Essex 514 & 68/1 drew with Kent 581
Hampshire 428 beat Somerset 180 and 135 by one inning and 113 runs
Northamptonshire 288 & 272/8 drew with Gloucestershire 223 & 363
Warwickshire 531 drew with Surrey 428/8d & 43/0
Glamorgan 234 & 220/5 drew with Durham 383
Leicestershire 213 & 218/9 draw with Worcestershire 348 & 234/5d
Middlesex 401 & 258/5d draw with Derbyshire 304 & 255/5
Sussex 375 & 172/9 lost to Nottinghamshire 534/9d & 14/0 by 10 wickets
The first day of the County Championship, and Sir Alastair Cook marked it with his first-class 70th century. Anyone surprised? Nope? The pitch at Cloud County Ground proved incredibly flat over the four days with only X wickets falling and over 1,000 runs scored. Cook was second of five centurions, Nick Browne hitting the cap ahead of him, the former England captain’s ton in 262 balls.
The other three creators of the century are all at the start of their careers in one way or another. Matt Critchley was Essex’s third on his club debut, and he also returned an impressive X/XX in the absence of pivot Simon Harmer. Ben Compton, on his return to the Championship, this time with Kent after previously being at Nottinghamshire, scored his first class first cent on English soil, before 21-year-old Jordan Cox reached his second century, overtaking 1,000 first-class races. In the process.
ANNIHILATION OF AGEAS
Somerset won by 10 wickets at the Ageas Bowl last season. It was their last Championship victory and on their return to Hampshire, it was their tenth attempt to end the winless run, they were blown away by the hosts’ bowling attack. James Hildreth provided the only resistance in the opening innings, hitting 87 when the next highest score was Roelof van der Merwe’s 28. Fly-half Tom Lammonby batted over three into the game, but Mohammad Abbas was the Hampshire bowlers’ choice, claiming six wickets across innings.
Between the two, it was a magnificent game for Joe Weatherley, whose career-best 168 paved the way for a giant victory.
DRAMA IN NORTHAMPTON
James Bracey started the season with a century, while Ryan Higgins took seven wickets and scored a hundred, but that was not enough for Gloucestershire to force victory against Northamptonshire. Rob Keogh was the hosts’ star, hitting 113 in the first set and 74 in the second as Northants looked to hit a target of 299. Despite a slow start in pursuit, Keogh and Cobb’s acceleration meant, for a while , he’s watching. But Zafar Gohar pulled Cobb out and when Higgins two-balled twice, a tense draw was the result.
RUN FEST IN EDGBASTON
The Warwickshire and Surrey batters had a chance to cash in what was, save 13.2 overs at the end, a one-inning game. Ryan Patel’s first-morning counterattack for 75 set the tone for the game, with 50s for Ollie Pope and Jordan Clark, but it was Ben Foakes who went big with his first hundred in just three days a year . Warwickshire had to recover from 41/4 after Kemar Roach ripped through the first order, but Matt Lamb’s 106 and a gigantic 178 from Michael Burgess staved off any threat of defeat.
LEES CARRIES THE BAT
Fresh off his Caribbean Test debut, Alex Lees returned to Durham and started the 2022 County season in style, carrying his bat for a magnificent 182 pitch at Sophia Gardens. He was accompanied for a while by David Bedingham, whose quick 76 gave the visitors a chance to claim victory with a 149-run lead in the first set. And when Glamorgan collapsed to 66/4, Durham was in the box seat. Kiran Carlson and Chris Cooke provided enough resistance though, adding 94 for the fifth wicket, and the runs were evenly split.
AZAD SHOWS A HUGE FIGHT
Hassan Azad was the flavor of Leicestershire on a biting final day. Set for 370 in 96 overs, a Leicestershire win was never on the cards, not when regular wickets by 18-year-old Dillon Pennington and Josh Baker began to fall. The hosts were down to seven with more than half the day to beat, and yet the lower order clung to the immovable Azad, whose 243-ball hundred was something of a footnote in the whole picture. He and Beuran Hendricks battered for 25.4 overs for the final wicket to deny Worcestershire victory – what a rearguard. They had Ed Pollock, on his club and league debut, to thank for putting them in a potential winning position, his 112 balls from 122 in the third set setting up the thrilling final day.
BALANCED WITH THE LORD
Josh from Caires showed his promise in a spirited draw at Lord’s. The son of Mike Atherton, he stroked a first inning 80, largely partnered by Stevie Eskinazi, who reached 118. Tim Murtagh took his 900th first-class wicket while Shan Masood cashed in his first Derbyshire appearance with a chic 91 in the first innings. A declaration from Middlesex, aided by Robbie White and Max Holden, left a possible positive result for both teams, but neither team was able to cross the line.
NOTTS CRUSH YOUTH SPIRIT
The average age of the Sussex side against Nottinghamshire was just over 22, and despite an impressive opening two days, Nottinghamshire prevailed at the 1st Central County Ground. Tom Clark’s first-class opening hundred gave Sussex a good first-innings tally and then the visitors were down to 52/4.
But Steven Mullaney showed all his experience, smashing his way to a career-best 192, while Joey Evison also topped triple figures for the first time. Liam Patterson-White, who took the first five-wicket shot of the season in the opening leg, took three second leg wickets on the final day as Nottinghamshire forced victory.