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!)
My usual sign off…