Round up of week 9 of the LV= County Championship

Round up of week 9 of the LV= County Championship

Surrey suffer their first defeat while Division Two games all end in draws.

While the five matches in Division One all ended in positive outcomes, those in Division Two resulted in draws. The reduction in the points awarded for a draw this season was intended to incentivise teams to go for a win, but while this has happened in Division One with 32% of games drawn so far compared with 45% in the 2022 season, the reverse has happened in Division Two. In the lower division, where the chase for a top two spot would seem a greater stimulus to obtaining the extra points, the percentage of draws has actually increased from 36% to 59%. This would indicate a relative weakness of bowling attacks compared to batting in Division Two, with teams finding it difficult to take ten second innings wickets, as seen at Leicester and Cardiff this week.

Division One leaders Surrey needed 208 to beat Lancashire, having enjoyed an 86 run first innings lead. Lancashire fought back in their second innings, thanks to a 95 run sixth wicket partnership between Will Williams (61) and Phil Salt (54), eventually reaching 293. However Surrey were then reduced to 57/5 at the end of day three, Tom Bailey taking four wickets in 16 balls in an 11-over opening spell of 4/34. Bowler friendly conditions persisted as Surrey came out on the final morning to bat under floodlights and were dismissed for 84, Bailey finishing with 5/48 and Will Williams 4/23. This was Surrey’s first defeat at the Oval in first-class cricket in 19 matches, going back to August 2020. The win moves Lancashire up to fifth place, occupied jointly with Somerset.

Essex have jumped up into second place, 23 points behind Surrey, with a win against Warwickshire inside three days. Centuries from Dan Lawrence (152) and Tom Westley (114) helped Essex to a first innings total of 457, accumulating maximum batting bonus points. Simon Harmer then took 5/65 as Warwickshire were dismissed for 158. Asked to follow on Harmer opened the bowling and completed nearly 46 overs, taking 5/165. Warwickshire reached 381 thanks to lower order runs from Dan Mousley (61), Dom Bess (63) and Jake Lintott (78), but Essex reached the target of 83 for the loss of just one wicket.

Hampshire sit in third after a convincing win against struggling Middlesex. Batting first Hampshire posted 419 thanks to 141 from the bat of Liam Dawson and 120 from Nick Gubbins. Joshua De Caires took 7/144 off 47.3 overs. The Middlesex batting, which has managed just one bonus point this season, again struggled and they were dismissed for just 150, Dawson taking 6/40. Following on, they managed 208 second time around, Dawson topping off a memorable performance with another six wicket haul (6/90). It will be difficult for the England selectors not to pay attention.

Somerset overcame Nottinghamshire at Taunton, having set the visitors a fourth innings target of 492. Both teams struggled first time around, the seam bowlers on top. Somerset made 163 after electing to bat first, Brett Hutton taking 5/34. In reply Nottinghamshire edged into a first innings lead, reaching 186, Ben Slater top-scoring with 70. Matt Henry took 6/59. When Somerset batted again George Bartlett (134) and James Rew (123) put Somerset in the driving seat as they reached 514/8 declared. Nottinghamshire then capitulated in just 25.1 overs, making just 92, Josh Davey taking 4/17.

In the remaining Division One match, Kent defeated Northamptonshire by an innings and 15 runs. Northamptonshire chose to bat first and reached 237 thanks to 97 from Rob Keogh. Wes Agar took 5/63. Daniel Bell-Drummond then guided Kent to 621, finishing on an undefeated 300. Needing 384 to make Kent bat again, the Northamptonshire batters put up stubborn resistance, but were spun out by Joe Denly (4/164) and Hamidullah Qadri (3/51). Northamptonshire are becoming further adrift at the foot of Division One, 12 points behind ninth placed Middlesex.

Durham have extended their lead at the top of Division Two despite being unable to complete a win against second placed Leicestershire. They collected maximum bonus points as batting first they reached 517/6 declared, with centuries from Alex Lees (101) and Ollie Robinson (167 not out). In reply, 146 from Colin Ackerman helped the home side to 422, Ben Raine taking 4/114. Durham were bolstered at the end of day two by the return of Matty Potts, who had been released by England. Lees (145) then scored another century in the Durham second innings alongside an undefeated 145 from David Bedingham, as they reached 343/4 declared, setting Leicestershire a target of 439 from 89 overs. Raine removed the top three Leicestershire batters to reduce them to 26/3, but Peter Handscomb then led the resistance, initially with Colin Ackerman (39) and then Wiaan Mulder (37). However, when the eighth wicket fell (Matt Parkinson trapping his twin brother Callum lbw) with the score on 189, there were still 26 overs left to play. Bad light eventually came to Leicestershire’s rescue, but the eight wicket pair had put on 70 runs off 20 overs, Handscomb finishing on 136 not out and Ed Barnes a valuable 5 off 43 balls.

Sussex will be the happier of the two teams that fought out a draw in Cardiff. Glamorgan chose to bat first and made 242 thanks to 66 from Billy Root and 44 from Timm van der Gugten, who has made a habit of scoring lower order runs this season. Nathan McAndrew took 4/58. In reply Sussex were held to 203, Fynn Hudson-Prentice top-scoring with 59. A century from Sam Northeast, his first of the season after being so prolific last year, took Glamorgan to a second innings total of 319, leaving the visitors a target of 359 off a minimum of 98 overs. As the Sussex batters pushed, in an effort to challenge the total, wickets fell and it became a matter of whether Glamorgan could take the ten wickets as the skies became gloomier on the final afternoon. The ninth wicket fell with 21.2 overs remaining, but the final pair of Oli Carter (55) and Henry Shipley (8) held out, even with the taking of the second new ball. Mitchell Swepson finished with match figures of 7/141 on his Glamorgan debut.

Worcestershire also held out for a draw against Derbyshire. Worcestershire elected to bat first and after an opening stand of 70 between Gareth Roderick (40) and Jake Libby (78), wickets fell steadily and the innings finished on 237, Anuj Dal taking 5/45. In reply, 143 from the bat of Wayne Madsen and 238 from Leus du Plooy saw Derbyshire to 578/5 declared, as the Worcestershire bowlers were made to work for 143 overs. Worcestershire started their second innings eight overs before tea on day three and batted out the remainder of the match, finishing on 243/6, Roderick making 123.

At Leeds Yorkshire, batting first, made 500/9 declared with centuries from Finlay Bean, George Hill and Matthew Revis. In reply, Gloucestershire reached 464, Oliver Price posting his maiden first class century. Slow left arm spinner Dan Moriarty took 5/139 on his first appearance for Yorkshire following his loan move from Surrey. Once Gloucestershire had avoided the follow on, the draw looked inevitable and Yorkshire batted out the final day, ending on 200/6.

Surrey look favourites to retain their county championship title, but their slip up this week will give the chasing pack some hope. At the other end of the table, Northamptonshire appear destined for the drop, with Middlesex also losing touch with the teams above. However, both counties have a game in hand. In Division Two Durham look assured of a promotion spot, maintaining their strong batting performances. They will also clearly benefit if Potts is deemed superfluous to England’s Ashes needs. It is therefore a competition for second place and there is no clear favourite as Leicestershire, Worcestershire, Sussex and Glamorgan battle it out.

Championship cricket will be back after an 11 day break for the final Blast group games and quarter finals.

Current Championship tables:

LV= County Championship Division One


LV County Championship Division Two



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.