There were wins for Durham and Lancashire as the 15th round of matches in the LV= County Championship drew to a close. Meanwhile, Essex and Glamorgan kept their Yorkshire Bank 40 semi-final hopes alive ahead of the final round of matches tomorrow.
Durham are rapidly emerging as Yorkshire’s strongest contenders for the LV= County Championship Division One title. They completed a massive victory over last-placed Surrey at Chester-le-Street and now trail Yorkshire by only 25.5 points with a game in hand. Resuming on 52 for three, Surrey were all out for just 169 in their second innings to lose by an innings and 144 runs. Hashim Amla made a spirited and fluent 89, but only three other men reached double figures as Mark Wood ended with career-best figures of five for 44.
Lancashire had little difficulty in wrapping up victory over Worcestershire on the final day at New Road. They now have a 34-point lead over Northamptonshire at the top of Division Two. The loss of Moeen Ali early on meant the match was never going to last too long today. Night-watchman Jack Shantry made a valiant 31, while Joe Leach scored 20 but the home side were all out for 241, leaving Lancashire needing just 88 to win. Kyle Hogg, Glen Chapple and Tom Smith ended with three wickets apiece. Luis Reece then hit 56 not out off 51 balls to take the visitors home by nine wickets in 19 overs.
Essex kept their slim hopes of Yorkshire Bank 40 progression alive by easing to victory over Derbyshire at Colchester. Ravi Bopara led their charge to 259 for seven by hitting 88 off 87 balls, while Greg Smith (30 off 37 balls), James Foster (41 off 24) and Graham Napier (23 off 10) all chipped in. Derbyshire’s young batting line-up then crumbled under pressure and they were bundled out for 152. Billy Godleman was the sole bright spot with 60, but four of their top six fell in single figures. Reece Topley emerged as the pick of an impressive Essex attack with four for 26, while Tymal Mills and Tim Phillips took two wickets each.
In Group C, Glamorgan moved up to second by walloping Leicestershire. The Welsh side piled up 303 for six from their 40 overs after electing to bat at Swansea and then restricted the Foxes to 235 for six. Gareth Rees (45 off 62 balls) and Mark Wallace (50 off 40) put on 84 in 12 overs, with Chris Cooke then smashing 85 from only 76 balls from number three. Murray Goodwin then continued his fine 2013 season by blitzing 48 off only 19 balls as the Glamorgan batsmen plundered 120 runs from the final 10 overs of the innings. Left-arm spinner James Sykes was the pick of the attack with two for 37, with Nathan Buck and Ben Raine also each picking up a brace of wickets.
Leicestershire then quickly slumped to 25 for three and 53 for four in their run chase and looked to be heading for a huge defeat. However, Niall O’Brien and Michael Thornely combined to add 133 in 22 overs. O’Brien fell eight short of his century to the excellent Jim Allenby (3-37), while Thornely made 68 off 62 balls. Tom Wells then added some spice to proceedings, blasting four sixes to finish on 32 off 12 balls. Glamorgan’s spin pair of Andrew Salter and Dean Cosker were again impressive and conceded just 66 from runs from 16 overs between them.
Tomorrow’s YB40 Fixtures: (all matches start at 1345 BST)
Group A, Kent v Nottinghamshire at Canterbury
Group A, Warwickshire v Northamptonshire at Edgbaston
Group A, Worcestershire v Sussex at New Road
Group B, Derbyshire v Hampshire at Derby
Group B, Durham v Surrey at Chester-le-Street
Group B, Lancashire v Essex at Old Trafford
Group C, Gloucestershire v Somerset at Bristol
Group C, Middlesex v Leicestershire at Lord’s
Group C, Yorkshire v Glamorgan at Headingley
Weather Forecast: Any early cloud should soon burn off, leaving a gloriously sunny day throughout England and Wales. Temperatures will peak widely at around 24 degrees Celsius.
© Cricket World 2013