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Cricket: The Bob Willis Trophy Begins

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County cricket returns

After a four-month delay for cricket this summer, the newly formed Bob Willis Trophy has arrived and with a bang. In place of regular County Championship action, four-day cricket got back underway this week with counties playing behind closed doors matches split into respective South, Central, and North groups.

 

Central Group

In nine games there was only one drawn match, and it came in the Central group between Warwickshire and Northamptonshire, final day centuries from Northants batsmen Luke Proctor and Adam Rossington the pick of the performances.

Worcestershire are the early Central Group leaders after picking up 22 points from their opening match win over Gloucestershire at Bristol. Brett D’Oliveira’s first innings 91 proving the pivotal innings, backed up by wickets from Joe Leach and Charlie Morris.

Somerset somewhat steamrolled Glamorgan in their 289 run victory. The Overton brothers did the bulk of the damage as they took 14 of the 20 Glamorgan wickets to fall in the match. Jamie Overton taking 5-48 in the Glamorgan second innings to finish with match figures of 7-64, in what might yet prove his final appearance for the county as he heads to Surrey. Glamorgan captain Chris Cooke, was one of the very few positives for the Welsh county with his knock of 82.

 

South Group

Middlesex sit top of the South Group on 22 points after the first round of fixtures, beating Surrey by 190 runs at The Oval with a flurry of late wickets. The hosts’ Surrey looked to be holding on for a draw at 119-5, however, they lost their last five wickets for just four runs in the space of 44 balls, nobody in the bottom five reaching double figures. A sublime first innings 192 from Middlesex’s Nick Gubbins setting his side up for the win.

Essex are just behind in second on 21 points, winning their nail-biting affair with Kent by two wickets. Kent batsman Heino Kuhn made 140 in the first innings, however, it was Sir Alastair Cook’s 66 on the final day which helped see his side over the line.

 

North Group

Leicestershire scored at almost 10 an over for the final two hours of their match with Lancashire to get home with just eight balls left in the day at New Road. Experienced Lancashire batsman Steven Croft’s unbeaten 52 held up the Foxes earlier in the day, but when Lancs were dismissed for 236, it left Leicestershire a T20-style victory target of 150 in 17 overs. It was Foxes captain Colin Ackermann who fired his side to victory with a showstopping 73 off just 41 balls. Ackermann’s 94 in the Leicester first innings was also a big part of the win.

Derbyshire moved to just a point behind Leicestershire in second after recording their biggest ever run chase to beat neighbours Nottinghamshire. Fynn Hudson-Prentice finished the day on 91 not out, as Derby ended the day on 365-7 to win by three wickets after captain Billy Godleman’s 86.

Yorkshire survived a rain delay to complete their 19-point victory over Durham to win by six wickets. Needing just 68 to win, it took only 10.4 overs to reach the total for the loss of only former England batsman Dawid Malan. Harry Brook with 66 not out including four sixes to see the White Rose county home.

The next round of fixtures for the Bob Willis Trophy begins on Saturday with Essex v Surrey at Chelmsford perhaps the pick of the bunch.

 

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Reignited my passion for writing following a change of career path after a 6 month spell in Australia. Passionate about all sports, cricket and football in particular. Avid Liverpool Football Club fan and non-league football watcher.

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