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  • Specsavers County Championship 7m

    Div Two reports: Barnard puts Worcestershire in driving seat

    Ed Barnard collected four wickets for second-placed Worcestershire to ensure leaders Notts struggled on an opening day which was marred by rain in Division Two, while Ben Duckett dazzled

    There were limited overs around the grounds, but there was enough time for Worcestershire to trouble Notts in the latter's first innings, while Ben Duckett hit a tremendous 193 before falling.

    Northants 329/5 v Sussex
    Nottinghamshire 188/9 v Worcestershire
    Leicestershire 90/4 v Gloucestershire - play abandoned
    Derbyshire v Glamorgan - no play due to rain
    Durham 61/4 v Kent

    NOTTINGHAMSHIRE v WORCESTERSHIRE

    Ed Barnard scooped four wickets for Worcestershire on a rain-shortened opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

    Barnard finished with four for 68 as Notts reached 188 for nine from the 47.5 overs of play that were possible.

    The home side, three days on from their NatWest T20 Blast triumph at Edgbaston, struggled to come to terms with the moving ball and slid spectacularly from a position of strength at 79 for one, with only Jake Libby and Brendan Taylor reaching 30.

    Worcestershire’s decision to bowl first denied Chris Read the opportunity to toss the coin for one last time at Trent Bridge. The Nottinghamshire skipper will retire at the end of the season and only has two away fixtures to play after this one.

    Notts lost an early wicket under cloudy skies, with Steven Mullaney bowled by Leach for seven, in the third over. Two short stoppages disrupted Nottinghamshire’s progress and then Barnard began to make inroads. Libby nicked on 34 and was picked off by Daryl Mitchell, who reacted to the loose ball that had been spilled by wicketkeeper Ben Cox.

    Cox was more assured to catch further edges from both Cheteshwar Pujara for 28 and Samit Patel for 14. Notts continued to struggle as Riki Wessels was bowled for nought and then Alex Hales clipped to second slip, off Tongue, for 28.

    Read walked out to a standing ovation but only reached 26 before drilling the ball back into the midriff of Tongue.

    Taylor and Brett Hutton tried to rebuild, with a patient partnership of 17, made in exactly 10 overs. Both then fell to successive deliveries.

    Taylor was given out lbw for 33, falling across his stumps to work to leg. Hutton had needed 26 balls to get off the mark but then didn’t face another delivery as Barnard threw down the stumps as Jake Ball called his partner for a chancy single.

    Heavy rain, that had wiped out the entire morning session, then brought a premature halt to proceedings with Notts still a dozen runs short of a first batting point.

    Nottinghamshire's Jake Ball Said: “We managed a little partnership between Brendan Taylor and Brett Hutton at the end there and we saw last week that we are capable of bowling teams out cheaply here." 

    “It’s a good one to play and it’s Ready’s (Chris Read) last home game as well. It has a been a real honour to play with him this long and it’s nice to be out there with him for his last game at home and obviously all the lads want to send him off with a win.”

    LEICESTERSHIRE V GLOUCESTERSHIRE

    Gloucestershire's seamers made early inroads after the visitors chose to bowl first in bowler-friendly conditions on the opening day of their Specsavers county championship match against Leicestershire at the Fischer County Ground.

    Rain meant no play was possible during the morning session, but umpires Jeff Evans and Nigel Cowley decided play could start immediately following lunch, with 72 overs left to be bowled.

    As it turned out only 26.3 overs were possible before the rain returned to end play. With the ball swinging in the cloudy and slightly humid conditions, as well as seaming off the green-tinged pitch, batting was a far from straightforward proposition, as Liam Norwell demonstrated in sending both Leicestershire openers back to the pavilion with just 20 runs on the board.

    First to go was Harry Dearden, the 20-year-old left-hander edging a delivery which left him low to second slip, where Chris Dent held a good low catch, and Michael Carberry quickly followed, edging an in-swinger onto his pad, the ball looping gently to Kieran Noema-Barnett at gully.

    Foxes' captain Mark Cosgrove and Colin Ackermann added 33 for the third wicket before Ackermann tried to force an in-swinging delivery from left-arm seamer Matt Taylor through the off side, and succeeded only in edging a low catch to wicket-keeper Gareth Roderick.
    Ned Eckersley hit one beautifully timed cover drive before he too edged a low catch to Roderick off Josh Shaw, but Cosgrove looked in good touch in going to 38 before the rain set in again.

    Gloucestershire bowler Norwell said: “The pitch is a tad slow, but it nipped around quite a bit to begin with and we did quite nicely.

    We want to play on result pitches, and this looks like one. If we have a good morning tomorrow it could really set the game up

    Mark Cosgrove

    “Getting the openers early was important, and then Matt Taylor and Josh Shaw bowled really nicely. It was swinging nicely too, and it's always frustrating to come off when conditions are in your favour like that, but we haven't bowled many overs and we'll all be fresh tomorrow.”

    Cosgrove said: “It was always going to be tough batting first in those conditions, but I think it will move around all game so if we can up to 250 or even 300, we'll be in a good spot.

    “We want to play on result pitches, and this looks like one. If we have a good morning tomorrow it could really set the game up.”

    NORTHAMPTONSHIRE v SUSSEX

    Ben Duckett rediscovered his best form with an imperious 193 as Northamptonshire dominated the opening day of an important Specsavers County Championship against Sussex at Wantage Road. Having been sent into bat, the home side racked up 329 for 5 in 75 overs.

    Duckett is playing catch-up after a poor first half to the season but here looked somewhere back to the form he showed last season when many attack was totally dominated. This was his third century of the season and they have all come in the last four matches. He also followed his unbeaten 282 against Sussex last season.

    Northants were pleased to have him back after a broken finger kept him out of the defeat at Nottinghamshire. Sussex bowled poorly to him in the first hour, allowing him to settle with runs off his legs. He began to find his fluency and passed fifty in 70 balls with six boundaries.

    He was a little loose trying to drive past extra cover but looked more comfortable pressing through mid-on and also got a trademark late cut away, very much a sign he is seeing the ball well. He survived a run-out opportunity to Angus Robson at point and a mistimed pull fell short of deep-square leg running off the boundary before taking tea 84 not out.

    After the break, another on-drive took him into the 90s before he toe-ended a hook against Chris Jordan over the head of first slip. But a repeat stroke to a ball not as short found the midwicket fence to raise a century in 128 balls.

    Then came a incredible period of cricket as Jofra Archer, the leading wicket-taker in the County Championship, who began a new spell and was promptly taken for 14 in the over by Duckett. Archer was none-too-impressed and offered a few thoughts to the batsman, who responded in the next over with a flick through mid-on and a pull over the bowler’s head for four more. It was gripping stuff and a battle comprehensively won by Duckett.

    He eventually fell just seven short of double century, chipping a catch back to the left-arm spin of Danny Briggs.

    Earlier in the day, Duckett shared an opening stand of 91 with Rob Newton who began brightly with two splendid cover drives off Jordan before being reined in by David Wiese and eventually dragged a length ball into his middle-and-leg stumps playing defensively.

    Alex Wakely fell soon after, losing control of a hook stroke and edging Ollie Robinson to long leg - a careless dismissal for just 10. Richard Levi fell in a similar manner, perhaps even more carelessly so after making 44 including two crashing boundaries through the covers and slapping Briggs over mid-on.

    Levi and Duckett shared a stand of 96 for the fourth wicket before debutant Luke Procter, on loan from Lancashire for the final month of the season, steered Northants to the close with fellow on-loan Lancastrian Simon Kerrigan who arrived as nightwatchman and was lbw to Briggs in the final over of the day.

    DURHAM v KENT

    Four years after leaving Durham, Mitch Claydon returned to haunt his former team-mates as Kent had the better of the 32 overs on day one of the Specsavers County Champsionship match at Chester-le-Street.

    The burly Australian celebrated his 100th first-class appearance by taking two wickets as Durham struggled to 61 for four. Sharp catches by Sean Dickson at second slip gave Claydon both his victims, the first being Keaton Jennings, who had dug in to make 17 from  67 balls.

    Kent dispensed with the toss after rain prevented play until 4pm, but under clearing skies they did not find the assistance they might have anticipated until Claydon's double blow.

    Durham had reached 35 for one in the 24th over, but then lost three in five with Paul Collingwood departing for 11 when he edged an excellent ball from Adam Milne to Sam Billings.

    With Claydon extracting good bounce, Jennings fell to a back-foot shot and two overs later Cameron Steel's edge was held at head height by Dickson.

    After being out to the first ball of the match against Derbyshire last week and falling for 16 in the second innings, Jennings set out his stall to end his lean run.

    But both his fours came off the edge, the first providing the only runs off Milne prior to having fellow Kiwi Tom Latham lbw in his sixth over.

    Latham was off the mark first ball with a square-driven boundary off Darren Stevens, but added only four runs before he was out when half forward looking to turn Milne to leg.

    Stevens got past the bat a few times in an eight-over spell before making way for Claydon, while Calum Haggett was out of luck when Steel survived a sharp chance on five to Joe Denly at third slip.

    Milne returned for a second spell and found some away movement off the pitch. Collingwood, needing 35 at the outset for 1,000 Championship runs, edged through gully when aiming to leg the ball before he was out.

    Durham brought in Mark Wood and James Weighell for injured duo Paul Coughlin and Matthew Potts.

    Graham Clark was recalled at the expense of Jack Burnham and dug in doggedly for the last eight overs to remain unbeaten on six.

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