Cricket: Curran shines through gloom

Northamptonshire 126-4 v Somerset

The seasons were in conflict at the County Ground. In the morning, for 22 overs, Kevin Curran produced an array of strokes which would have done justice to a midsummer's day. Before a start could be made again after lunch, a mixture of snow, sleet and hail had covered the ground with a white blanket with a temperature to match.

Another storm followed although the covers came off in the hope of some cricket after tea. By then the blackest clouds of the day were building up in the south-west and they soon dashed all hopes.

The play we had was absorbing. After winning the toss, Northamptonshire lost both openers to Kevin Shine whose opening spell contained a bit of everything. Mal Loye set off by pulling him for four, but in his second over Richard Montgomerie played back with his back away from his body and was caught at second slip.

In Shine's fifth over, Rob Bailey tried to run him down to third man off the back foot and was caught behind. This brought in Curran who hooked his first ball to square leg for four and had taken his score to 12 by the end of the over. He threw his bat at anything at all loose. A slashing drive over cover off Shine was followed by a leg glance and a lofted off- drive against Graham Rose and a square cut and a thick edge produced fours in Rose's next over.

Andy Caddick, who had bowled well, if a trifle short in his first spell without any luck, now came on the Pavilion End. In his second over, Loye drove and was caught, chest high, at first slip. This did not deter Curran who distributed his favours equally between Caddick, Rose and then Mushtaq Ahmed and at lunch had scored 65 in 80 balls with 10 boisterous fours.

Warwickshire are confident that their captain, Tim Munton, will be playing again in July after a successful back operation. Munton, who underwent surgery on Tuesday night to remove particles from a worn disc, could be bowling again within two months. The latest injury is in the area where the former England seamer had prolapsed disc surgery two years ago. Munton has not played in a competitive match in his first season as successor to Dermot Reeve.

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