Bob Willis Trophy: England returnees fall cheaply on opening day of second round

Jonny Bairstow playing for Yorkshire

England’s Jonny Bairstow is playing his first red-ball game for Yorkshire since 2018

There was little run-scoring joy for England returnees as all 18 counties began the second round of the inaugural Bob Willis Trophy.

On another sweltering hot day across the country, thoughts of a run-drenched first day were quickly extinguished when 30 wickets fell across the nine games during the first session alone.

That meant some early failures with the bat for some high-profile names.

Chief among them was Jonny Bairstow who made just five on his return to Yorkshire colours against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, while fellow England Test hopeful Dawid Malan could only manage nine as the White Rose found it hard going in the first hour.

Also returning from an international bio-bubble to county duty was Somerset batsman Tom Banton, but he could only muster 18 against Northamptonshire on a day when 21 wickets fell at Wantage Road.

That was a theme which recurred for the most part as ball tended to get the better of bat everywhere – with the notable exception of Worcester.

North Group

While the likes of Bairstow and Malan missed out, round one victors Yorkshire were indebted to one of their younger players for lifting them out of a sticky situation having won the toss and elected to bat against Nottinghamshire.

Jordan Thompson easily surpassed his previous best first-class score and came agonisingly close to a maiden century after hitting 11 fours and four sixes in his 103-ball 98.

Thompson, 23, was last man out as the White Rose recovered to 264 all out before grabbing the wicket of Notts opener Chris Nash to leave the hosts on 13-1 at stumps.

At Grace Road, two winners from the opening round, Leicestershire and Derbyshire went head-to-head.

Derbyshire bowled the hosts out for just 199 after losing the toss, with only Harry Dearden (70) able to settle at the crease as Dustin Melton (4-22) and Luis Reece (3-51) were the pick of the seamers.

Despite losing skipper Billy Godleman cheaply at the start of their reply, Derbyshire progressed to 101-1 as Reece (50 not out) and Wayne Madsen (37 not out) put on an unbroken 92 by the close.

Durham and Lancashire both finished on the wrong end of results in the first round and Durham’s struggles with the bat appeared to continue as they could only muster 180 at Chester-le-Street.

Alex Lees (66) notched another half-century at the top of the order, but support and partnerships were few and far between as the returning Richard Gleeson was the pick of Lancashire’s bowlers with 3-32.

Former Durham man Keaton Jennings (14 not out) and Alex Davies (8 not out) negotiated their way through nine overs unscathed to reach 33-0 in reply.

Central Group

The place to be for seemingly non-stop action on Saturday was Northampton where the match has already moved into its third innings.

Somerset were looking to pick up from where they left off with a convincing opening round win but found themselves on the back foot early on against Northamptonshire.

Last year’s County Championship runners-up suffered a similar batting collapse to those which cost them a title last season as Ben Sanderson took 5-28.

But, like he did against Glamorgan at Taunton last week, Jack Brooks (36) again scored vital runs from number 11 to lift his side from 114-9 to 166 all out.

Just 32 overs later, Northants themselves were skittled out for just 67 as Craig Overton claimed his 300th first-class wicket on his way to 4-12, with Ben Curran (35) the only batsman to make a score of note.

There was still time for another wicket to fall on a buy first day as Tom Lammonby fell for a second-ball duck having only made one in the first innings as Somerset battled to 15-1 by stumps.

While wickets were clattering at Northampton, it was almost the polar opposite at New Road, Worcester.

Brett D’Oliveira’s century for Worcestershire was his eighth in first-class cricket

Worcestershire, opening round victors against Gloucestershire, made a strong start against Glamorgan thanks to a record-breaking partnership between centurions Jake Libby and Brett D’Oliveira.

After coming together at 70-3, Libby (142 not out) and D’Oliveira (123 not out) batted through the rest of the day as they added 239 to close on 309-3.

They have already surpassed a county record fourth-wicket partnership of against Glamorgan on the same ground in 1938 between Harold Gibbons and Sidney Martin.

At Bristol, Warwickshire vindicated their decision to bowl first against Gloucestershire as they made it hard work for the hosts to get away.

Oliver Hannon-Dalby (4-24) and Bears skipper Will Rhodes (3-18) were the pick of the bowlers on a day as Gloucestershire fought their way to 191-8, thanks mainly to opener Ben Charlesworth (51) with a gritty knock off 124 balls.

South Group

It was a day to remember for Sussex wicketkeeper batsman Ben Brown as his unbeaten 90 against Kent saw him pass 7,500 first-class career runs.

Brown will resume in the morning looking to complete a 19th first-class century as Sussex reached 320-9 at Canterbury.

Earlier, Tom Clark (65) put on 87 with Brown for the fourth wicket as Sussex looked to build on their home win against Hampshire in the opening round. Seamer Harry Podmore and spinner Marcus O’Riordan both took three wickets for Kent.

Hampshire’s James Fuller was among the wickets against his old club at Radlett

Middlesex won a London derby win against Surrey in the opening round and will feel very much in the game against Hampshire despite being bowled out for 252 at Radlett.

The hosts were put in on a green-looking wicket and Martin Andersson fell eight short of what would have been a maiden first-class century. His 202-ball stay included 14 fours.

Ryan Stevenson marked his return to the Hampshire bowling unit with 4-71 before the visitors lost Felix Organ and nightwatchman Keith Barker cheaply, both to James Harris, to close on 27-2 in reply.

County champions Essex welcomed Surrey to Chelmsford looking to build on a narrow win against Kent.

Stand-in Surrey captain Mark Stoneman lost the toss under sweltering skies, but would have no doubt been proud of the persistence of his raw bowling attack.

After Sir Alastair Cook made 42, right-hander Feroze Khushi (66) continued his impressive start to the competition with a maiden first-class half-century before wicketkeeper Adam Wheater celebrated being awarded his county cap with 52 off 101 balls.

Wheater fell before the close to Rikki Clarke, caught by returning Sussex loanee Laurie Evans as Essex were made to fight their way to 253-7.

Young seamer James Taylor (2-31) and spinner Amar Virdi (2-65) both picked up some key scalps throughout the day.

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