The first week of the LV Insurance County Championship certainly did not disappoint.
We were treated to some big scores, elegant stroke play, dominant bowling displays, nailbiting finishes, and even some snow – after all what is county cricket without a bit of abject weather?
With all 18 counties playing and the IPL on, it can be hard to keep an eye on everything that’s going on but, never fear, we’ve rounded up all the can’t miss stories for England fans…
Billy wins the War of the Roots
As part of the new County Championship structure, Yorkshire took on Glamorgan in their season opener, which meant there was more than one bat with Barmy Army stickers emblazoned on the back at Headingley – and no we aren’t just talking about the England skipper’s many blades.
Leeds has seen plenty of Roses games but this was the War of the Roots and though the game was drawn, it was younger brother Billy that came out on top.
He’s been in sterling form for Glamorgan since joining in 2019 and made the best possible start to the season, notching up an unbeaten 110 in his side’s second innings on his return to his home county.
Not only did he outscore Joe in the match, but he also reached his century off his brother’s bowling.
James Vince makes a fast start
The Hampshire captain’s England career is a much-debated subject among both supporters and the media but what is very clear is just how talented a player he is.
Vince showed that as he started the season in style, making 231 at faster than a run a ball in a quite remarkable knock that included some massive strikes.
— The Cricketer (@TheCricketerMag) April 8, 2021
Having dazzled in the BBL last year as well, the stylish right-hander is certainly making sure he remains on the selectors’ minds.
Other England batsmen of past and present start in style
Vince wasn’t the only player with England experience that impressed with the bat in the opening week of the County Championship season either.
Hampshire teammate Liam Dawson hit 152* from 139 balls to help his side surpass 600 in their first innings against Leicestershire.
Sam Robson was in the runs at Lord’s as he made 165 for Middlesex against Somerset, while another of Sir Alastair Cook’s former opening partners Adam Lyth made a hard-fought 115* for Yorkshire, and Chef’s current Essex teammate Tom Westley made a mammoth 213 in their draw with Worcestershire.
Having received plaudits for his glovework in India, Ben Foakes brought up his first century of the season for Surrey at Bristol.
Depth of England’s pace department on show
Lewis Gregory and Reece Topley have both been part of England’s white-ball squads over the past 12 months but the seam bowling duo flexed their red-ball muscles for their respective counties in week 1 to further illustrate the fast bowling depth we have at the moment.
Topley’s Surrey side fell to a surprise defeat to Gloucestershire in Bristol but the towering quick took 5-66 in the hosts’ first innings.
At Lord’s, Gregory impressed with both bat and ball as he helped Somerset overcome Middlesex in a tight finish.
The 28-year-old took 5-68 in the first innings before making 62 from 72 balls in a 98-run partnership with George Bartlett as the visitors wrapped up a four-wicket win.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) April 10, 2021
The opening round of County Championship fixtures was not without controversy, this time provided by a stumping in the Hampshire v Leicestershire game.
The Hampshire wicketkeeper appeared to take the ball in one hand and whip off the bails with his other.
The umpires didn’t notice but it has certainly caused a stir. We’ll leave you to make your own mind up from the clip above…