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County cricket day one: Benjamin scores ton on Warwickshire debut to dominate Lancashire


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Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood went wicketless as the South African wicketkeeper made hay

8.36pm BST

There was much to get used to as the County Championship returned. Counties moved into three divisions, only one of which vies for the title.

Batting after months of white-ball cricket was easier for those with time to adjust in the middle order. Dom Sibley, Alastair Cook, Sam Robson, Mark Stoneman, Adam Lyth: former England Test openers of varying recency were all out early.

6.53pm BST

That’s it for the day here. It’s been fun, thanks for you company. Let’s do it again sometime.

6.52pm BST

At last they call stumps for Leicestershire and Kent. The former has a score of 66 for 5... yep. Trailing by 166 after giving up 68 for the last wicket. That would sting.

6.28pm BST

Glamorgan were rattled through by the Dutch international Shane Snater for Essex, who took 6 for 39 on the way to bowling them out for 134. Cook made a third-ball duck in reply, though they recovered to 92 for 2.

Northamptonshire made 232 for 5 against Gloucestershire in Bristol, with a spread of contributions led by captain and wicketkeeper Adam Rossington’s 66 not out.

6.17pm BST

Quite the day for Leicestershire. And not in a good way. A fifth wicket falls, they’re 5 for 47 when Harry Swindells gets out, and now they’re 5 for 50. So we’ve had 15 wickets in the day, and Kent are way ahead.

5.59pm BST

Oh hey, I wrote a thing about young Joey Root that may interest some of you cricket folk. I know he doesn’t play much county stuff these days but perhaps you could make an exception.

Related: No avoiding Ashes talk in Joe Root’s relaxed pursuit of Test run record | Geoff Lemon

5.57pm BST

Two more wickets down for Leicestershire! Kent now have them 37 for 4. Lewis Hill gets skittled by Grant Stewart, and then Hasan Azad falls to...

STEVO.

5.53pm BST

That light ain’t getting any better. If anything, it’s getting... Worcester?

254 for 9 will be the overnight Sussex score at New Road, and Jack Carson on his career best score of 75 not out will have to come back tomorrow and see if he can recapture the magic. When he was flowing, it felt like he was some chance to snatch a hundred today. But it’ll be a much less likely thing for a lower-order bat to capture again in the morning.

5.46pm BST

Yorkshire creeping up on that bonus point thanks to Dom Bess, 45 not out as he takes them to 197 for 6...

5.44pm BST

A couple of wickets for Kent now, they’ve got Leicestershire 31 for 2. After his good work with the bat, Leaning takes the catch to dismiss Sam Evans off Milnes, then Billings catches Ackermann off Grant Stewart.

5.41pm BST

A word in from Alex Crampton at Old Trafford on the Lancashire travails, which go beyond the runs conceded.

“Quick note on Livingstone, he’s not been on the field for about two hours after getting some treatment following a dive at the long off boundary. Hopefully not any kind of serious shoulder problem. Poor Parky I also had a few overs off earlier after clocking one to the head off his own bowling, but he’s back to it now.”

5.35pm BST

Yes, that’s worth the big headline. After about 78 overs and 237 runs, the stand is broken. Benjamin is caught by Dane Vilas from Saqib’s bowling with the new ball for 127. Hain remains (mainly on the plain) with 107, joined by Will Rhodes. Warks 246 for 3.

5.33pm BST

Still playing in Cardiff, Hampshire, Manchester, Leicester, Taunton.

Off in Bristol, London, Worcester.

5.29pm BST

The Middlesex-Derbyshire game is off for bad light as well, at 217 for 5.

5.25pm BST

Worcestershire break the Carson-Crocombe stand, but it’s worth 66. The No10 got adventurous enough to score 9 by the end of his stay, with 41 balls faced. Jack Carson is still there, 80 not out at No9. And with two deliveries until the new ball is due, the umpires take the players off with bad light. Joe Sarro hasn’t faced a ball, but as soon as he came on strike the umpires said no. Sussex 254 for 9.

5.20pm BST

Lancashire have the new ball. 80 overs gone. And they desperately need it to do something against Warwickshire, at 240 for 2, with Benjamin 123 and Hain 105. Saqib has it in hand, and lets fly.

5.16pm BST

Leicestershire off to a good start against Kent, 25 without loss. That might help ease the annoyance of that last Kent partnership.

5.15pm BST

Parky One spent some time off the field earlier, too. The word from Lancs was “Injury delay. Matt Parkinson has been hit in the face after diving to stop the ball off his own bowling. He’s got a cut that needs attention off the field but reassuringly Matt was sharing a joke as he walked off so hopefully it’s not too bad.”

5.12pm BST

He’s on 102, Benjamin is on 116, and Warks have 230 for 2.

Tom Bailey has two wickets and no one else has a sniff. Lancashire have used seven bowlers already. Saqib Mahmood nearly made a Test debut last week. Today he’s bowled 15 overs for no joy. The Original Parky is into his 21st over. Liam Livingstone has been called on to bowl a few overs of filth.

5.09pm BST

That makes six out of eight teams with a batting bonus point, which I learned about below the line. You can too. It’s one of the only civilised BTL spaces in the whole internet. The teams without a bonus point are Yorkshire (yet, because they’re so slow, on 162 for 6) and Glamorgan (ever, because they were terrible).

5.07pm BST

Marchant de Lange does get a wicket for Somerset at last. Mullaney out for 42. Notts 208 for 6.

5.06pm BST

He’s kicked on to 55, the scoundrel. The score is up to a Benaud, 222, and the partnership for the ninth wicket is 39. Not only that, Crocombe has doubled his contribution to 2. Sussex having a ball. Worcs... not.

4.54pm BST

Whaddyaknow - all those old blokes were right, it definitely seems easier to bat in the middle of the innings than at the start.

4.52pm BST

It’s all about tail-end partnerships today. Jack Carson has 43 batting at No9 for Sussex, and a partnership of 25 with a bloke who has scored 1. Well done Henry Crocombe. Just hanging out, playing Nintendo. Sussex 208 for 8 in Worcester.

4.49pm BST

Let’s face it, Middlesex were done for earlier. And they’ve been going like a busted. And amongst that, Robbie White stuck fat, waited out the toughest bit, got some support, and now he’s 101 off 195. Simpson doing a job too on 29. Derbyshire have let a big chance slip. It’s 217 for 5.

4.45pm BST

If ever you think that I’ve typed in the wrong team name somewhere, here is a hot tip: refresh your page. See if those sins are cleansed. That will be the final arbiter of whether or not I’m an idiot.

4.44pm BST

Nottinghamshire 194 for 5 as Lyndon James gets out for 30. Still got Steven Mullaney ticking over on 34. Marchant de Lange looked wonderful with the ball in the Hundred, fast and fierce, but hasn’t got a wicket for Somerset here. Abell has two.

4.41pm BST

The People’s Horse is no more. Gary Ballance falls to the irresistible spin of Liam Dawson, who I keep thinking is Richard Dawson from the Sydney Test of 2003, but they are in fact two quite different people. Ballance out for 42. Yorkshire 138 runs scored, 5 wickets lost, and 0 reports released.

4.39pm BST

Back from tea, back in the runs. Sister Act II: Back in the Habit. Chris Benjamin, another man with two first names, gets three figures as well. Only playing his third game of FC cricket, his first for Warks, had 46 runs all up before today, and he’s peeled off a ton against Lancashire in Division 1.

4.31pm BST

A tenth-wicket partnership of 68 comes to an end, but has changed the match against Leicestershire. Jack Leaning is trying to pinch the strike late in a Parkinson over. Turns the ball to short fine leg and calls Logan through for the run, when it isn’t really there. The throw beats Logan home. He’s made a very resolute 21, for someone who obviously doesn’t have great batting prowess, and Leaning is left unbeaten on 75, furiously swishing his bat as he wonders why he called ‘Yes’ for that run. They batted through almost all of the extra half hour taken instead of tea, but fall in the last minutes.

Still, 86 for 8 has become 232 for 10, so it’s been a minor miracle for Kent. Personally, I’m putting that down to the magic of having Darren Stevens in the dressing room. Just vibes, you know?

4.08pm BST

PLACES WHERE IT IS NOT TEA

Leicestershire, where they can’t bowl out Kent and they umpires have extended play and it is very funny. James Logan has 16, Leaning 67, and they’ve added 55. It’s 219 for 9.

4.06pm BST

To work out why it is tea in some places and not in others, you have to use the Tea Adjustment Index worldwide. I am on AEST, which is Australian Eastern Standard Tea. It is 1am here. Tea is ice cream straight out of the tub.

Essex 44 for 2 after bowling out Glams for 134.

3.53pm BST

Hmm, there’s a second Essex wicket on that demonic Cardiff track. Tom Westley goes for 8, felled by the Dutch menace TvDG. In the meantime though, Nick Browne has punted 29 at the other end, so it’s 41 for 2. Dan Lawrence is the new feller trying to burnish some fairly unburnished Test credentials.

3.49pm BST

Chris Benjamin and Sam Hain on matching 86s as Warwickshire advance, 183 for 2.

3.45pm BST

He’s playing really nicely now that he’s in a last-wicket partnership and has to be more active. He picks off Ben Mike, the man with two first names, for a boundary first ball, a series of twos, then farms strike off the last ball. He’s 50 from 121, Kent up to 196 for 9.

3.40pm BST

Parky II has two catches dropped in two balls. The Kent No11, James Logan, edges one through the slips and goes to his highest FC score of 9. Then he turns one to leg slip that goes down. Third ball in the sequence, big appeal for caught behind and the umpire says no. Leicestershire can’t finish off Kent yet, 187 for 9.

3.30pm BST

The Warwickshire advance continues, Benjamin on 76 and Hain on 86. They’re 172 for 2 against Lancs. This is massive in the context of Division 1, with Warks already starting on top because of carry-over points (?) I’ll level with you, I’ve never understood how county cricket points work because they seem impenetrable. But if someone wants to lay it out BTL and save me half an hour in a Wikipedia tunnel, that would be grand.

3.27pm BST

Andersson is finally out, for 52. John Simpson is the next comrade for Robbie White, on 73. Middlesex 156 for 5 against Derbyshire.

3.18pm BST

“Can I offer a contrary view to fellow Essex fan Neil Way,” writes Brian Withington. “I would be thrilled for the scrappy Chelmsford Chihuahuas to top a division that includes Glorious Cup Winning Glamorgan, The Mighty Northants and Never Say Die Durham (other counties also feature). You meet a very fine class of team and supporter in Division 2. With that thought I’m off to Worcester City to hopefully watch youngest son get some much needed pitch time.”

Wishing him luck, Brian.

3.17pm BST

Martin Andersson, you star. He’s come out to support Robbie White with Middlesex knee-deep in ordure, and he’s hauled them out. They’re 154 for 4 at Lord’s and feeling chipper. White has 72, Andersson an even 50.

3.15pm BST

Matthew Milnes, the No9 for Kent, stopped the rot for a little while with his 22 from 36 balls. And Jack Leaning gets a little bit of a move on, up to 30 not out from 100. But when Milnes is out the score is still only 159 for 8.

Stop the rot? You can’t stop the rot.

3.09pm BST

The People’s Horse has lost Tom Kohler-Cadmore. Harry Brook is his partner instead. TKC another victim of Kyle Abbott, who has 3 for 31 from 15 as the only wicket-taker today. Yorkshire 96 for 3 at the Bowl to End All Bowls.

3.07pm BST

Archie Lenham gloves a bouncer down the leg side, and after some resistance for an hour or so he’s out for 20. Faced 40 balls on first-class debut. Sussex 138 for 7. Ed Barnard gets the wicket, inducing a reflex pull shot.

3.04pm BST

Sorry Lancashire, but this Warks pair is on the charge. Benjamin up to 68, Hain passes him to reach 70. They’re 148 for 2.

3.03pm BST

Nottinghamshire’s score is now 140 for 4, after Joe Clarke gets out for 59. A relief for Somerset. Tom Abell with the wicket.

3.01pm BST

Early wicket for Glamorgan! Alastair Cook goes from his third ball, in the second over. Lukas Carey gets him caught behind. Essex 8 for 1. The wickets fall like rain in Cardiff.

2.50pm BST

I’m just enjoying watching Archie Lenham bat. David Hopps is asking questions though. Sussex 135 for 6.

Average age under 19.6 according to those who have worked it out. Is that enlightened opportunity for talented youth, just the way events have turned out, deliberate cost-cutting or really disturbing for England's professional four-day competition? https://t.co/14Dq17EOtq

2.44pm BST

Kent might be next to go, they’re 135 for 7. Our friend Parky II has 4 for 39.

2.43pm BST

They win the prize for the first completed innings. Perhaps we should give the prize to Essex, who made it happen. And 134 is a fair bit more than Glammy might have expeted. Douthwaite got out for 39, a decent knock in the circumstances, but it was his No10 Lukas Carey who put the foot down. Two sixes, four fours, and one single, so he finished up with 29 from 24 balls.

Then Snater came back on and had them both caught in the space of five balls. He ends with 6 for 39, Harmer 3 for 36, and Sam Cook 1 for 11.

2.35pm BST

That Middlesex partnership is up to 73.

2.35pm BST

Somehow Archie Lenham is making runs for Sussex. He’s come in down the order, clubbed a couple of fours, and he’s 13 off 11. Why not?

2.34pm BST

Another one down for Kent, they’re 124 for 7. Jack Leaning is still there, but Jacko, batting at No4 and making 13 off 69 is good when you’re bunkering down with a batting mate against a tough spell, but not so good when your lower order is getting picked off at the other end.

2.32pm BST

He’s on to 57 as Warwickshire press on against Lancs. Hain on 43 approaching fast. Well, not really, strike rate of 40. Approaching like an elderly slow lloris with a sore foot. But, 110 for 2, it’s good.

2.31pm BST

Yorkshire tracking steady though. The People’s Horse, Gary Ballance, on 13, with TCK on 18 at the Rose Bowl. All up, 78 for 2.

2.30pm BST

Northants 117 for 4, chucking away their good start, Matthew Taylor getting into the mix with two wickets. Emilio Gay out for 44, Rob Keogh 18.

2.29pm BST

Jaysus, you blink and you miss it. Harmer is finishing the job on Glamorgan that Snater started. Salter and Timmy van der Gugten are goners. The Cardiff lot are 117 for 8. Dan Douthwaite on 34 is doing the work of 10 men. Literally - his teammates.

2.22pm BST

He’s done a job this morning. It was 10 for 2 when he walked out, and 52 for 4 later. He’s helped add 60 since then, and now has 52 from 107 balls for himself.

Middlesex 112 for 4 now.

2.20pm BST

“Morning Geoff,” wrote Neil Way when it was still the morning. “I am at a not-very-warm Lord’s (midday and the floodlights on) for a game in which I have no vested interest, just thought it would be a nice way to spend the bank holiday. As an Essex fan I would say that being in the second division is a bit deflating - can’t say that there would be all that much of a sense of achievement winning it (or much concern at coming sixth) - I wonder if there’s even a trophy? But i guess it’s not all that different to a mid-table season petering out. A nice member of staff just came to tell me that the bar opens at twelve: they’re a bit friendlier than I remember in my youth. Thanks for the blog, as ever.”

Thanks for the update. What you say about a normal mid-table finish makes sense. I call that an Everton.

2.17pm BST

The other steady, stable, reliable team is... Middlesex. White and Andersson have a fifty partnership now, and they’re 103 for 4. Looks like Sam Connors and Luis Reece are back on for Derbyshire after doing the early damage.

2.15pm BST

I’m told I may have had Dom Sibley batting for Lancashire earlier rather than Warwickshire. Which, if he did, is very sneaky of him. Warwickshire is the batting side, for the avoidance of all doubt. They’re about the only team keeping things kind of chill, with 96 for 2 as Benjamin and Hain approach fifties.

2.11pm BST

Northants 113 for 3 against The Freaks, aka Gloucestershire. Of whom Andrew Benton writes to me wistfully about the format.

“Yes, my team Gloucs missed out on Div 1 on the last day of the first half of the season, so I’d expect them to finish top of Div 2. It should be a bit like the rugby sevens with cup, bowl and plate awards for the different levels. And they need to keep improving, ready for next year.”

2.09pm BST

The below means that Kent is 109 for 6, and in some strife. Parky II has 4 for 28. As they say BTL, GET PARKY ON. It doesn’t matter which one.

2.09pm BST

Oh no. Oh no. Not only does Not That Ollie get out for bugger-all, Darren Stevens has gone for a second-baller. The living monument, the cricketing tardigrade. Today we do not get the Stevo fix that we were craving. Devo, Stevo.

2.06pm BST

A blow for Notts, Sam Northeast out for 34. He put on 53 with Clarke. Now they’re 110 for 3. Brooks with two wickets, Davey one, for Somerset.

2.05pm BST

Sussex battling. Fynn Hudson-Prentice goes for nought. Joe Leach has 3 for 31, the score is 87 for 5.

1.58pm BST

Excitement. Kyle Abbott picks up another Yorkshire wicket, George Hill for 31, and that means that here he comes. The darling of the north. The pearl of Zimbabwe. Gary “I’m not a cricketer, I’m a drunken bastard” Ballance. It’s 67 for 2.

1.54pm BST

Jack Leaning of Kent being joined by Not That Ollie Robinson, after Billings fell just before lunch. They’re 106 for 4.

1.52pm BST

Romeo has sent me through the full detail ECB tables, if you want to get your head around which teams are where.

Click through here.

1.50pm BST

Email in from Matt Winter. “As a Gloucestershire fan I’m struggling to give a monkey’s about the fixtures now. If I was Bracey, say, no one is going to give any value to runs scored in dead fixtures. But if he has a bad trot people will say ‘ah’ and his career may be shot.”

Fair point. Like a run chase of 13, except it lasts for a month.

1.48pm BST

Oli Carter is out just after lunch for Sussex, they’re 71 for 4 now against Worcs.

1.47pm BST

We’re back after lunch. Crisp packets away. Brush the crumbs. Straighten that tie, Henderson. It’s cricket time.

1.12pm BST

Wrap wrap wrap. The lunch scores, starting with Division 1.

As mentioned, Nottinghamshire happy as clams against Somerset, 88 for 2. Warwickshire steady against Lancashire, 77 for 2. Yorkshire similar against Hampshire, 60 for 1.

1.06pm BST

Crawley, Denly, now Billings. I don’t know what it is, but Parkinson II likes knocking over fringe / former England players today. The Leicestershire left-armer bowls Sam Billings for 11, and Kent go to lunch 96 for 4.

1.04pm BST

Let’s try this again... Middlesex have steadied against Derbyshire. They’re 84 for 4. Martin Andersson is 18, helping Robbie White who has been excellent through the carnage with 38.

12.59pm BST

That’s one of the Div 1 matches. The others? Warwickshire similarly building after two early wickets against Lancs. Chris Benjamin on 33, Sam Hain on 36, they’re 77 for 2 at the ground that the Spanish call Trafford Viejo.

And Yorkshire have recovered from losing Lyth to reach a more dour 54 for 1, with George Hill on 25 at a Pujaresque strike rate and Tom Kohler-Cadmore with 13 (that on a pro rata basis is even slower).

12.55pm BST

What about Notts? They’re going along alright, thanks. Lost Slater early and Duckett after a quick start, but Sam Northeast (33) and Joe Clarke (20) have got them to 87 for 2. jack Brooks with the two wickets for Somerset.

12.53pm BST

Salter and Douthwaite are just trying to block out Simon Harmer. See if they can rebuild something for Glamorgan from 58 for 6.

12.46pm BST

Tom Price picks up Luke Procter for 2, caught and bowled, and Northants are quickly 73 for 2.

12.45pm BST

And Crawley is out too. Bowled by Callum Parkinson for that score of an even 50. Then two overs later, Parky II picks up Honest Joe as well! Caught by Ackermann. Kent suddenly 80 for 3 up against the Foxes. (Pretty pleased with myself for remembering the nicknames of teams at this stage. Spent too many hours of my life once trying to work out WTF a seaxe is.)

12.41pm BST

A wicket at Bristol, at last. Vasconcelos goes for 37, caught from the bowling of Tom Price, and the last wicketless innings in this round comes to an end. Northants 72 for 1.

12.39pm BST

Carlson looked good while he lasted. You can see why we like him.



Carlson off the mark with this back foot cut for 4⃣

https://t.co/mOI9naIVBJ#GLAMvESS l #GoGlam pic.twitter.com/LXPYokLD0E

12.38pm BST

Good grief, Shane Snater is on a tear. He’s added two more in no time at all. The Final Word’s Kiran Carlson and the skipper Chris Cooke go. Snater has 4 for 14, and the Glamorgan score is 55 for 5.

Make that 57 for 6, in the time it took to type this post. Because Simon Harmer has just come on, the Essex destroyer, and picked up Hamish Rutherford, who had made more than half the runs with 31 at the top of the order.

12.33pm BST

It may not have gone well for Sibley, but here’s one England player on hiatus who has something to report back to Chris Silverwood. Crawley for Kent has sped to 50 from 69 balls, nice, and he’s the new King of the Runs for today, ahead of Vasconcelos on 37 and Robbie White holding Middlesex together on 33.

12.24pm BST

Fifty partnership up for Northants. Vasconcelos on 30, Gay on 23, they’re 60 for none.

12.16pm BST

A wicket at New Road, Harrison Ward gone cheaply for Sussex. They’re 46-2 and James Coles is next in, being bounced immediately by Adam Finch.

12.08pm BST

Scrap that, Max Holden is out. Sorry, doctor. Make it 52 for 4.

12.04pm BST

Middlesex have put away the defibrillator. Robbie White (25) and Max Holden (13) have steadied it to 52 for 3.

12.00pm BST

And now Billy Root goes for a third-ball duck. Fair enough when your bloody brother keeps showing off every weekend and nobody thinks about you. It’s not fair. Both wickets fall to Shane Snater, who honestly sounds like he should be Australian.

On the plus side, Glamorgan lovers, Hamish Rutherford is now King of the Runs. He has stormed past Honest Joe with 29 on the board so far. There’s an upside to 39 for 3.

11.57am BST

What did I say about Steven Reingold and Bobby Quiney? The Glamorgan man is out on debut for 9. I’m sure it was a glorious 9. A 9 that will ring through the ages.

11.54am BST

Sussex skipper Tom Haines goes for 20, and Notts opener Ben Duckett tips a pint on his innings for 24. That leaves Northants as the only unblemished county: Vasconcelos and Gay have added 41.

11.52am BST

First Yorkshire wicket goes down, Adam Lyth is out. Another former Test opener gone. It sounds like Kyle Abbott could have had about six by now for Hampshire at the Rose Bowl. Doing well to be 18 for 1.

11.50am BST

How’s everyone else going with the Champo / Bob Willis format this season? I thought I understood it a couple of months ago, but then it was like a miracle, I woke up this morning and all understanding of it had been wiped clean. Back in the saddle now, hopefully. But looking at divisions full of teams with different amounts of points while all sitting on zero games... it’s a hard world we live in.

If your team isn’t in Div 1, for instance, would you care much where they finished in Div 2 or 3? Interested in how people perceive it.

11.38am BST

I like watching eight matches that all started at once because I can pretend the players are racing each other. Who is the fastest scorer in the land? Honest Joe Denly, who has pinged off 23 of the best against Leics.

11.36am BST

“Congratulations to Steven Reingold on his CC debut. Best of luck to him,” wrote Romeo Tango below the line. (Yes, I’m converting handles into full names, why not.)

Well, Mr Reingold is out in the middle for Glamorgan already with the early wicket of Lloyd, and is 9 not out. He’s matched Rob Quiney’s Test debut.

11.31am BST

Who’s out? (By the Baja Men.)

David Lloyd for Glammy.

11.28am BST

We regret* to announce that Dom Sibley’s return to county cricket has been brief, in the first instance. He was sent back to find form but instead he’s found that he can’t hit the ball when it’s going on to his pad. Tom Bailey of Lancs has knocked off Sibley after having Yates caught. And there is a bit of a W. B. ponderousness to Sibley’s trudge off.

“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree...”

11.25am BST

It’s faster at this stage to list who hasn’t lost a wicket: Sussex, Yorkshire, and Northants, who are off to a brisk start of 23 in six overs thanks to surely the most Romance-language opening partnership in English cricket history: Ricardo Vasconcelos and Emilio Gay.

11.21am BST

Well, everybody wanted to play First Wicket Sweepstake. The winner was: Kent! Who lost Jordan Cox after five deliveries. Middlesex, though, are trying to claim a technical victory by losing two inside three overs. Stoneman and Robson both gone. Two former Test openers, hey? Is this Stoneman’s first outing since he moved, I ask to people who know these things?

11.13am BST

Now. I know there are some long-term enthusiasts of this blog who get busy below the line, so thanks for allowing me into your domain. I will do my best to accommodate any of your petty regional grievances with other counties, and to remember who Darren Stevens signed for before he signed for someone else back in 1997 and whatnot, but please remember that I’m Australian, and be gentle with me.

11.04am BST

Not Surrey up at Durham, for one. Match cancelled after most of the Surrey lads got bombed out by covid tracing. No long sunny afternoon at the Riverside.

The other eight matches will begin as planned. Let’s do it this way: who has chosen to bat first?

10.59am BST

Alright, geezers. Time a bit of the old you know what. Around the grounds, through the towns, turn the garden gnomes upside down. Know what I mean? You jart me? Tich Freeman. Tich Richmond. Wet pitches and wet bitumen. Sandwiches with all the fixings. Walls full of old history. Wilf Rhodes. Percy Jeeves. A bit of Jim Sims and the ol’ wozzler. The county cricket blog, with all the cricket that’s still fit to consume.

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