Derbyshire finally won their first silverware since 1993 by successfully chasing down the 196 that they needed to beat Hampshire to win the LV= County Championship Division Two title. Elsewhere, Warwickshire had to show all of the resolve that they had shown to win the LV= County Championship to hold off Nottinghamshire on the final day at Trent Bridge.
Lancashire and Surrey settled for the expected draw on the final day at Aigburth. With the first two days entirely lost to rain, Lancashire only had time to reach 142 for two in their first innings before hands were shook. Luke Procter had cleaned up the Surrey lower-order earlier in the day to bowl them out for 367 and end with career-best figures of seven for 71.
Keith Barker and Chris Wright survived 78 balls during their ninth-wicket partnership as Warwickshire held on for the draw on the final evening against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. Chris Woakes had hit 80 for the visitors after they had slipped to 135 for five, but Paul Franks (four for 47) took three wickets in nine balls to necessitate Barker and Wright's ninth-wicket stand.
Derbyshire secured the Division Two title by beating Hampshire by six wickets on the final afternoon at Derby. Chasing 196 to win after bowling the visitors out for 198 in the morning, they progressed well to 45 before losing two wickets just prior to lunch. However, Usman Khawaja anchored the run chase and added 67 for the third-wicket with Wes Durston (23); 31 for the fourth-wicket with Dan Redfern (11); and an unbroken 54 for the fifth-wicket with Ross Whiteley (38 not out) to end on 72 not out.
Yorkshire completed the expected victory over Essex at Chelmsford, but could still only finish second in the Division Two table due to Derbyshire's win over Hampshire. Resuming on 28 for two in pursuit of 388 to win, only Owais Shah showed any stomach for the fight among the Essex batsmen, ending on 71 not out, as they were bowled out for just 148. Azeem Rafiq did the bulk of the damage on the way to career-best figures of five for 50, while Steven Patterson took the last two wickets and ended his excellent 2012 season with figures of four for 34.
Leicestershire avoided the Championship wooden spoon by chasing down the 236 they needed to beat its eventual winners Gloucestershire on the final day at Grace Road. Ned Eckersley and Josh Cobb both hit half-centuries and added 99 for the fourth-wicket. Cobb's innings of 65 came off only 51 balls, but James Fuller and Will Gidman fought back with five wickets before Leicestershire scraped home to win by two wickets.
Tomorrow sees the final day of the England county season take place with the Clydesdale Bank 40 final between Warwickshire and Hampshire. It will be the 50th time in a row that end-of-season limited-overs final has been held at Lord's.
The match begins at 1130 local time (1030 GMT) and will represent a cricketing farewell for Warwickshire's all-rounder Neil Carter. Both sides have already won one title each this season - Warwickshire the LV= County Championship and Hampshire the Friends Life t20 - so will be anxious to make it a double.
Hampshire welcome back key middle-order batsmen Neil McKenzie and Simon Katich into their 13-man squad, but are without Dimitri Mascarenhas (injured) and Danny Briggs (England).
Hampshire squad: Michael Carberry, James Vince, Jimmy Adams (captain), Neil McKenzie, Simon Katich, Sean Ervine, Liam Dawson, Michael Bates (wicket-keeper), Chris Wood, Kabir Ali, David Griffiths, Hamza Riazuddin, Bilal Shafayat.
Warwickshire welcome back their England pair of Ian Bell and Chris Woakes, as well as New Zealand overseas player Jeetan Patel into their 15-man squad. Neil Carter is a definite starter for his farewell match, with Ian Blackwell, Keith Barker, Steffan Piolet and Paul Best all seemingly fighting for one place in the starting eleven.
Warwickshire squad: Ian Bell, Varun Chopra, Jim Troughton (captain), Tim Ambrose (wicket-keeper), Darren Maddy, Rikki Clarke, Chris Woakes, Ian Blackwell, Neil Carter, Jeetan Patel, Chris Wright, Keith Barker, Steffan Piolet, Paul Best, Laurie Evans.
Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams: “To be in two finals in one season is a pretty special feeling, but especially so when one of them is at Lord’s. The Clydesdale Bank 40 final is always the climax of the county season and one we are looking forward to immensely. Having already won the Friends Life t20 this season, we’ll be attempting to ‘do the double’ and we are certainly hoping as many Royals fans as possible will come up to support us and cheer us across the line.”
Warwickshire captain, Jim Troughton: “A final at Lord’s is a great occasion, which all members of the Bears squad will relish. We’ve worked really hard in the competition throughout the season and the victory over Lancashire last Saturday was our reward. Despite beating Somerset in the CB40 Final in 2010, four of us were also part of the team that lost to Hampshire at the Lord’s final in 2005, so we’ve certainly got revenge in mind. We hope that as many Bears fans as possible can make the journey down to support us.”
Weather Forecast: The weather at Lord's tomorrow will be warm and sunny throughout with only patchy cloud, meaning that temperatures will peak at around 20 degrees Celsius.
County News In Brief:
Hampshire have named their squad for the Champions League T20. Simon Katich and Neil McKenzie are unavailable, having qualified for the tournament with their state sides, but Shahid Afridi and Glenn Maxwell are available as overseas players. Dimitri Mascarenhas is included providing that he recovers from a muscle injury which will keep him out of tomorrow's CB40 final.
Durham have announced that Stephen Harmison will be their beneficiary for the 2013 season.
Leicestershire have said that they will not be extending the contracts of fast-bowler Robbie Joseph and batsman Will Jones beyond the end of the season. Jones, a Cardiff University student, was offered another contract but turned it down to pursue a career outside cricket.
Surrey will not offer all-rounder Chris Jordan a new contract for next season. The Barbados-born player is linked with a move to either Sussex or Hampshire. The club have, however, signed fast-bowler Stuart Meaker on a three-year deal.
Nottinghamshire have announced that they will not be offering opening batsman Neil Edwards a new contract for the 2013 season.
© Cricket World 2012
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