick Browne was unbeaten on 60 at the close, with the deficit 95. Steven Mullaney had dominated the morning, making 117 as Notts advanced to 323; with Zimbabwe-born Netherlands-playing Shane Snater snapping up seven for 98.
Gareth Berg and Ben Sanderson continued to weave their hypnotic spell over Sussex, whose second innings threatened to stumble just as their first until Stiaan van Zyl breathed calm with 71 not out. Northamptonshire had earlier declared on 441 as Saif Zaib wafted to his maiden first-class century, Adam Rossington fell for 97 and Berg and Tom Taylor indulged in some late-order heave-ho.
Somerset added second-day plenty as their tail biffed and bashed, led by 74 from Craig Overton and 34 from nightwatchman Jack Leach. Keith Barker picked up four for 67. Overton then thundered in with the ball, taking three for 24 as Hampshire limped to 92 for three, still 165 behind.
Michael Burgess was the last man out for Warwickshire after a maiden first-class hundred for the club nudged their first innings to 343. Worcestershire’s reply was dominated by the ever-reliable Jake Libby, who made 74 until Olly Stone snaffled him, and an unbeaten fifty from Jack Haynes.
Gloucestershire’s man of the moment, James Bracey, skipped to a pretty 74 at Lord’s, and in front of an audience on Sky TV. Ryan Higgins and Ian Cockbain then helped nudge Gloucester to a 63-run first-innings lead, leaving Middlesex time to collapse to 26 for three before stumps.
Mark Stoneman and Rory Burns both made unbeaten half centuries as the spring air filled Surrey’s batting sails much as it had Leicestershire’s. Mid-afternoon, Amar Virdi had strolled off Grace Road with six for 171, and Leicestershire 496, after a maiden first-class century for Harry Swindells.
Joe Root squirted Matthew Quinn into the gloves of Ollie Robinson after a beguiling 41 as Yorkshire chased Kent’s 305. Gary Ballance made an unbeaten 91 in polka-time, followed by 59 from Harry Brook. Earlier Miguel Cummins had lofted Kent past 300, with two fours and two sixes.
Start of play scores
Warwickshire 343 v Worcestershire 198-4 (Edgbaston)
Nottinghamshire 323 v Essex 99 and 129-3 (Trent Bridge)
Leicestershire 496 v Surrey 146-0 (Leicester)
Middlesex 210 and 26-3 v Gloucestershire 273 all out (Lord’s)
Hampshire 79 and 92-3 v Somerset 336 all out (Southampton)
Yorkshire 240-5 v Kent 305 (Headingley)
Lancashire 22-0 v Glamorgan 344 (Old Trafford)
Northamptonshire 441-9dec v Sussex 106 and 154-4 (Northampton)
Good morning from Manchester where the rain falleth. And falleth again.
Today will be unsettled for all with blustery bands of rain sweeping north-eastwards across the UK. South-eastern areas will turn drier in the afternoon, but rain will persist all day in places.
Just glanced at the weather map and it seems there may be a chance of play at St Hellier and Lerwick.
The view from Northampton:
and Grace Road: