1) Slow defence of a Championship award goes to Lancashire who have lost both their opening games. Having been easily beaten by Sussex in their opener, many expected them to bounce back against Warwickshire; however despite reducing their opponents to 52-5 in their run chase, it wasn’t enough, meaning Lancashire sit bottom of the County Division One table.
2) Graham Onions will no doubt of impressed the English selectors after taking 10 wickets in the rain affected draw with Middlesex. After losing his England place due to injury, Onions’ brilliant start to the season, 20 wickets at 9.40, has certainly improved his chances of a re-call for the Windies and South Africa test series in the summer. In both innings Onions removed the England captain Andrew Strauss for a second ball duck and 6 respectively, ensuring Strauss’ poor run of form was extended.
3) The game of the County Championship so far surely has to go to the Middlesex and Surrey, which saw the latter fail to chase down 141 to win their opening match. At 101-4 Surrey had looked set to win comfortably; however for the second time in the match they blew a good batting start (having been 85-0 in the first innings before finishing on 222 all out) and Middlesex claimed an unlikely yet extraordinary victory.
4) A combination of injury and wanting to go with 5 bowlers, meant Ravi Bopara missed out on selection for both of the tests vs. Sri Lanka in; however his return for Essex was perfectly timed scoring a brilliant 117 not out. A not out ton is always a good knock, but when you consider his score made up 59% of Essex’s first innings total with only two other Essex batsmen making double figures, makes his score all the more impressive.
5) Ravi Bopara wasn’t the only batter to carry his side in a batting collapse. England’s forgotten wicket-keeper Chris Read scored 104 not out as his Nottingham side were skittled out for just 162 inside 57 overs. Only one batsmen (Steven Mullaney, 10) joined Read in scoring double figures.
6) Warwickshire top Division one having won back-to-back dramatic matches. Despite their top order struggling to score runs (with their top 5 averaging just 19.4 runs per person in their four innings so far this season) a first innings 224 8th wicket partnership between Darren Maddy and Rickie Clarke meant they were only chasing down 70; however another top order failure meant they were 52-5 before William Porterfield and Tim Ambrose edged them home.
7) Like I touched upon above, Warwickshire were struggling in their County Championship Division One match against Lancashire at 81-7; however Maddy and Clarke put on a massive 224 to turn the game on its head. Despite the score line when the duo arrived the both scored at an impressive rate with the number 9 Clarke in particular enjoying his 140, which included 13 boundaries and 3 sixes. The ton from Maddy ended a barren run for the former Leicestershire man who hadn’t scored a ton in a first class game since August 2008.
8) As debuts go, there was no better then Steve Magoffin’s for Sussex in his sides 10 wicket victory against Lancashire. Match figures of 9-55 were good; however his second innings demolition of the Lancashire score card was the match winning spell as the Australian Magoffin took 7-34 from 19.5 overs.
9) In a bowler friendly start to the County Championship, Somerset’s Nick Compton became the first man to hit a double ton in their rain affected draw with Nottinghamshire. In an attempt to force a result, Compton’s second hundred came off from just 81 balls; however his attempts were in vein as the weather meant Notts got away with a draw.
10) The player of the fortnight has to be David Balcombe of Hampshire. 16 wickets from 2 County Championship matches at an average of 9.50 is a brilliant start for the Englishman. Hampshire having set the Division on fire just yet, with a win and a defeat from their opening fixtures; however Balcombe’s 5-33 in the first innings in their last match against Glamorgan gave Hampshire the platform they needed to win the game.