County Championship round-up: Rain flushes Yorkshire's chance of a bonus point

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The destination of the County Championship might not be determined until the third week in September but if Yorkshire remain in the title race they will hope not to look back ruefully at the first day of June after yesterday's frustration at Headingley.

Captain Andrew Gale and his players spent five hours waiting in vain for rain to clear before the Roses match was abandoned, leaving Yorkshire's first innings high and dry on 199 for 8, potentially one ball away from securing what might in time be a vital bonus point.

It would have been enough, in any event, to have kept them top of the current First Division table. Instead, Nottinghamshire, on the same points after their match against Essex at Trent Bridge was also called off without a ball bowled on the final day, lead by virtue of having gained more wins so far.

Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston reached the same watery conclusion, along with the Second Division matches at Cardiff and Leicester. Worcestershire and Gloucestershire managed 26 overs at New Road but could not force a result.

Nottinghamshire can stretch their lead when they meet Kent at Tunbridge Wells, starting on Friday, with overseas player David Hussey likely to make his first appearance of the season.

Yorkshire do not have a fixture in the next round and do not play again in the Championship until the return match against Lancashire on 28 June.

In the meantime, attention switches to the Twenty20 competition, which began last night with last year's champions Sussex and runners-up Somerset in action at Hove. The competition has been expanded so each county will play 16 matches before the quarter-finals in late July, which will test the public's appetite for the short form of the game.

From a marketing viewpoint, it does not help that a crowded international fixture list means that England's World Twenty20 champions will have little, if any, role to play, although many counties have tried to compensate by hiring big-name overseas players. Middlesex, for example, have secured Adam Gilchrist, who makes his debut against Sussex at Lord's tomorrow evening.

There will be more Australians at Surrey (Andrew Symonds), Nottinghamshire (David Hussey and Dirk Nannes), Somerset (Cameron White), Glamorgan (Shaun Tait and Mark Cosgrove) and Leicestershire (Brad Hodge and Andrew McDonald).

South African Albie Morkel joins Durham along with New Zealand's Ross Taylor, whose countryman Brendon McCullum will turn out in seven matches for Sussex. Tonight's programme sees Hodge in action for Leicestershire against Derbyshire at Grace Road. Essex, who will be joined by Kiwi Scott Styris later in the month, meet Kent at Chelmsford.

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