Bob Willis Trophy: Somerset take charge as bad weather holds up their main rivals for trip to Lord's

By Ged ScottBBC Sport
Somerset fast bowler Josh Davey has so far taken 5-28 in the match against Gloucestershire at Taunton
Somerset fast bowler Josh Davey has so far taken 5-28 in the match against Gloucestershire at Taunton

Somerset could have have been forgiven for heading back from Birmingham last week weeping cider tears when they were cruelly denied victory by the weather in the Bob Willis Trophy at Edgbaston.

But the boot is on the other foot for Tom Abell's side this week - as they bid to cash in others' misfortune with the weather.

While North Group pacesetters Yorkshire and Derbyshire have both been held up, so have South Group leaders Essex, who have been worst affected of all in their meeting with second-placed Hampshire.

And Worcestershire, Central Group leaders ahead of Somerset going into this round of fixtures, have been stymied by something almost worse than the weather - a horribly slow, turgid track at New Road.

On a day of lost play and bad weather alerts almost everywhere in the country, the only ground to remain unscathed was Worcester - but they are playing on a pitch on which quick run-scoring has so far proved almost impossible.

Warwickshire captain Will Rhodes became only the fourth double centurion in only the fourth week of the Bob Willis Trophy - following Kent pair Jordan Cox and Jack Leaning and Yorkshire new boy Dawid Malan.

But Rhodes' maiden double ton took him a minute short of seven hours. And. although Pears openers Daryl Mitchell (86*) and Jake Libby (80*) responded well by reaching 170-0 by the close, already it looks unlikely that a positive result will be squeezed from this game.

North Group

Haseeb Hameed hit his highest score (87) in his fourth match so far for Nottinghamshire
Haseeb Hameed hit his highest score (87) in his fourth match so far for Nottinghamshire

Star batting performance of the day in North group came at Leicester, where Nottinghamshire openers Ben Slater and Haseeb Hameed put on 200 for the first wicket.

Former Lancashire and England discard Hameed fell for 87, just 13 short of a first ton for his new county, but he was one of only two wickets to fall for Leicestershire in a rain-shortened day.

Slater started the season on loan to the Foxes by hitting a career-best 172, before bagging a pair in his next game. He then hit 142 for Notts on his return, that ton also coming against Lancashire, but he could not manage a third century, falling shortly after Hameed for 86.

But it was still Notts' best opening partnership in games against Leicestershire since the days of the great George Gunn in 1919.

Derbyshire had a second frustrating day at Chester-le-Street against bottom club Durham.

Having gone into this week's round of games leading the North Group, both the first two days have been interrupted by the weather.

And they were far worse hit on day two, as only 30.4 overs were bowled, during which time Paul Coughlin made 90 to deny the visitors a third bowling point.

Durham were still in on 337-9 when play was finally called off for the day after the pitch failed a 17:45 inspection.

It was a similar story for Yorkshire against Lancashire at Headingley.

After just 13 balls were possible on day one, ex-England opener Adam Lyth had enough time to hit his seventh first-class Roses Match half century to finish unbeaten on 86 out of 178-6. But Lancashire have only bowled 66 overs and already too much time may have been taken out of the contest.

Central Group

After taking two wickets the night before, Craig Overton held a catch off brother Jamie before claiming two more scalps himself to reach 20 wickets for the season
After taking two wickets the night before, Craig Overton held a catch off brother Jamie before claiming two more scalps himself to reach 20 wickets for the season

It was totally the hosts' day at Taunton in the first Somerset-Gloucestershire West Country derby in first-class cricket for 13 years.

Having left the visitors teetering on 13-4 the night before, Craig Overton led the way with two more wickets, finishing with 4-25, as the visitors were shot out for just 76 - their lowest score in over two years.

Their situation worsened as Tom Abell and Tom Lammonby both hit unbeaten centuries, each making 101 not out in an unbroken second-wicket stand of 211 before the hosts declared on 223-1 with eight overs of the day left.

And Somerset got stuck right in again, this time reducing their neighbours to 14-3, wityh Josh Davey taking two of the wickets.

Double centurion Rhodes hit over half his side's runs as Warwickshire declared in the last of their 120 overs on 355-9 against Worcestershire.

His career-best 207 might have been a bit on the slow side, more the sort of knock one would expect from his normal Bears opening partner Dom Sibley, and it ended with an ungainly slog as the Bears sought quick runs before the 120-over limit, but it was still a handsome innings.

The Pears then produced an admirable response, openers Jake Libby and Daryl Mitchell both passing 50 for the third time in four Trophy matches.

In the meeting of Central Group's bottom two, centurion Charlie Thurston (115) and Ben Curran (82) stole the show as Northants engineered a first-inning lead against Glamorgan.

South Group

Sir Alastair Cook, the former England skipper, finished the day 75 not out at Arundel for Essex against Hampshire
Sir Alastair Cook, the former England skipper, finished the day 75 not out at Arundel for Essex against Hampshire

Sir Alastair Cook made an unbeaten 75 for Essex, his highest Bob Willis Trophy score so far and the 182nd half-century of his first-class career.

But it was still a frustrating day for the South Group leaders in their meeting with second-placed Hants at Arundel.

With only 47 overs bowled so far, in which Essex have reached 146-2, a positive outcome for either side looks a long way off.

England's much touted winter tour prospect Ben Foakes hit a timely 88 not out for bottom club Surrey who made 239-7 at The Oval but still trail Kent, who went on to reach 324 in their first innings.

But the best poised game of them all looks to be at Radlett, where Jack Carson (4-46) and Mitch Claydon (3-23) bowled out Middlesex for 203, to earn a 90-run lead for Sussex.

Tim Murtagh then took three scalps in eight balls as Sussex lost their first four wickets for just four runs. They recovered to 32-4 by the close - a lead of 123.

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