Cricket: Somerset make splash in the rain

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SEVEN COUNTY Championship matches were abandoned without a ball being bowled yesterday afternoon as the torrential rain sweeping the country washed out the day's fixtures.

The games at Northampton, Derby, Leicester, Edgbaston, Bristol, Horsham and Ilford - where the leaders Hampshire were due to play against Essex - all succumbed to the dismal conditions and failed to see any play.

Just 45 minutes play unfolded at Chester Le Street yesterday morning before the rain set in, with Somerset having sprinted to 58 for 1 off 11.5 overs against Durham, with Jamie Cox (24) and Piran Holloway (6) the unbeaten batsmen.

Cox and Gregor Kennis had earlier put on a rapid 38 for the first wicket before the latter was caught and bowled by in-form John Wood, who had taken 13 wickets for 24 in his previous three innings.

The frustration was also evident in the only game where there was regular play with the players from Kent and Surrey going in and out of the pavilion at frequent intervals because of the frequent showers.

After losing the first 75 minutes of the morning the two teams managed an hour before lunch, in which time Surrey had reached 50 for 1 off 16 overs, with Ian Ward trapped leg before for six by Julian Thompson.

Approaching the tea interval second-placed Surrey had moved to 89 for 2 off 33.2 overs with Darren Bicknell 14 not out and Jason Ratcliffe unbeaten on 10. Mark Butcher was the other man out, for 32, after he was lbw to Min Patel.