Just four clubs played throughout Wednesday, as Durham and Somerset were once more affected by the weather as their opening match ended in a draw. Hampshire battled to a nail biting draw against Warwickshire whilst Nottinghamshire beat Surrey to get off to the perfect start.
Rain prevents Durham victory charge
Durham for the second day in succession were left frustrated by the rain as their match ended in a draw against Somerset at the Riverside stadium. Durham were firmly in control of the match having a lead in access of 300 and so to have not been able to press home their advantage and claim the win in the opening match of the season. Their next match is against Middlesex starting on the 24th April at Chester-Le-Street.
Hampshire grind out draw
Warwickshire resumed the final day on 283-6, after losing England man Chris Woakes in the final over last night. They were looking to score quick runs before putting all the pressure onto the hosts in the final two sessions. They added 73 runs before they lost their fall wickets as not out batsmen overnight, Ian Bell to James Tomlinson for a fabulous 174 which set them on their way to a useful score. After losing the whole of the second day to rain the Bears had to make the most of the final day's play.
Hampshire came out to bat knowing they would need to do so for near on two sessions to save the game at the Ageas Bowl. The innings started fairly well as openers Michael Carberry and youngster Tom Alsop survived the passage in the build up to lunch reaching 13-0 at the break. After the break Hampshire lost Carberry early for just 18. Then came a useful partnership between Alsop and the captain James Vince before the former fell for 24. Will Smith and James Vince then both fell in quick succession to apply the pressure onto the hosts. Another useful partnership came between all-rounders Liam Dawson and Sean Ervine as they shared 36 runs for the fifth wicket before Ervine fell for five.
Adam Wheater and Dawson then put on a fabulous stand of for Hampshire to help save the game as the captains agreed to shake hands at 17:55. Wheater finished up on an unbeaten 34 whilst Dawson was also unbeaten on 50. It was a fantastic rear-guard action from Hampshire and in particular Dawson, who has had a strong fast few months after being away with England at the recent T20 World Cup. Hampshire's next match in the County Championship is on Sunday against Headingly against champions Yorkshire. One minor blemish was the news that Reece Topley will be out for six to eight weeks.
Notts claim nervy win
Surrey went into the final day knowing that it would be difficult to avoid defeat in the opening round of games as they began on 297-5, just the 76 runs ahead all be it with Arun Harinath still there on 114.
The day started well for the visitors as through Harinath and Sam Curan looked well set as they added 53 for the sixth wicket as Curan fell to Jake Ball for 28. He was quickly followed by Harinath who fell for a brilliant 137 falling off the bowling of Jackson Bird out caught by Riki Wessels. A further two wickets then fell for just 13 runs as Gareth Batty and Curan both lost their wickets by the LBW method. The last wicket brought upon 23 runs as Ravi Rampaul and Mark Footitt took their side to 389 all out a lead of just 168 which would be needed in two sessions following the break.
The hosts got off to a brilliant start as Steven Mullaney and Greg Smith put on 72 runs for the first wicket before the former fell to Rampaul for a vital run a ball 42. Then came the collapse as Notts lost four wickets for just 15 runs in just three overs as Michael Lumb, Brendon Taylor, Wessels and Patel all fell quickly. Then came an important 36 run partnership between opener Smith and captain Chris Read until the latter was dismissed by Rampaul for a more than useful 22 in the situation. Smith was then removed by Curan with still seventeen runs required meaning a nervy finish.
Brett Hutton and Ball then took the hosts through to victory sharing 20 runs for the eighth wicket as they won by three wickets to get their season off to the ideal start. Many people fancy Nott's to be the team to challenge the impressive Yorkshire in the Championship this season and they have certainly sent their message out early on. Nott's are next in action against Lancashire which starts on Sunday a match which is also to be staged at Trent Bridge.