Closing Stages of County Championship Round Four

A look at developments in the County Championship as round four draws to a close.

Welcome to this post looking at the closing stages of this round of County Championship fixtures. Those who have followed each day’s posts know that Glamorgan beat Kent in two days and that Notts thrashed Derbyshire, winning early on day three. Surrey polished off Hampshire by an innings and 289 runs not long after I completed yesterday’s post, Kemar Roach raking a career best 8-40 in the second Hampshire innings, and Durham also completed their demolition of Warwickshire with a day to spare.

GAMES SETTLED TO DATE ON DAY FOUR

Lancashire beat Sussex by five wickets, Sussex’s second inning collapse proving terminal to their hopes. Failed England opener Keaton Jennings anchored the chase with 91 not out, while England hopefuls Alex Davies (73, opening alongside Jennings) and Josh Bohannon (46) also made runs. Jack Carson took 3-45 from 24 overs of off spin, giving him seven wickets in the game.

Somerset beat Middlesex by four wickets. This match had certain elements of familiarity – at Lord’s in the first round of matches Middlesex led Somerset comfortably on first innings, collapsed in the second and Somerset pulled off an impressive chase to end up winning. This match followed a very similar pattern – Middlesex were 89 ahead on first innings, but then crashed to 117 all out in the second dig. Somerset were 104-4 at the end of day three, Hildreth having scored 43 off 38 balls and Abell batting with typical solidity at no3. Abell fell for 49 early on the final morning, and was followed in short order by Bartlett, at which point it was 123-6, with debutant Lewis Goldsworthy being joined by Steven Davies. Middlesex had no further success, as Davies reached 44 not out, and Goldsworthy 41 not out, including the winning runs, a four through the covers. Goldsworthy did not get to bowl his left arm spin in this match, but 80 runs in the match for once out is a fine debut. Craig Overton enhanced his England credentials by taking 3-60 and 5-34 with the ball as well as scoring 38 not out in the first Somerset innings (due to the use of Leach as nightwatch he was padded up waiting to bat in the second). If County Championship games did player of the match awards Overton would have been a shoo-in. Goldsworthy was utterly unflappable in the chase, even when the umpires were ridiculously doctrinaire in insisting on breaking for lunch with the ask below 20 and Middlesex obviously on the ropes and it then rained, extending the interval by 15 minutes, and if we do not see him donning an England cap with a number in the low 700s I will be surprised. A full scorecard of this fine game of cricket can be viewed here.

THE REMAINING GAMES

The match between Yorkshire and Northamptonshire is currently delayed by rain at a crucial stage – Northamptonshire are 206-9 chasing a target of 220 in a match that like many a low scoring game has been nip and tuck throughout.

Overcaution by Leicestershire at Bristol means that the most likely result there is a draw – they set Gloucestershire 340 in only a little over two sessions of play, and although Gloucestershire have lost three wickets, including England hopeful James Bracey, it is likely that the clock will beat Leicestershire, although it is about 0% that Gloucestershire will do so.

At Worcester the draw is even likelier, on a wicket that must have been prepared using a steam roller, it is that flat. Essex have breathed a little life into proceedings by dismissing Worcestershire cheaply enough to enforce the follow on, but Worcestershire are 71-1 in their second innings and have only 40 overs to survive to confirm the draw. This is the second match at Worcester this season in which bowlers have been rendered toothless by the surface and I hope that Worcestershire will be docked points for what I regard as a far worse case of bad pitch preparation than the spinning surface in 2019 for which Somerset were punished.

A CRICKETING PUZZLE

From a road of a pitch to a puzzle based on a road name near my home (see picture below):

Archdale has two links to cricket history – can you identify them? (Answer in my next blog post, little hint on one of the links- don’t ignore 50% of the population just because it is a sporting question!)

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

County Championship Saturday

A look at the county championship on day three plus some photographs.

Welcome to another round up of County Championship action. Seven matches are still live, but two have already produced results, and we start with the decided games.

THE RESULTS

Kent were beaten by ten wickets yesterday evening, having collapsed for 74 in their second innings, which gave them a mere 15 to defend since they have been 59 behind on first innings.

Nottinghamshire put an end to a long run of games without a win by thrashing Derbyshire by 310 runs. There is an excellent post about that game on insideedgecricket, which you can read by clicking here.

THE LIVE MATCHES

The third match to finish will be the Surrey v Hampshire game. Hampshire are currently six down in their second innings and over 300 runs adrift, after Surrey scored 560-7 declared in response to Hampshire’s beggarly 92 all out. James Vince who had scored runs in Hampshire’s earlier games against ordinary bowling underlined his status as ‘Captain Statpadder’ by failing twice against good bowling in this game.

Sussex v Lancashire: Sussex, helped by four wickets from young off spinner Jack Carson and three from veteran seamer Stuart Meaker took a first innings lead of 98 against Lancashire, but are struggling in their second innings, 95-6, a mere 193 to the good.

Somerset v Middlesex: Middlesex claimed a first innings lead of 89, although some good batting by Overton late on reduced what had looked being a comfortable three figure lead. Middlesex are 78-6 in their second innings, 156 to the good. This match has featured an unusual development: Lewis Gregory of Somerset has withdrawn due to Covid, and under the protocols relating to such happenings Jack Brooks has come in as a replacement – he batted at no11. Josh Davey has three wickets and Overton two. Brooks is bowling his seventh over and currently wicketless as I type.

Worcestershire v Essex: Worcestershire are 210-3 in reply to Essex’s 561-8 declared in a game that seems destined to be drawn.

Durham v Warwickshire: Durham bowled Warwickshire out for 87, took a first lead of 304 (391-8 declared) and now have Warwickshire 70-3 in their second innings.

Gloucestershire v Leicestershire: Leicestershire took a first innings lead of 146 (421 plays 275) and are currently 42-1 in the second innings.

Yorkshire v Northamptonshire: An interestingly poised game. Three of the four innings are completed, Yorkshire scoring 206 and 247, and Northamptonshire 234. They are taking tea, and will resume with Northamptonshire setting out to chase down 220 to win the game.

A few updates: Surrey have moved even close to victory while I have been typing this, Hampshire now 143-7, with five wickets for Kemar Roach – effectively -325-7. Middlesex are now 84-7 against Somerset, leading by 173. Sussex are now 127-7, leading by 225. Notwithstanding the early finishes and the run-fest at Worcester tomorrow looks like being a splendid day’s play.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Time for my usual sign off…