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While the County Championship season started with its traditional squelch, a surprising number of hitters got to see the April Demons.

In Edgbaston, where the wind slapped the ground like an ill-tempered terrier, terrorizing the gloved referee and billowing the blankets, Surrey made steady progress against the reigning County Champions, Warwickshire, despite frequent weather interruptions. Ryan Patel, opening innings, galloped to 75 before having a wild swing at Olly Hannon-Dalby, while Ashes flotsam Rory Burns progressed to a regular 41 in an opening partnership of 117. Hashim Amla was also misled by Hannon-Dalby, stumps-a-splatter for two, and Ollie Pope stroked a quick 40 before the stumps.

In Chelmsford, veterans Alastair Cook and Nick Browne made the most of a friendly ground, going 220 for the first wicket and each reaching a century as Kent bowlers struggled in the swirling wind. Australian Jackson Bird, on his debut, fired them both fairly quickly before Dan Lawrence shouldered arms to a choke ball.

Stevie Eskinazi made the first championship hundred of the year, and his first at Lord’s in five years, in an elegant run of 118 as middlesex strode confidently against a wan and impoverished derbyshire attack. Josh de Caires, the 19-year-old son of Michael Atherton, collected his first class-leading 50 in a round of cautious cribbage.

Derbyshire’s cause was not helped when their new signing Ryan Sidebottom limped off the pitch after 1.1 overs with a suspected hamstring problem.

At Hove, sussexThe rosy-cheeked apple scrumpers, with an average age of just over 21, have made sublime progress against the big boys Nottinghamshire. Fifties for Ali Orr and captain Tom Haines and 82 steps out for Tom Clark frustrated an injury-hampered bowling attack. Liam Patterson-White, who played unchanged for 30 overs from Sea’s End with the breeze kissing his left shoulder, was the pick with three for 69.

Apocalyptic hail thwarted progress in Cardiff, where Colin Ingram’s 71 kept Glamorgan steady against Durham. Chris Rushworth trapped an enterprising lbw Sam Northeast on his club debut for 24 years.

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There were, however, sides at bat who hadn’t read the memo. Somerset were knocked out for 180 after opting to beat Mohammad Abbas and co, with only James Hildreth going over 30. Hildreth, in the final year of his contract, played soft for 87. Hampshire were 109 without loss to strains.

Ben Sanderson took four for 38 to put Northamptonshire ahead in the battle for the promotion class of 2019. Only James Bracey, 77 not out, seriously disrupted the scoreboard as Gloucestershire finished 164 for eight. And Worcestershireit’s day against Leicestershire was spoiled by Chris Wright’s three in 33, with Azhar Ali missing for two on his club debut.

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