Cumberland opener Sam Dutton produced the eye-catching performance of the group stages of the 2019 T20 competition by enjoying himself at the expense of Northumberland’s attack at Jesmond.
Dutton, who plays his club cricket for Blackpool, made 167 runs in the day without being dismissed with an unbeaten 116 in a ten wickets win in the opening match of the day followed by 51 not out in a seven wickets victory in the second.
Dutton’s second T20 century of his career came from just 46 balls and he shared an unbroken opening partnership of 179 with Cumberland captain Gary Pratt, the former Durham batsman. Pratt finished unbeaten on 58 from 51 balls, four fewer than Dutton faced for his 116, which included seven sixes.
Northumberland’s 175 for four included an unbeaten half century from James Thompson and 29 from former Durham, Gloucestershire and England international Phil Mustard. On most grounds it would have been competitive but on one with short straight boundaries it proved inadequate as Cumberland chased it down with 14 balls to spare.
Cumberland’s second win was even more emphatic with Josh Fallows, the Leeds/Bradford MCCU seamer taking four for 14 and Blackpool off-spinner Josh Boyne three for seven to skittle Northumberland for 97.
Dutton again led the sprint to victory with seven overs to spare with a more measured 33-ball half century.
Peter Burgoyne, the former Derbyshire and Sussex all-rounder, also impressed in both of Herefordshire’s matches in the opening round of group matches against Oxfordshire at Brockhampton.
Burgoyne, who spends his winters playing darts professionally on the European circuit, slammed 97 from 63 balls in the opener but it was not quite enough to deny Oxfordshire who got home by six wickets in a last-ball thriller.
Oxfordshire captain Jonny Cater responded with an unbeaten 57, which included four sixes, to help his side chase down 158.
Herefordshire took their revenge in the second match by eight runs with Burgoyne completing a productive day with 72 from 44 balls.
Burgoyne also bowled three tight overs and ran out dangerman Gareth Andrew as Oxfordshire were restricted to 133 for nine.
Berkshire slow left-armer Luke Beaven took a hat-trick – including two victims stumped off wides – in the opening match of their title defence against Shropshire at Whitchurch.
But Beaven’s efforts were not enough to save Berkshire from an 11 runs defeat although they gained swift revenge with a 12 runs win in the second match.
Buckinghamshire’s pursuit of their first National Counties honours since 2009 saw them become the first side to qualify for Finals Day.
They needed only a point from their double-header against Shropshire at Gerrards Cross to top their group they and made certain with an emphatic double with victories by seven wickets then 71 runs.