They may be hardy folk in the north-east, but it was so cold at Chester-le-Street that six members of the Durham side fielded in woolly hats in an effort to fend off hypothermia as Nottinghamshire built a winning position.
Starting the cricket season in early April may have seemed like a good idea during the balmy springs of 2010 and 2011 but in conditions unmistakably identifiable as late winter it merely seems barmy.
Not that the chill proved any encumbrance to the Midlanders. After Michael Lumb, born in South Africa, defied a noon temperature hovering around five degrees to extend his overnight 104 not out to 131, the redoubtable Andre Adams, from New Zealand, warmed himself by taking three wickets for 19 runs to reduce the home side, chasing a theoretical 368 to win, to 30 for 5.
Phil Mustard, the Durham captain, made a determined attempt to deny Nottinghamshire victory but, with eight wickets taken, the visitors pressed on, even as temperatures dipped again with an overnight frost forecast, claiming the extra half-hour in the hope of wrapping things up.
Mustard fell, for 80, only 10 balls into the eight additional overs but Graham Onions and Mitch Claydon somehow managed to hang on for the remaining 6.2 overs as play finished at 7.30pm. It was a remarkable show of defiance by the tail-enders which means the contest must resume this morning, even though it might take only one delivery to end it.
Few bowlers on the county circuit put their experience to use as cannily as 36-year-old Adams, although Jon Lewis is a rival in that respect. The former Gloucestershire seamer, just 40 days younger than Adams and similarly the possessor of a solitary Test cap, demonstrated again why he is a shrewd signing by Surrey by bringing about a Middlesex collapse at The Oval.
Middlesex's bowlers limited Surrey, who had been 85 without loss, to 222 all out but Lewis, after a wicketless first spell, returned to trap Neil Dexter leg before with the first ball of a second spell that yielded5 for 12 in 7.5 overs as the visitors crumbled from 76 for 3 to 106 all out. Surrey closed on 95 for 4 needing another 46 to make it two wins from two matches.
Despite a 13th career century from Somerset's Nick Compton and a dropped catch when Jos Buttler was on six – he went on to make 93 – Warwickshire will fancy themselves to launch their season with a win at Edgbaston, where they need a further 136 with eight wickets in hand after Will Porterfield's unbeaten half-century.
Derbyshire completed a second victory of the new season over Glamorgan, who were dismissed for 95 and 102 at Cardiff, where seamer Jonathan Clare had match figures of 11 for 57. Matt Coles took six for 51 as Kent romped to an innings' victory at Northampton.Reuse content