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Cricket news - George Barlett, Lewis Gregory earn Somerset an unlikely win

George Bartlett scored an unbeaten 76 in the fourth innings of his team's victory

George Bartlett scored an unbeaten 76 in the fourth innings of his team's victory

The opening round of the County Championship finished on Sunday (April 11). Of the nine matches, there were six draws and just three positive results, all of which came in Group 2, although poor weather played its part in a number of the other games, including at Old Trafford and Edgbaston where snow stopped play on the final day.

Group 1

There were three draws out of three in group one. After being well behind the game at the end of the second day, Worcestershire fought hard over the following six sessions to earn a draw that will feel like a win at current champions Essex. Jake Libby carried his bat for the visitors in their first innings, ending up unbeaten on 180 from a remarkable 496 balls. Essex finished the game with 13 points to Worcestershire's 12.

Derbyshire escaped from Edgbaston with a draw against Warwickshire thanks to some excellent rearguard batting from their lower order. Matt Critchley made 83 and Harvey Hossein an unbeaten 78 to help their side recover from 71 for 5 and ensure the hosts did not have enough time to chase the 213 they needed for victory. The inclement weather helped Derbyshire's cause too. They head home with 11 points while Warwickshire picked up 12.

Despite dominating much of the game against Nottinghamshire, Durham were unable to force victory on the final day at Trent Bridge. They claimed five Notts wickets in the end but some dogged batting from Ben Slater, Lyndon James and captain Steven Mullaney, who all scored half-centuries, made sure the home escaped with a draw. Both teams take 13 points from the match.

Group 2

Somerset put in the performance of the round, claiming an unlikely four-wicket victory over Middlesex at Lord's. At one stage in their first innings, Somerset were 89 for 9, still 224 runs behind. But after a fine performance from their bowlers on the third day and then some cool, calm batting on the final day, they were able to seal their win in the second session of the final day. George Bartlett and Lewis Gregory saw them home and to 19 points although they began the season on minus eight points because of a poor pitch in the 2019 season. Middlesex, who will be kicking themselves, finished with six points.

Gloucestershire started their campaign in fine fashion, comprehensively beating Surrey by eight wickets in Bristol after comfortably chasing 229 on the final day with Graeme van Buuren making a rumbustious 110 not out and skipper Chris Dent ending unbeaten on 91. Earlier in the day, Ben Foakes scored 133 to help Surrey set the home side a trickier chase than would otherwise have been the case. Alas, it wasn't enough and Gloucestershire picked up 22 points while Surrey claimed just four.

Hampshire wrapped up the two wickets they needed to defeat Leicestershire by an innings quickly enough on the final morning but the result was overshadowed by an incident on the third day which came to light thanks to the live stream of the game. Video footage showed Hampshire wicket-keeper Lewis McManus had stumped Leicestershire batsman Hassan Azad with his left hand while the ball was in his right glove. Although McManus appeared to be appealing for the caught behind, the batsman was given out stumped and the appeal was not withdrawn. Leicestershire, who finished with just two points from the game, have written to the ECB about the incident.

Group 3

Like Group 1, all three games in Group 3 finished as draws. Despite a hundred for Billy Root - which was brought up off the bowling of his brother Joe - Glamorgan, who finished with 14 points, were unable to claim their first win at Headingley since 1999. Having set Yorkshire 379 runs to win, the visitors were only able to pick up four wickets in 66 overs worth of bowling. Adam Lyth scored an unbeaten hundred for the hosts and Henry Brook 60 as Yorkshire calmly saw the game out for a draw. They claimed 11 points.

The game at Old Trafford between Lancashire and Sussex similarly petered out into a draw. Sussex had moved to 103 for 2 in their second innings when snow brought an early end to proceedings. They embarked on the long drive down to the south coast with 14 points while Lancashire finished with 16.

At Northampton, Rob Keogh registered a hundred on the fourth day to help Northants reach 434 in their first innings which all but ensured the game would be a draw. Harry Podmore finished with four wickets for Kent who then batted for 13 overs in their second innings before the captains bumped fists. The home side claimed 15 points while Kent take 14 back down to Canterbury.