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The County Championship: A Quick Round-Up

Posted on September 7, 2011 by in First Class

The County Championship: A Quick Round-Up

This season’s County Championship is approaching its climax and yet again is too close to call. Three teams can be reasonably expectant of winning the title, with another county still technically with an outside chance. No side have yet been relegated from Division One, similarly three counties are challenging for the two promotion places. However the wooden spoon has already been handed over to Leicestershire, who remain 59 points adrift of second bottom.

Therefore we decided to summarise today’s play and as the matches progress, advise on the implications for the tables.

Division One

The leaders Durham are without a game this week, so will be watching with interest events from Edgbaston, where Warwickshire (second) play Nottinghamshire (fifth and nothing to play for). The home side had much the better day in accruing 235/3; Ian Westwood is 144* overnight and will hope to secure the remaining batting bonus points tomorrow. Both sides currently have gained one bonus point.

Ian Westwood was player of the day

Lancashire (currently third) are aiming for their first outright championship since 1934. They host Hampshire, who have been bottom of division one for most of the season but in recent weeks have been resurgent, with three victories against some of the title contenders (yet still remain last). At one stage today Lancashire were 98/4, but as has often happened this season, their middle and lower order helped pull them back into the game: this time courtesy of Tom Smith’s 63 and an unbeaten partnership of 99 between Glen Chapple (76*) and Kyle Hogg (47*). For the visitors, Sean Ervine picked up three wickets, but was expensive. Currently Lancashire have three bonus points, Hampshire two.

Rain affected the match at Leeds, with only 41 overs of play possible. Somerset are presently in fourth and may still harbour slight hopes of a title. Today they reached 140/3, with a half-century from Alex Barrow. Yorkshire need to win to stay in the division, because this is their final match of the campaign. The rain did them no favours, but they took a bonus point, thanks to the bowling of Ajmal Shahzad (1-33 from 11 overs) and Moin Ashraf (2-30 from 12).

In the other division one match, Worcestershire host Sussex. The home side are in seventh position and still in danger of relegation, whereas Sussex are more-or-less safe, barring bizarre events across the country. The game is fairly evenly poised: Sussex 289/8 with half-centuries from Joe Gatting, Murray Goodwin and Ben Brown. The wickets were shared between five Worcester bowlers; Moeen Ali took 2-33 and Alan Richardson 2-40. They each have picked up two bonus points.

Division Two

Miserable weather in Cardiff meant no play was possible in the match between Glamorgan (seventh) and Middlesex (first). Northamptonshire, currently second, are not playing this week, so attention today turned to Surrey in third position. They picked up three bonus points in compiling 315ao away to Essex. This was a collective performance, with only one player reaching 50 (Chris Jordan with 71). Essex’s maximum bowling points can largely be credited to Graham Napier, whose 90mph+ (©sky sports speed gun) bowling returned 6-53; Tymal Mills supported with an able 2-39.

Derbyshire (sixth) host Kent (eighth) and had much the better of the day’s play; scoring 405 runs from 86 overs. Wes Durston top scored with 118, but Matt Lineker, Ross Whiteley and Jonathan Clare all scored half-centuries as well. That Kent managed two bonus points was thanks to David Balcombe’s 4-109.

Meanwhile at Bristol, Gloucestershire batted first against Leicestershire. Their 235/6 included 81 from Alex Gidman, whilst Nathan Buck took 3-61 for the visitors.

It will be a shame if the weather dictates the outcomes of these matches, but with rain coming in from the southwest tomorrow, don’t expect to see much play at Cardiff or Bristol. The other matches may all fare better.

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