County Championship wrap: Sussex comfortably beat Yorkshire
County Championship wrap: Ryan Bailey takes a look at the first round of matches which saw Sussex comfortably beat Yorkshire
In an attempt to reduce the amount of weather-affected games during the opening weeks of the county cricket season, the ECB decided to put back the start of the LV County Championship this year.
But it seems their efforts have been in vain as the rain and seemingly endless winter had a major impact on the opening round of games.
The 2012 season broke all records as hundreds of hours of four-day cricket were lost and the new campaign seems to be carrying on in a similar fashion with four of the eight games severely affected by the heavy rain which has swept the country in recent days.
However, the damp weather didn’t prevent Sussex, Middlesex and Durham all opening their Division One campaigns with impressive victories.
Sussex comfortably beat newly promoted Yorkshire at Headingley by an innings and 12 runs thanks to a dominant all-round display by the Hove side.
The signs were ominous for the White Rose when they were dismissed for 96 on the opening day before a 120 run partnership between skipper Ed Joyce (92) and Ben Brown (93) gave the visitors a first innings lead of 160.
The Tykes batted improved with the willow second time around but five wickets for Steve Magoffin saw Sussex wrap up a comfortable victory before lunch on Day Four.
Nottinghamshire have been tipped by many to challenge for the title come September but they were outplayed by a talented Middlesex side at Trent Bridge, with the visitors strolling to a 10-wicket victory on day four.
Having established a first-innings lead of seventy-five, Neil Dexter took five wickets to help bowl Notts out for 182 and set a victory target of just 108, with captain Chris Rogers (51*) and Sam Robson (55*) guiding their side home.
Durham took eight wickets for just 90 runs on the final day to stun Somerset and pick up an impressive victory against one of the Championship favourites.
In bowler friendly conditions throughout, wickets tumbled on all four days as Somerset began the final day on 96 for two and with strong hopes of victory as they chased a target of 235.
Craig Kieswetter hit 72 but once James Hildreth went for 27, no-one could stay with the England wicket-keeper as Graham Onions and Ben Stokes picked up three wickets a piece.
County champions Warwickshire had to settle for a draw against newly-promoted Derbyshire at Edgbaston as more than 200 overs were lost.
The Bears were 201-4 in reply to the visitors total of 226 before the game was abandoned as a draw at tea on day four.
In Division Two, Northamptonshire were forced to settle for a share of the spoils against Glamorgan despite heading into the final day in a winning position.
Having batted themselves into a healthy first innings lead, Stephen Peters’ side had Glamorgan at 96-4, still sixty-two runs behind but bad light and then rain saved the Welsh county as the final day was washed out.
It was a similar story at the Ageas Bowl as heavy rain washed out the last day of the opening fixture between Hampshire and Leicestershire with the home side in a strong position.
James Vince’s century had put Hants in a winning position with the Foxes still 129 runs in arrears with just five second innings wickets in hand.
However, Leicestershire batsman Ned Eckersley was denied his maiden first-class century as he was left stranded on 99*.
Lancashire’s slim hopes of victory over Worcestershire at Old Trafford were thwarted by fourth-day rain.
Ex-international duo Ashwell Prince (95) and Simon Katich (84) had helped the Red Rose gain a first-innings lead of 114 by underpinning a score of 448-7 declared before the Pears were reduced to 26-1 in their second innings.
But rain arrived for the third day running, meaning Lancashire had to settle for a draw.
In a contest ruined by rain, Essex inevitably drew with Gloucestershire at Chelmsford. In total, 156 overs were lost because of rain and bad light.