Having decided at the tail end of last season that he should relax more at the crease, Geraint Jones has enjoyed a remarkable summer. The former England wicketkeeper scored his fifth Championship century of the season yesterday, in the process holding together Kent's disintegrating innings at Derby. Jones, who also passed 1,000 Championship runs, carried the Second Division leaders to 232 for 5 before rain prevented any play after tea.
Derbyshire, who are third in the table, had reduced Kent to 158 for 5 with Steffan Jones taking 3 for 29 in 16 overs but Jones and 20-year-old Alex Blake shared an unbroken stand of 74 to give the visitors the edge. Jones will resume today on 107.
There are a number of sides, including Derbyshire, who can still go up alongside Kent, who enjoyed a 28-point lead before this round. One of those is Northamptonshire, just nine points behind Derby with a game in hand. They looked in good shape yesterday against Middlesex before wicketkeeper John Simpson hit a maiden first-class half-century on his debut to rescue the London side from the brink of a first-day collapse at a rain-soaked Wantage Road.
The 21-year-old hit an unbeaten 60 from 73 balls to help Middlesex recover from 97 for four to reach 205 for six before persistent rain and bad light saw proceedings halted after 52 overs.
Going the other way could be Sussex, who had the better of things against Lancashire at Old Trafford. After the abandoned Twenty20 fiasco of Tuesday evening the turf held up to increased scrutiny – and 56.1 overs – as the hosts reached the close on 131 for five having won the toss.