Mixed results for Irish players as season gets under way
George Dockrell naturally took most of the plaudits as the new season got underway in England, but there were plenty of other talking points in an action packed week.
Niall O'Brien played his 100th first class game as Northants took on Derbyshire, and the combative left-hander got his landmark game off to a decent start as he ground out 62 from 175 balls to help his side stay in contention.
It went badly downhill after that as a Martin Guptill inspired Derby took control thereafter to pile on the runs. O'Brien fell for a second innings duck as Northants crashed to a 202 run defeat.
Tim Murtagh was the sole Irish representative on show for Middlesex, as the county surprisingly - some would say amazingly - left out the in-form Paul Stirling out of the game at Taunton.
They got their just desserts as another young Irishman spun them to defeat - Dockrell taking 8 for 62 in the game as Somerset prevailed by 6 wickets.
Murtagh scored 45 from just 44 balls (9 fours) in the first innings, and made 10 in the second. He also bowled a marathon 27 overs in the first innings to take 2 for 88, but didn't bowl at all in the Somerset run chase.
Surrey also ignored the fine recent form of Gary Wilson in their clash with a Sussex side containing Ed Joyce. The Bray man got off to a fine start when he caught Rudolph for 0, but his own start to the campaign got off to a dreadful start - trapped lbw for 0 first ball. He fared slightly better second time around when he made 12, as Surrey won by 86 runs.
Ben Ackland was part of the Cambridgeshire MCCU side which played Lancashire at Fenners. The Merrion batsman didn't score in the first innings but rallied well to score 52 from 102 balls (8 fours) in the second innings to help his side draw the game.
Warwickshire, without the injured Boyd Rankin, were involved in a warm up game with a Cardiff MCCU side skippered by Andrew Balbirnie.
It wasn't the happiest of games for the Pembroke man, who managed just 2 and 0 when he batted.
There was happier news for William Porterfield who looked in fine fettle as he made 76 from 122 balls (12 fours, 2 sixes). The weather intervened however as Cardiff escaped with an unlikely draw.