Apr 202014

Hampshire 231 for 5 (Smith 70) vs DerbyshireScorecard

Will Smith portrait, 2014Will Smith showed the qualities that made Hampshire snap him up © Getty Images

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Players/Officials: Will Smith
Matches: Derbyshire v Hampshire at Derby
Series/Tournaments: LV= County Championship Division Two | England Domestic Season
Teams: Derbyshire | England | Hampshire

‘Will Smith is dead’ is one of the great hoaxes of the Internet. He has been misreported to have died in surgery in the United States and in a fall in New Zealand. There is barely a Twitter hoaxer alive who does not wake up one morning and think “Today, I will tell the world that Will Smith is dead.” There are even hoaxes that there have been hoaxes. Such are the trappings of fame.

Will Smith, the Hampshire version, shares a name with the American actor if not a bank balance. As he possesses a quieter intelligence, that is not likely to change. But if he was not reported dead at the end of last season, he was certainly presumed to be ailing. Durham had won the Championship but Smith, a former captain just the wrong side of 30, was judged surplus to requirements at the end of the season.

When Hampshire gave him a two-year contract, only a few days elapsed before he was asked if he wanted to be captain again. He said he did not, although all it will take is a crisis for him to be reconsidered.

He wanted to make his mark as a batsman, to improve his status late in his career, and his judicious 70 on a breezy and largely chilly Easter Day at Derby represented a solid start. It was not the sort of statement to attract an Internet hoaxer, in fact it will not always have held the attention of the Derbyshire faithful as they stared at the slate-grey skies for hope of light relief, and a hat-trick from nowhere, or Wes Durston, but it was the sort of innings to gain dressing room respect.

According to the Second Division table, which is still not as much embryonic as a gleam in the eye, this was top vs bottom: Hampshire lie top on accounts of having played two matches and winning one of them thanks in part to a hundred by Michael Carberry against Gloucestershire; Derbyshire are bottom, outdone by Alastair Cook at Chelmsford after routing Essex for a two-figure score in the first innings.

But in reality this is an important early-season joust between two likely promotion contenders, making it the sort of match on which to munch a sausage bap and contemplate the meaning of life, an appropriate Easter pursuit.

Derbyshire bowled wastefully in the morning, although that impression is also heightened by Carberry, who is an excellent leaver. He played well for 45 before leaving a little grumpily when Tony Palladino, in his first over against the breeze, had him lbw. “That’ll tarnish your England chances,” came a cry from the outer. It is best not to pause on an lbw at Derby: it deserves to be recognised as the ground where five-second bursts of spleen are always possible.

Adams’ inconsequential affair ended when he edged Mark Turner, the loosest of Derbyshire’s attack, to the keeper, before the afternoon gave way to an earnest battle between Smith and the Derbyshire seamers, a colourless landscape lit up by floodlights for much of the day. It was the sort of contest where you dreaded Iain O’Brien, the former New Zealand bowler, who was commentating for the BBC, inviting you to offer technical analysis from a press box square of the wicket and someway distant from the action.

In the Derbyshire club bookshop, a mid-afternoon refuge, there was an air of excitement at the sudden arrival of as many as 42 second-hand copies of The Harold Rhodes Affair – Rhodes’ own story of one of the great throwing storms in cricket history.

Rhodes, who has never entirely forgiven the events of half a century ago, was eventually judged to have had a hyper-extending arm but his England career was ruined. He would doubtless be judged innocent these days after extensive technological analysis judged his action to be within the 15-degree limit.

Quite why so many copies have suddenly become available was not made clear. Maybe Rhodes has cleared out his garage, always the sort of thing you attempt around Easter, unless you come to Derby, grab an extra layer of clothing out of the boot at lunchtime, and set your face into the wind to watch Will Smith prove that his heart if still beating.

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Apr 202014
Payne leaves Glamorgan in tatters

Glamorgan 47 for 6 (Payne 3-14) v Gloucestershire

David Payne

David Payne enjoyed a profitable day before the rain arrived © Getty Images

David Payne was left frustrated as Glamorgan slumped to 47 for six on the first day of their LV= County Championship Division Two clash with Gloucestershire in Cardiff before rain washed out more than two sessions.

Payne, the left-armer, was left waiting to bowl his hat-trick ball after he claimed the scalps of Murray Goodwin and Mark Wallace with the final two deliveries before the weather brought a halt to proceedings in the 20th over.

He left the pitch with figures of 3 for 14 from 4.4 overs having also claimed the wicket of Jacques Rudolph as the home side collapsed after being put in.

Glamorgan’s innings got off to the worst possible start when Gareth Rees was caught behind by Cameron Herring off the bowling of Will Gidman with the first ball of the day and it could have been worse when Stewart Walters was dropped off the second ball of the game.

However, Gidman then trapped Walters lbw for 4 as the home side fell to 18 for 2 in the fifth over. Things then went from bad to worse as a diving catch by Gloucestershire captain Michael Klinger off the bowling of Matt Taylor removed opener William Bragg for 25 to leave Glamorgan reeling on 33 for 3.

Rudolph was next to fall with only three more runs added when Payne bowled him out for a painstaking 4 from 37 balls to leave the hosts four down after 16 overs. That left Goodwin and Jim Allenby at the crease, but not for long, as the former was caught at slip by Alex Gidman off the bowling of Payne.

Payne struck again with his next ball to send Glamorgan captain Wallace packing – for his second golden duck of the Championship season – but before he could bowl his hat-trick ball the players were taken off for rain.

The break could not have come sooner for the Welsh side, who were glad to get back to the safety of the pavilion. A pitch inspection was set for 2pm but the rain continued to fall, with an early tea then taken with a further inspection scheduled for 3.15.

Play was then set to resume at 4.10 with 43 overs scheduled to be played, but bad light and rain just before the resumption caused a further delay and the umpires eventually decided no more play would be possible shortly after 5.45 leaving Payne to wait overnight for his hat-trick chance.

Apr 142014
Robson impresses with Lord's ton

Sam Robson hit a majestic, unbeaten 144 as Middlesex took control of their LV= County Championship Division One match against Nottinghamshire.

Australia-born Robson racked up 19 fours in his 278-ball innings as he spent nearly six hours at the Lord’s crease on day two at Edgbaston.

England paceman Steven continued his fine start to the season by removing Andy Carter in the fourth over of the day and end with figures of 5-91.

Eoin Morgan posted 86 in a 203-run stand with Robson Middlesex made the visitors toil on a lovely day in the capital.

The hosts closed on 296 for four, trailing by 30, in response to Nottinghamshire’s 326.

After struggling in the championship opener against Sussex, Robson quickly returned to form, with Morgan posting his first meaningful score of the season to boot.

Middlesex slumped to defeat by an innings and 127 runs at Sussex to start their season in poor fashion.

Now Robson and Morgan have handed Angus Fraser’s side the platform to bounce back at the first opportunity.

Notts resumed on 315 for eight but Carter was soon edged to Dawid Malan in the slips to complete Finn’s five-wicket haul and Tim Murtagh wrapped up the innings when Luke Fletcher holed out to Chris Rogers at long-off.

Rogers, who suggested at the weekend that he may retire after next summer’s Ashes series, was the first to fall in reply for as Samit Patel claimed a catch at third slip off the bowling of Fletcher.

And when Fletcher had his second wicket four balls later, Malan edging behind without troubling the scorers, Middlesex found themselves at 19 for two.

But that brought Robson and Morgan together and they set about building their magnificent partnership that lasted throughout the afternoon session.

Their stand was eventually ended when Harry Gurney got the latter to bring a diving catch from Chris Read behind the stumps.

Adam Rossington added eight before he was trapped leg before by Carter, with Middlesex at 237 for four.

Fletcher and Patel then managed to pin down new batsman John Simpson and Robson with a miserly spell, only for the duo to see out the day with an unbeaten partnership of 59.

Apr 092014
Thomas hits back as Somerset toil with the bat
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SOMERSET fought back to restrict Leeds/Bradford MCCU to 142-9 – after being dismissed for only 192 on day two of their three-day university match at Taunton.

Somerset had resumed on 16-0 after only six overs had been possible on day one – but slumped to 126-9. Only a last-wicket stand of 66 between Jamie Overton (33) and Alfonso Thomas (32 not out), pictured, restored any semblance of respectability for the LV= County Championship Division One side in their final warm-up game ahead of the new season.

Left-arm medium pacer Alex Lilley – who went into the match with only one previous first-class appearance, and no wickets, to his name – took 5-41 from 15 overs, including the scalps of James Hildreth (30) and Craig Kieswetter (nought), as Somerset toiled.

Marcus Trescothick (12) was caught behind down the leg side off Zafir Patel, while fellow opener Chris Jones was bowled by Ivan Thomas for 14. Nick Compton and Hildreth appeared to have steadied the ship, before the latter was caught behind off Lilley. Kieswetter soon followed, trapped lbw for a duck.

Johann Myburgh was caught at gully off Lilley for nine, before Compton was bowled by Thomas for 27. Lewis Gregory (15) and Craig Meschede (2) were both leg-before victims to deliveries from Lilley that straightened, while Craig Overton fell to Thomas (3-39) for a duck.

Only Overton’s twin, Jamie, batting at No 11, and Thomas restored any credibility, before Overton was lbw to William Vanderspar.

The students moved easily to 52-1 but then Thomas, the pick of the Somerset bowlers, got to work ending the day with figures of 4-64 from 11 overs. He had earlier sent opener Charlie Roebuck to the pavilion before taking the wickets of Charlie Macleado, Harry Rouse and Patel.

Leeds/Bradford will resume today, 50 runs behind.

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