There were wins for Middlesex and Kent on the penultimate day of the current round of LV= County Championship matches. By Daniel Grummitt.
Hampshire finally declared on 627 for nine in their first innings against Somerset at Taunton to give themselves a 423-run first innings lead. Sean Ervine took his overnight score to 98 before falling as one of Charl Willoughby’s three victims, while Dimi Mascarenhas, Chris Wood and Imran Tahir all contributed cameos. Somerset were quickly reduced to 23 for three in reply as their top-order failed to fire once again. They steadily improved throughout the day, however, and closed on 266 for seven, with Alfonso Thomas unbeaten on 79 and Craig Meschede making 53.
Sussex were left battling for a draw at the close of the third day’s play against Durham at Hove. They reached stumps on 119 for four in pursuit of an impossible 521 for victory with Ed Joyce falling just prior to the close for 57. Earlier, Durham had advanced their overnight 93 for none to 366 for seven before declaring with Will Smith making exactly 100 and Paul Collingwood and Dale Benkenstein hitting half-centuries.
Ryan Sidebottom ended with a miserly five for 43 as Yorkshire bowled Warwickshire out for 318 in their first innings at Edgbaston to limit their arrears to just 37 runs. Yorkshire then responded strongly and closed 282 runs ahead on 319 for five, with Gary Ballance and Adil Rashid sharing an unbroken sixth wicket stand of 149. It marks a welcome return to form with the bat for Rashid who has endured a difficult season, while Ballance will be hoping to score the eight runs he needs for his century tomorrow morning to break his three-figure hoodoo.
Leicestershire succumbed to the inevitable 10-wicket defeat at Lord’s on the final day against Middlesex, with their last three wickets adding only 30 more runs as they were dismissed for 338. Toby Roland-Jones picked up the last two batsmen to fall to end with figures of four for 64. This left Middlesex needing only 36 for victory which they did without alarm.
Kent found the going slightly more difficult against Essex at Canterbury but still managed a comfortable six-wicket win over the visitors. David Balcombe took the last Essex wicket to fall to end with 10 in the match as they were all out for 185 in their second innings. The home side lost four early wickets – three of them to Graham Napier - on the way to their target of 71, but captain Geraint Jones steered them home with 28 from only 14 balls.
Gloucestershire collapsed to 341 all out in their first innings against Glamorgan, but their bowlers hit back to ensure that they ended day three with more than an even share of the spoils at Bristol. They had lost their last eight wickets for just 52 runs as Dean Cosker (two for 49), Graham Wagg (three for 92) and Jim Allenby (three for 42) dispensed with the lower-order, before bowling Glamorgan out for 148 second time around. Jon Lewis and Will Gidman were the heroes with the ball as they shared seven wickets to leave the home side needing 186 to win in their second innings. They closed on 53 for one.
Surrey amassed 410 for six before declaring on the third day against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road. Resuming on 115 for three, Steve Davies and Zander de Bruyn advanced the score to 321, before Davies was caught behind for 156 to give him 237 runs in the match. De Bruyn progressed to 108 before the visitors declared to set the home side an unlikely 486 to win. Pragyan Ojha picked up two late wickets to leave the Steelbacks on 103 for four.
Day Four, LV=CCD1, Somerset v Hampshire at Taunton
Day Four, LV=CCD1, Sussex v Durham at Hove
Day Four, LV=CCD1, Warwickshire v Yorkshire at Edgbaston
Day Four, LV=CCD2, Gloucestershire v Glamorgan at Bristol
Day Four, LV=CCD2, Northamptonshire v Surrey at Wantage Road
County News in Brief
Kent have been hit with an eight-point penalty for preparing a poor pitch during the recently concluded match against Essex.
Chaminda Vaas will continue as Northamptonshire's overseas player in 2012.
Reece Topley has announced that he is to leave school to concentrate on his cricket career. The 17-year-old said that he was disappointed with his recent set of AS Level results.
Leicestershire have cancelled their traditional end-of-season dinner to allow their players to depart as early as possible for the Champions League.
Matt Walker looks set to sign a player-coach role with Essex for 2012.
© Cricket World 2011