The England and Wales Cricket Board are reportedly concerned about misbehaviour in club cricket but perhaps their attention should be on the county game, if Lancashire's current Championship match with Nottinghamshire at Old Trafford is anything to go by.
The visitors' bowler Charlie Shreck and the Lancashire batsman Luke Sutton spent a rather bad-tempered few minutes together after they collided in midwicket during the Division One contest yesterday, where the home side racked up a first-innings total of 384.
The umpires, Ian Gould and Tim Robinson, stepped in to calm matters – Nottinghamshire's captain, Chris Read, was summoned and presumably told to control his bowler – but the incident rather overshadowed a fine first first-class century by Lancashire's Steve Croft, who was caught behind by Read off the bowling of Graeme Swann (3 for 78), having scored 122. In reply, Nottinghamshire reached 148 for 2 by the close.
Somerset, the leaders, enjoyed mixed fortunes at Taunton against Yorkshire. The South African Charl Willoughby (4 for 65) was a handful in the morning, taking three quick wickets as the visitors subsided from 339 for 6 overnight to 372 all out. Yorkshire quickly hit back, though, when the West Country side batted: Tim Bresnan dismissed Neil Edwards and Justin Langer before Marcus Trescothick was out for 51 after a wild swipe at a ball from Steven Patterson ballooned into the air and was caught by Adil Rashid. Somerset subsequently struggled to 220 for 9 by the close of play.
Shane Bond (left) showed exactly what the New Zealand tourists are missing by taking 5 for 57 as Durham's first innings closed on 202 at the Riverside. At one point it had looked far worse for the home side, who were responding to Hampshire's first-innings of 239, as their ninth wicket fell at just 170. The Australian Callum Thorp (29 not out) stayed calm, though, to guide Durham through to a single batting point. Sean Ervine was 46 not out at the close as Hampshire reached 186 for 6 in their second innings.
In Division Two, Owais Shah reminded the England selectors of his quality as he compiled 144 to leave Middlesex in total control on 442 for 4 against Essex. The 29-year-old was given good support by Billy Godleman (56) and the Irish pair of Ed Joyce (63) and Eoin Morgan (62 not out) as the visitors' attack toiled, mostly in vain.
Another man with Test aspirations, the seamer Simon Jones, took 5 for 74 as his side Worcestershire battled to get back into their match with Derbyshire yesterday morning, having been dismissed for 151 on Friday. A sensational 71-ball century from James Pipe (133), well supported by Graham Wagg (56), ensured that the home side took total control by reaching 356, however. Batting again, Worcestershire lost Daryl Mitchell before the close.
Elsewhere, the Warwickshire opener Ian Westwood fell two runs short of his highest first-class score in scoring 176 out of a total of 421 at Sophia Gardens. Glamorgan then reached 183 for 5 in reply.
At the County Ground, Marcus North was out on 96 for Gloucestershire against North-amptonshire. The visitors were eventually bowled out for 475 before Northants reached 135 for 3 by stumps.