posted by John Winn
Tony's account of the thrilling National KO match he saw on Sunday made me realise that I had been remiss in not drawing the attention of our readers to the start of the 2017 competition. Too busy fuming over Hampshire perhaps but by way of catch up Group 1 (North East and North Yorkshire) saw wins for Barnard Castle over Dunnington, Driffield beat Brandon, Scarborough beat Benwell Hill and Stockton were too good for Stamford Bridge. In Group Two Cleethorpes got home in the last over v Chesterfield, Elsecar were much too strong for South Kirkby and Woodhouse Grange gave Grimsby Town a fearful pasting with a winning margin of over 200 runs.
Some of the big guns including last year's winners South Northumberland had byes and Tony has mentioned that Sheriff Hutton Bridge's reward for Sunday's win is a trip to Newcastle to beard the champions in their lair. Other interesting games in Round 2, scheduled for May 14th, include Chester le Street v Scarborough, York v Driffield and Sheffield Collegiate v Woodhouse Grange.
The Cricketer Village Cup gets underway this Sunday although a paucity of entries means in some areas there are no matches until Round Two on May 14th. In Yorkshire there are however fixtures in all areas and these can be found at nationalvillagecup.com.
Blessed by mainly dry, if at times cold weather, the county championship has got up a decent head of steam and two thirds of counties have played three matches. Surrey head Div 1 with their two recruits from Durham, Stoneman and Borthwick, having scored over 550 runs between them. Close behind them are Lancashire who enjoyed an excellent fourth day at Old Trafford yesterday with a win over Somerset who in contrast to last September when they were squeezed out of the title on the last day of the season now find themselves bottom of the table, four points behind Warwickshire who have played a game more. The only newcomers to the top table, Essex will be pleased with their start which sees them undefeated after three games and a win under their belts. Their game with Middlesex was the commentary match on Five Live Sports Extra yesterday with the excellent Kevin Howells in charge, bad light thwarted the champions here with Essex eight down when the game was called off. Yorkshire largely thanks to Ballance's runs and Coad's wickets are just a point behind Essex.
Notts and Kent are setting a fierce pace in Division Two with three wins from their three games. Northants and Worcestershire have two wins each which in another year might have seen them in the top two but leaves them off the pace at the moment. Durham are over 100 points behind Notts but do have a game in hand.
If the interesting cricket that has been played has whetted your appetite for more then you will have to contain yourself for a while for the day after tomorrow balls and clothing change colour when there are six matches in the 50 over competition and championship cricket puts its feet up until May 19th. Safe your breath John, nobody's listening.