The first moments of the inaugural day of the Bob Willis Trophy were marked by the players standing in socially-distanced silence to remember lives lost during pandemic; before they moved into position on the field and, alongside the umpires, took the knee.
At Trent Bridge, Haseeb Hameed, who left the red rose of Lancashire behind after joining Nottinghamshire over the winter, delighted those watching (virtually) with a fifty on debut. There is much affection for Hameed who first played for England at 19 and looked the business until injury hit and form deserted him – Trent Bridge is a fresh start.
Just popping back to say, thanks all - it’s good to be back. Brilliant sunshine now at Trent Bridge as Trego accelerates in from the Pavilion end for the last few balls of the day, empty white bucket seats watching in friendly-enough silence. The day belongs to Hass and Olly Stone and Heino Kuhn and Nick Gubbins. See you tomorrow!
Lancashire closed out the day 265-6 against Leicestershire. Heino Kuhn is unbeaten on 140 as Essex finished at 344-6 against Kent. Gloucestershire are 246-8 v Worcestershire. Middlesex close the first day on 264-4 at Surrey, with Nick Gubbins bringing up his 150.
Full roundup to follow.
Somerset are all out for 296 against Glamorgan, while Lancashire’s Steven Croft is out lbw to Leicestershire skipper Colin Ackermann. Lancs are 258-6.
Durham make a breakthrough as they defend their paltry 103 against Yorskshire, for whom Adam Lyth is out to Chris Rushworth with the score at 32-1.
Samit Patel has made a 59-ball half-century for Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in their match with Derbyshire. Notts have passed 250 for the loss of seven wickets.
“Glad to see county cricket back; soon, people will be mourning its imminent yet elusive death again,” says Abhijato Sensarma. “Glad to see Hameed score a half-century; soon, he might fall into the relative unknown with a drought of runs again. And glad to see inexplicable collapses and admirable innings on the first day itself; soon, they’ll just be another entry into the annals of cricket, yet significant because of its circumstances. But if there’s only one constant through it all, it’s Darren Stevens!”
Lancashire have passed 250 for the loss of five wickets as Croft looks to dominate the attack, while Balderson finds his way in first class cricket.
Somerset No 11 Jack Brooks has moved onto 45 not out. The bowler has put on 67 with Davies for the final wicket thus far.
Durham are all out for after Yorkshire’s Coad removed Potts and Rushworth in quick succession, leaving Harte not out on 33 at the other end.
Croft has now passed 50 for Lancashire. He was playing second fiddle to Vilas before but is now the main man in the partnership with Balderson on debut. Croft is now into his 16th season as a first class cricketer, so should know what he is doing.
Hampshire have enjoyed a solid start in response to Sussex’s 176. Organ and Weatherly have an unbroken partnership of 22 from seven overs. They will be hoping for a lead from the first innings.
I said Vilas and Croft were having no issues against Leicestershire and then the South African nicks off to Azad in a second slip position for 90, leaving Lancashire on 227-5. Balderson is now in for Lancashire on his first class debut.
There was an incredibly catch from Ian Bell in the slip cordon earlier.
Ian Bell pic.twitter.com/cBWzhKcSPP
Croft gets onto his front foot to pull Taylor for an arrowed four to the boundary. Leicestershire are not troubling this Lancashire pairing who have put on 129 for the fifth wicket.
Some big chat in the live stream comments on YouTube where Lancashire fans are mocking the fact the Yorkshire stream only has 34 viewers. It’s great to have county cricket back.
Durham have made it to 100, mainly thanks to Harte’s 32 not out, only the second batsman to reach double figures in the lineup. He might need to add a few more to make a game of it against Yorkshire. Durham still have two wickets remaining.
Despite the very long break, Vilas has come in today looking like he has scored centuries every day of the last month. The South African has moved onto 88 not out, having arrived at the crease with Lancashire on 97-4 - they now have 213 for the loss of no further wickets. Croft is batting very well with him, too.
Good afternoon! Unlike Tanya, I do not get to enjoy the Trent Bridge press box, instead I am watching Lancashire against Leicestershire mainly but I will keep across everything else.
The squall seems to have passed here at Trent Bridge but the groundsmen are currently brushing damp covers, so it will be a while. I’m going to write the round-up now, so handing over to Will Unwin to tide you over till the close and document Durham’s magnificent fight back from 86-8.
A Middlesex hundred? You saw it here - well played Nick Gubbins, 102 not out.
It’s chucking it down at Trent Bridge, the groundsmen attempting to unroll some unwilling and very heavy covers; while the first century of the Bob Willis Trophy goes to Heino Kuhn! It is also his first red-ball hundred for Kent.
Edgbaston: Warwickshire v Northants NORTHANTS 142 All Out (Stone 4-39)
Notts lose another - 192 for seven - as the clouds draw in from the river end and the Notts flag with a new crest flaps above the pavilion.
Alas. When I was talking about the worst batting performance of the day, I had taken my eye off Durham who, despite the rain delay, have lost six wickets for 74.
Kent have passed 200 in the safe hands of Darren Stevens, Kent’s spring of eternal youth. I loved this quote, from June.
I don’t want to finish. It’s not just my mind that doesn’t want to finish – neither does my body. I’m not ready. I’m as fit and as light as I’ve been in 10 years. The weight is flying off me. I feel like I’m at the start of my career again but with all this knowledge – and my body and mind are fresh. Whenever it might be, whether that is this summer or next year, I’m 100% ready to get going. There’s still plenty left in the tank.
Related: Darren Stevens: 'If I never played cricket again I'd feel robbed'
Samit has just run three - Notts, 170-6. In other news, Sussex and Northants are still rivals for the worst batting performance of the day - Garton and Carson have carried Sussex to 134-7; Procter and Sanderson have inched Northants to an almost respectable 140-8 from the depths of 91-8.
If you want to keep half an eye (just half an eye, mind) on England v Ireland , Adam Collins is at the Ageas Bowl where James Vince has just taken a wicket.
Related: England v Ireland: second one-day international – live!
Durham have lost their fourth wicket, Bedingham the third batsman to fall in single figures and oh and no! Hameed lbw to Reece for 68 despite a big stride forward. He slow-steps back, but that was encouraging. A double century at the beginning of last season against the students was representative of nothing in his subsequent year. Let’s hope this 68 - a little slow and scratchy to start, moving to confident and flowing later - leads to more fruitful times.
And, there goes ANOTHER! Mullaney for 6 - and ANOTHER Trego for 1. Well, of all things, can it be really? Yes! No! Ho! Hi! Oh, my eye! My mind may be wandering, but I confess. I believe it is a Notts-up.
“Super hot in my little village nestling in the hills of Southern Piedmont, trills Finbar Anslow, “and am seriously considering a second plunge into the river. Was just wondering about Somerset’s deducted points from last season....... Will they be deducted now, or next year? Couldn’t we just quietly forget about them?”
Finbar, how delicious that river sounds. Somerset’s points will stay on the books for now and be deducted next year.
Around the grounds: Durham are in the dumper at 40-3 after the rain break; Lancs in the sink at 109-4, three wickets for Dieter Klein; as are Somerset at 107-4 and oh dear god Northants - 91-7, four now for Stone.
Here at Trent Bridge, Michael Cohen, Derbyshire’s South African fast bowler, runs in from within spitting distance of the press box. He’s swift.
A most quotable quote from Lauren Willis, Bob’s widow, in Alyson Rudd’s piece in today’s Times. “The County Championship is the most unsexy competition in sporting history. It needs to be sexed up. If the tournament is a success they may reconsider the format. As hard as Bob tried, he couldn’t do it, but these extraordinary times might have done it instead.”
With an extra-cover drive just for CCLive.
Every six overs the fielders decamp to the boundary en masse - but for what? To sanitise their hands of course.
Ben Duckett goes for a quick-fire 9, and Joe Clarke, who has scored a century in his last four innings at Trent Bridge, joins Hameed, still on 49. A first first-class wicket for young Atichson.
Olly Stone (3-25) steaming in at Warwickshire where Northants are in a spot of trouble at 72-5
Raw pace at Edgbaston @OllyStone2 has looked rapid this morning#BobWillisTrophy pic.twitter.com/Xc9U9jewQT
A bit slow off the mark on this but Jamie Overton, the younger of the Somerset’s identical twins, is moving to Surrey at the end of the season on a three-year deal. This feels a bit like a move to Manchester City - more money and glamour in return for more time on the bench?
A post-prandial breakthrough! Chris Nash lbw for 59 to the last ball of the first over after lunch. Now, we see if this is dismal 2019 Notts or new sparkling-2020 Notts.
Edgbaston: Warwickshire v Northants NORTHANTS 68-3
And that’s lunch: Notts 109-0, the sun still shining Hass not out 45, only one rain delay across the country and everything in the garden is rosy. Lunchtime scores to follow.
Haseeb cover drives for four, beautifully, head over knee (rather than last year’s arse over elbow) to bring up the Notts century partnership for the first wicket; at Chelmsford Ollie Robinson and Heino Kuhn have done the same. Kent 124-3.
REPLAY | @HaseebHameed97 crowns a fine morning's work, finding the boundary to bring up the hundred partnership.Watch #NottsvDerbys live https://t.co/P6InpfOSjb pic.twitter.com/wNjWbV7f9u
“I tried to sum up my disappointment with Sky Sports that they’re not showing any live cricket from the counties over the next few days and are instead showing repeats of previous tours alongside the highlights from the 2017 Blast, but ran out of characters,” thunders Tom VDG.
“With fans unable to attend matches, as well as the need to grow the awareness of the game, it’s quite poor that none of it is being aired when their air time is being filled with repeats. Allowing people to watch regional live cricket could light the blue touchpaper for some people starved of live sport and encourage them to attend local matches in the future.”“Even if it was shown on the free taster channel they offer, it would be something. Instead, it remains marginalised and forgotten by all apart from the die-hard fans. I know the ECV have provided Youtube streams in the past, but it’s not the same.”
“Morning Tanya,” Morning David Horn! “Oh, afternoon, actually but county cricket can do that to you. If there’s one thing I’d dearly like to see this late summer, it’s a boatfull of runs for Haseeb Hameed. I don’t really mind if he never plays for England again, although that would be lovely, it would just be great to see the young man enjoying his talent again.”
A lot of love being sent Hameed’s way this season, as he has a feral swing at Aitchison but fails to make contact.
With just less than half an hour to go till lunch, Chris Nash pulls Conners to the boundary and grabs the first fifty of the Bob Willis Trophy! Some swishing outside off stump, but plenty more swashbuckle - six fours and a six and an unbroken partnership of 92 with Hameed (34).
I’ve relaxed into not watching Hass’ every ball. Is that bad?
A lyrical email from John Mearns on Minor Counties cricket, prompted by the new book The Wicket Men by Tony Hannan, mentioned in last week’s Spin.
An early lunch taken at Chester-le-Street. Not one of these I’d wager:
It's a scorcher today, so here's your summer reminder of Britons' top 5 favourite ice lollies:1. Magnum - 28%2. Fab - 8%3. Solero - 8%4. Twister - 7%5. Feast - 6%https://t.co/CuoP3mLTjU pic.twitter.com/CxHEmbFuPV
Drinks have been taken here at Trent Bridge where Notts have eased along to 55 for 0 - a vast improvement on last year, though plenty of time for that mid-innings collapse muscle-flexing to be used this afternoon.
Elsewhere: it is still hosing down at Chester-le-Street Durham (12-0), Lancashire (43-1) have recovered from that hapless start; a wicket for Josh Tongue at Bristol where Gloucestershire are 32-1; Somerset opener Edward Byrom bowled by Graham Wagg for 22 (38-1). Disappointment for Ben Curran and Emilio Gay, Northants 22-2 against Warwickshire; a mini-recovery by (wicketkeeper) Ollie Robinson and Heino Kuhn at Chelmsford (Kent 68-3); just the one wicket at The Oval, Middlesex 46-1; and Phil Salt digging in at Hove with Sussex 50-1 against Hampshire.
It’s August 1 and the first day of the season, so they’re off for rain at Chester-le-Street with Durham 12 for 1.
At the London derby between two sides who under-achieved last season, Surrey are on top. They claim this (Sam Robson) actually as the first wicket of the Bob Willis Trophy, and who am I to argue ? Middlesex hope for better things under a new captain, Eskinazi, and a new vice-captain, Toby Roland Jones - who didn’t make the final XI today. May the cricketing gods bring him many wickets, further international honours cruelly taken away by injury.
Starting the day right Rikki Clarke & Jamie Smith on top form from the off.WATCH ➡️ https://t.co/BOckhzyApa pic.twitter.com/fTnHAXIO2E
That first wicket of the season did you say?
Explosive start from @TomTaylor43! He pins Keaton Jennings LBW with just his fourth ball of the season!LAN 1-5 #runningfoxes pic.twitter.com/vlo99Yenba
Oh dear Kent. Daniel Bell Drummond, Jordan Cox and Jack Leaning all out in the first half hour of the day. One for Jamie Porter, two for Sam Cook as the County Champions stretch into their cricket boots and find they fit very nicely indeed.
I really, really honestly don’t want to rub it in but I can’t tell you what a treat it is to see cricket in real life rather than on the telly; you are able to get distracted by watch what you want to see rather than what the TV boss has in mind, eg the umpires trundling from square leg to behind the stumps between overs, the players slumping into position, chewing the cud, in the slips, the (slightly worrying) blanket of cloud blow sideway across the ground, the idiosyncrasies of Conners’ run up.
Hass elegantly leaves as I type, seems slightly concerned about his foot movement and is walking out towards square leg after each ball.
A coffee break read:
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Hameed survives his first ball; up at Old Trafford Keaton Jennings lasts 7, lbw for 5, but at least gains the distinction of being the first wicket of the season.
Strangely moving, as a group of players stand in silence to an empty stadium. The Derbyshire players, Nash and Hameed then move into position, while Notts stay standing in their socially distanced line, and then everyone takes the knee.
Conners is thrown the ball, runs in from the Radcliffe Road end, and we’re off!
Ah, just been made aware that before each game the players will stage a minute’s silence in memory of those affected by Covid-19 and then all players and officials will take the knee.
Through a temperature check at Trent Bridge to the press box, a queasy-green outfield, blueish skies and the news that Derbyshire have won the toss and will field. An early test of CCLive! nerve: the man opening the batting for Notts alongside Chris Nash is Haseeb Hameed.
Some pitches for your delectation – at Chelmsford and then Chester le Street.
Its been scorchio the day before the first 4 dayer this season.The month of practice has gone well, the @EssexCricket team look up for it! Just put it to bed for the night too hot to cover this arvoOutfield dry as a nuns and getting a bit crunchy underfoot! #hotterthanIndia pic.twitter.com/N5vDEGF36j
All set and ready for the first 4day game starting tomorrow against Yorkshire. Pretty happy with my first set of practice wickets of this season. And it will be Nice to see some cricket again tomorrow! @DurhamCricket pic.twitter.com/EYs1SMSBcT
Related: Bob Willis Trophy: county cricket returns with new rules and no fans | Tanya Aldred
To this the first round of five of the new and one-off Bob Willis Trophy, remembering the man and all his magnificent eccentricities in a new world that was impossible to envisage as Essex lifted the County Championship trophy at Taunton that almost-pulsating afternoon last September. Here’s hoping it is as unexpected, quietly wise and capable of moments of inspired high-drama as he was.Continue reading...