English cricket is not exactly enamoured with football at the moment and, in that respect as in others, Chris Woakes has been somewhat ahead of the curve.
The Warwickshire medium pacer had to choose between the winter game – in the form of Walsall – and cricket at the age of 14. His county and, as seems possible, England could one day be very grateful he turned his back on the Saddlers.
The 20-year-old has so far taken seven wickets in the Bears' ongoing match against Worcestershire at Edgbaston, a contest the home side look very likely to win. With 166 still required to make Warwickshire bat again, the visitors are 123-3, Woakes having accounted for two of those – Daryl Mitchell and Ben Smith.
Worcestershire appear to have been destined for relegation from the top flight for a few months now but the second spot is still up for grabs, so to speak. Five sides could conceivably go, including Sussex – who totalled 119-1 yesterday having been kept off the field for much of the day by rain in their match against Lancashire – and Yorkshire, who are having the worst of it at Trent Bridge. Nottinghamshire's 301-7, in reply to 256, included 79 by Scott Newman, once of Surrey, and 66 by Bilal Shafayat.
Derbyshire, meanwhile, are looking up. They are totally dominating Kent in their Second Division match, scoring 583-4 dec yesterday before the visitors closed on 44-1, some 258 behind.