Kirby in hospital after strike to head

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The Independent Online

The Yorkshire pace bowler, Steve Kirby, was taken to hospital on the opening day of the Second Division County Championship match against Somerset at Headingley yesterday.

Kirby was knocked unconscious after appearing to be struck on the head in his follow-through by a straight drive from Nixon McLean. The bowler, in obvious discomfort, fell to the ground and then collapsed as he attempted to get to his feet.

After a worrying wait for a stretcher to be found and an ambulance to arrive, Kirby, who at least recovered consciousness, was taken to Leeds General Infirmary, where he is undergoing tests.

The incident marred an otherwise productive day for Yorkshire who, having bowled Somerset out for 228, reached 86 for 3 before bad light brought proceedings to a premature close. It also took some of the gloss off the performance of Matthew Hoggard, who returned career-best figures of 7 for 49 in his first Championship contest since May.

Hoggard has played just two National League matches and two Second XI games since undergoing surgery to rectify a cartilage problem in his right knee, but showed few signs of rustiness during four probing spells totalling 22.3 overs.

Chris Cairns enjoyed an influential day for Nottinghamshire against the the First Division strugglers Essex at Chelmsford. The New Zealand all-rounder struck a quick-fire 70 to help his team to 284, and then took the new ball to claim the wicket of Will Jefferson in his opening over as Essex made 77 for 2 in reply.

Cairns struck 13 boundaries in his 73-ball knock, but was aided by some indifferent bowling which provided ample opportunities to drive either side of the wicket. The pick of the Essex attack was Jon Dakin, who claimed 4 for 53 in 16.5 overs.

Jonty Rhodes passed 1,000 first-class runs with his third century for Gloucestershire after Derbyshire had won the toss at Bristol. The 34-year-old South African hit an unbeaten 121 as the home side finished the opening day of the Second Division match on a comfortable 331 for 5.