Matt Coles... a cracking start to the season
A weekend of tight finishes took place at the Grand National and Edgbaston but first to Lord's, where a green top produced a classic London derby as the boys from the North of the Thames, overcame their South London counterparts by just three runs. Dawid Malan patiently ground his way to 88 out of a first innings total of 256, with help from "The Lambeth Lara", Tim Murtagh. They then kept Surrey down to 222, before Jon Lewis with 5-41skittled the home side out for just 106.
On a fantastic Sunday morning, where the IPL could only dream of the history and rivalry between these two sides, Middlesex grabbed the last six Surrey wickets to snatch a victory out of the jaws of defeat, Murtagh and Roland-Jones doing the damage. Surrey's number 11, Jade Dernbach went for glory trying to hit a boundary but was caught, before first trying to hit his stumps with a bat, and then trying to kick them over in frustration. Fortunately for him, he missed with both!
The Lambeth Lara
In Birmingham, Warwickshire overcame Somerset by just two wickets, as the Cidermen had a torrid first day being bowled out for just 147, Chris Wright with 4-47 for the Bears. The Brummies then got 243, before the in form Nick Compton hit a 133 to see his side to 354. In reply despite an 84 from William Porterfield, the home side were in trouble thanks to Peter Trego taking 4-37, but a quickfire 43 not out from Patel saw them home by a slimmer margin than David Beckham's wife!
At the Emirates ICG, or Chester le Street to you and I, Nottinghamshire went top of the table thanks to yet another hatful of wickets for Andre Adams. I don't think this is the last time I will be writing this, this season. A mere seven for him in this game, with Graham Onions capturing four for the hosts, but the real star of the show on a wicket that was bowler friendly, was Michael Lumb with a fantastic 131.
On a great sporting weekend for Liverpool, with an FA Cup semi final between the City's two teams, and a horse race at Aintree, Lancashire were demolished at Aigburth, thanks to James Anyon with five in the first innings, and Steve Magoffin with seven in the second. However, what was really pleasing for the neutrals was to see Michael Yardy get a century, after his recent troubles. Sussex cantered home by ten wickets.
In Division Two, Derbyshire went top as they beat Glamorgan at the SWALEC. Graeme Wagg with 6-44 in the first innings had the Midlanders in trouble, before the Dragons capitulated to 95 all out. Derby then replied with 197, and on the hundredth anniversary of the sailing of the Titanic, Glamorgan looked to be cruising before hitting the iceberg, losing their last seven wickets for just ten runs, Jonathan Clare with eleven in the match.
Kent are many peoples tips for the Div Two title, and showed why as they gave the shoe making folk of Northampton, a good err, shoeing. The hosts made just 132 in the first knock thanks to three apiece for Charlie Shreck, Matt Coles and Darren Stevens, before Kent responded with 368, thanks to a gritty 128 not out from Michael Powell, which certainly raised a few eyebrows in Cardiff. Coles then continued his great start to the season with 6-51 as Northants showed as much fight as your average Audley Harrison bout, dismissed for 116.
In the last game in the division, Gloucestershire beat Hampshire. Chris Dent's marathon 114 in 271 balls, would have pleased The Middle Stump's fan, Fred Boycott #digin, whilst David Balcombe produced the best figures for the year with 8-71. Simon Katich with 74, and young wicket keeper, Michael Bates with 87, second time around weren't enough to save Hants, as Will Gidman's nine wickets proved too much for them.