A concentration of centuries by openers round the grounds: Sibley, Burns, Cook, Dickson, Alsop, Organ. Congratulations all, and see you back here tomorrow. Good night!
As Sam Curran pings Simon Kerrigan for six, with a gentle evening murmur, and Rory Burns nudges towards three figures, I must write up. At New Road, they’re still waiting for you know who.
And with a squeeze into the offside, Sibley brings up his first 100 for Warwickshire since his twin tons against Notts in September 2019. His teammates bang their boots/hands against the dressing room balcony, as Sibley calmly pulls off his helmet and has a sweaty hug with Benjamin. Very nicely done:227 balls, 13 fours.
Watching, waiting, for Sibley to move to his hundred. He’s obstinately refusing to face any bowling.
A hundred for the Organ-grinder, as Hampshire recover nicely from a third over wicket, 225-2. Vince 78 not out, 13 delicious four.
Durham are three down, the next man is ye new England captain Ben Stokes: 230-3, Dickson (104) a second wicket for Barnard, who is having a super spring.
Sibley still has his little knee bend as the bowler approaches, still a fidget between balls, adjusting waistband, trousers and box. He’s looking in no strife, 90 as he deliberately angles one down to the boundary.
Here we go again
Chelmsford: Essex 138-2 v Yorkshire
The Rose Bowl: Hampshire 207-2 v Gloucestershire
Old Trafford: Lancashire 169-4 v Warwickshire
The Oval: Surrey 154-4 v Northants
Sophia Gardens: Glamorgan v Leicestershire 168-2
Hove: Sussex 225-2 v Middlesex
New Road: Worcestershire v Durham 208-2
Tom Alsop pips Ali Orr to three figures on a most fruitful day for Sussex, but, oh, calamity, Orr falls for 99, just before tea. Sussex 225-2.
Round the Division One grounds, what can we see?
Ben Foakes chips Tom Taylor behind for 16; Surrey 139-4. Burns is still there on 73, he and Sibley scoring at almost exactly the same speed. At Old Trafford, Warwicks 166-4, Sibley 76 as he pushes a four down the ground. Hampshire rocking along, 180-2, Organ 80, James Vince 59. Slow and steady from Essex, 138-2, Alastair Cook 62 not out, Walter not out 43.
The ECB’s independent Cricket Discipline Commission Panel has imposed a £50,000 fine on Essex CCC after the club pleaded guilty to two charges in relation to a racist comment made in 2017 at an Essex CCC Executive Board meeting.
Essex have also been cautioned about urther conduct and given a reprimand. £15,000 of the fine is suspended for two years.
Essex were charged with a breach of ECB Directive 3.3 which reads as follows:
“No Participant may conduct themself in a manner or do any act or omission at any time which may be prejudicial to the interests of cricket or which may bring the ECB, the game of cricket or any Cricketer or group of Cricketers into disrepute.”
The charge was in two parts – relating to the comment made at the meeting, and the subsequent failure by Essex CCC to conduct an appropriate, or any, subsequent investigation.
The CDC Panel was chaired by Ricky Needham, alongside Amrisha Parathalingam and Mark Milliken-Smith QC.
A lovely moment at New Road as Ben Gibbon, the 21-year-old left-armer on debut, snares his maiden first-class wicket and that of a Test player too. Keegan Petersen had just brought up his half-century from 116 balls and looked every bit the international on show, playing some lovely crisp drives in the V among his eight fours. But Gibbon teased the error with a ball that angled across the right-hander, might have been left alone but was instead feathered behind. It brings Scott Borthwick to the crease, with Durham 178 for two in the 55th over and Sean Dickson six runs away from a century…
So nice to meet my colleague Will and his dad, who once met John Arlott, who was holding court in a deckchair. Also smashing to hear the Old Trafford roar when Parky bowled Rhodes. Warwicks 145-4, Sibley 68.
Lovely watching Parky, throwing the ball up, testing, testing. I turn the binoculars on him just in time to see him blow his nose in high definition. Excuse me for ten minutes, I’m going to pop down to see my colleague Will from Guardian towers who is here with his dad watching, and who I’ve only eve said hello via G-chat.
Two ex-England openers stating their case today, with Rory Burns joining Dom Sibley, with his first fifty of the season. Surrey, put in to bat, 101-3 – with an overdue shoutout to Luke Procter, who has 3-23 and was on a hat-trick when he dismissed Amla and Jacks in consecutive balls. Foakes has joined Burns at the crease.
And as it was in the beginning… in Parky’s first over, Sam Hain skittles up the wicket, turns a normal ball into full toss and clomps the ball straight to Jones. Warwicks 118-3.
“After a lunch spent walking around the ground and perusing the book sale round the back of the Basil D’Oliveira Stand (there’s premium on the 2015 Wisden, the only edition to have a Worcestershire player on it’s cover) it’s back to watching the South African pair of Sean Dickson and Keegan Petersen continue what has been a promising start for Durham. Dickson brought up his half-century from 89 balls before the break and has moved to 61 with his latest crisp four clipped through mid-wicket, while Petersen, a lovely compact right-hander with sound judgement outside off stump has moved to … and as I type that he’s just squirted four through vacant third slip to reach 25. Durham 115 for one from 35 overs and it’s hard work out there for the bowlers.
A message arrives from Jim Wallace, who made his County Blog debut on Easter Sunday, and brilliantly he did too.
“I see poor Al Davies was bowled shouldering arms. Oh well, plenty of time to put his feet up and have a squint at this:”
And that’s the fifty for Sibley! Nicely done. His highest score since being dropped by England is 57. Warwicks 103-2.
At Essex, Alastair Cook is approaching fifty (83-2); as is Sibley in OT ( 102-2); Azad at Sophia Gardens, (95-1), Alsop at Hove (123-1). Dickson (67) is already there at New Road; Orr 53 at Hove.
There’s a rather good crowd in today at OT, a fair fistful in front of the pavilion and a tasty scattering either side. The ground where the old Red Rose Suite stood has now been largely flattened, with men in florescent jackets giving orders to yellow machines. And an edge disappears through the slips to take Dom Sibley to 49.
it’s muggy in Manchester as Sibley nears his 50. Meanwhile, at New Road, Ali’s gone all romantic
Chelmsford: Essex 63-2 v Yorkshire
The Rose Bowl: Hampshire 70-2 v Gloucestershire
Old Trafford: Lancashire 84-2 v Warwickshire
The Oval: Surrey 73-1 v Northants
Sophia Gardens: Glamorgan v Leicestershire 82-0
Hove: Sussex 90-1 v Middlesex
New Road: Worcestershire v Durham 100-1
Mohammad Amir’s first wicket of the season, I think, a relative failure for Nick Gubbins, lbw for 30. Hampshire 64-2. And with ten minutes to go, Sibley (41) and Yates are steering Warwicks towards sandwiches, 73-2. Oh delicious, a cover drive for four from Sibley.
I’m very happy to see Hassan Azad in the runs, as wooden spoonists Leicestershire show everyone else how to cruise seamlessly towards lunch, 74-0.
Fresh from this year’s county championship –
and a remarkable effort for young Sussex (70-1) to have lost just one wicket with 20 mins till lunch.
Nailed on for Surrey it seems, where Ryan Patel has gone for 19 (48-1).
Star all-rounder update, but this time it’s Ed Barnard with the breakthrough for Worcestershire and an important one too, Alex Lees bowled for 27. England’s incumbent opener already has two centuries this season but just pushed at one outside off stump but heard the ball cannon into middle stump off the inside edge. Smidgeon of swing, perhaps, but a slightly soft dismissal too. The North East’s second-favourite Keegan, Keegan Petersen, is the new man in and Durham are 55 for one after 18 overs.
Thanks to Paul Edwards – Saqib Mahmood is resting, nursing a shoulder injury incurred during the winter. Also removes any awkward meetings with his club-rumoured-to-be.
A second wicket at Old Trafford – and neither of them have gone to Hassan Ali. This time Luke Wood yorks Rob Yares with a corker. Warwicks 35-1.
Relatively calm on the wickets front in the first hour round the grounds. Surrey (26-0), Leicestershire (36-0) and Durham (50!-0) sailing soft warm Caribbean waters. Sussex (37-1) have lost Haines; Warwickshire. just Al Davies on his home return to Old Trafford (33-1); Hampshire’s Holland Higginsed for 2 (46-1) while Cook and Westley rock on at Chelmsford for the loss of only Browne for a duck, 38-1.
Ben update, although not Stokes: Worcestershire have handed a first-class debut to Ben Gibbon, a wiry left-armer who signed for the club at the end of last summer and has impressed in the second team. The 21-year-old was previously working on a construction site while playing club cricket in Cheshire. “It is hard graft, and I’m happy not to have to do it anymore,” he said at the time of signing his professional contract, perhaps not realising how flat the pitches at New Road can be. He has made a bright start but no breakthrough so far, the Durham opening pair of Alex Lees and Sean Dickson moving to 31 for no loss after 10 overs.
A good spot by Gary Naylor at The Oval, which is helping Ryan Patel, who has started the season gorgeously, to inside edge a four off Ben Sanderson. Surrey 25-0.
There will be a new man at the MCC. Stephen Fry takes over the presidency from Clare Connor on October 1 this year. Connor, the first female president, nominated Fry, who gave the MCC spirit of cricket Cowdrey lecture in 2021.
A wicket at Hove, and it’s the in form Tom Haines – he must have been, has he? Yes he has, Shaheened, for 17. Sussex 21-1.
A wicket at the Rose bowl where Ian Holland has fallen for 2, snaffled by Bracey off Higgins. Hampshire 23-1. Whereas Durham are off to a flyer, 26-0, with three boundaries to Alex Lees.
I’m worried for Sibley against Hassan Ali. Al Davies nailed on for a rapid 37 – except as I write that, he’s bowled for one, opting not to play a shot.
Essex win the race for worst start of the round: 0-1 after three balls. Browne the gone man, caught in the slips off Thompson.
Greetings from Worcester, where it’s a lovely sunny spring morning and the mercury could hit 21C this afternoon if the forecast is correct. Durham have travelled down from Winterfell, with the new England Test captain among them as they warm-up in front of the rickety old press box. This will be a first County Championship appearance for Ben Stokes since he played two days last summer and then answered England’s SOS call to captain the ODI team against Pakistan. Before that he made solitary outings in 2018 and 2017. It feels like a day-night match personally, having been woken up at the crack of dawn by the toddler in what has become a regular occurrence of late. Any tips to get her back to 7am starts welcome. Aha, toss time … Scott Borthwick has won it and Durham are batting.
Poor Ollie Pope is missing today’s Surrey game with illness.
Chelmsford: Yorkshire and will bowl.
The Rose Bowl: Hampshire and will bat.
Old Trafford: Warwickshire and will bowl. Keaton Jennings, Luke Wood and Matt Parkinson are in for Lancs, no Jimmy or Saqib.
The Oval: Northants and will bowl. Gus Atkinson, Ben Foakes and Jamie Oveton replace Ollie Pope, Jamie Smith (after a double ton!) and Reece Topley.
Sophia Gardens: Glamorgan and will field. Andy Gorvin makes his first-class debut for Glamorgan.
Hove: Sussex and will bat. Ollie Robinson returns for his first run-out since West Indies, as well as George Garton and Sean Hunt.
New Road: Durham and will bat
I know I’ve written about cricket and extreme heat before, but the current deadly heatwave over south Asia is unprecedented in its intensity and duration, even as the IPL goes ahead. Good to speak to someone on the ground, Disha Shetty, a science journalist based in south Asia, and a reporter for The Fuller Project.
Something for Ben Stokes to mull over while he gazes at Worcester cathedral:
And I forgot to mention, Joe Root gets his first hit of the season since resigning the England captaincy.
Notts (4) 73
Derby (4) 65
Middlesex (3) 59
Glamorgan (4) 51
Durham (4) 42
Worcestershire (3) 40
Sussex (4) 31
Leicestershire (4) 29
Surrey (4) 67
Hampshire (4) 59
Lancashire (3) 58
Yorkshire (3) 51
Essex (4) 43
Northants (3) 38
Warwicks (3) 37
Somerset (4) 33
Gloucestershire (4) 33
Kent (4) 30
Chelmsford: Essex v Yorkshire
The Rose Bowl: Hampshire v Gloucestershire
Old Trafford: Lancashire v Warwickshire
The Oval: Surrey v Northants
Sophia Gardens: Glamorgan v Leicestershire
Hove: Sussex v Middlesex
New Road: Worcestershire v Durham
Good morning! May is flourishing, the hawthorn is in bursting out its britches, and I’d like it to stay like this forever. Five matches into an 18-round season, we’re already nearly a third of the way through.
Since the unveiling of Ben Stokes as England captain last week, he’s been busy. A press conference at The Riverside on Monday, and now he’s playing his first Championship game of the year for Durham, against Worcestershire. Ali has just arrived at New Road and will be sending us regular updates (won’t you Ali).
Elsewhere in Division Two, Glamorgan, fresh from their valiant run-chase, take on bottom-of-the-table Leicestershire; and it looks at pretty uneven contest at Hove where mighty Middlesex charge down minnows Sussex.
It’s champions elect against the reigning champions at Old Trafford, top of the table Surrey v battling Northants at The Oval, Essex host Yorkshire, done out of a probable win by bad light on Sunday, and struggling Gloucestershire at the Rose Bowl.
There are just seven games this week, with Kent, Somerset, Notts and Derby missing out.