Lancashire’s failure to chase down the 304 for that they needed to beat Middlesex, coupled with Surrey’s win over Nottinghamshire, was enough to send the county champions down into Division Two for 2013 less than 12 months after they won their historic title.
They were bowled out for just 194 from 32 overs after being set an unlikely 304 to win from 39. Karl Brown top-scored with an aggressive 33 from 24 balls, but Ravi Patel (four for 72) and Steven Crook (five for 48) shared nine wickets. Earlier, Middlesex had declared on 305 for nine in their second innings, with Chris Rogers (86) and Dawid Malan (95) taking their overnight third-wicket stand to 134. Glen Chapple took five for 47, but it was all ultimately in vain.
Nottinghamshire flopped in pursuit of 347 to win against Surrey and were bowled out for only 151. Surrey captain Gareth Batty led the way with four for 30 from 21 overs, while Murali Kartik and Kevin Pietersen picked up two wickets each. Neil Edwards, replacing Alex Hales, who was withdrawn by England ahead of the World Twenty20, top-scored for Nottinghamshire with 31.
Somerset completed their successful pursuit of 396 on the final day against Sussex at Hove as James Hildreth ended unbeaten on 101 to guide them home with five wickets to spare. Hildreth added 80 for the fifth-wicket with Alex Barrow (40) and an unbroken 166 for the sixth-wicket with Peter Trego, who struck a typically robust 89 not out off only 72 balls.
Three teams are separated by just six points at the top of Division Two following Kent’s win over Derbyshire at Canterbury. Chasing 404 to win, or more likely, hoping to survive for the draw, Derbyshire were all out for 181 in the 109th over of their second innings, with Matt Coles (three for 29) and Darren Stevens (four for 37) sharing seven wickets.
Essex look to have ended Hampshire’s hopes of promotion by wrapping up victory by 122 runs on the final day in Southampton. Set 425 to win, and resuming on 73 for three, the home side were dismissed for 302, in spite of an excellent century from their captain Jimmy Adams, who carried his bat for 139. He shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 160 with Liam Dawson (90), but Reece Topley and Ryan ten Doeschate ended with three wickets apiece as Hampshire lost six wickets for 57 runs.
County News In Brief:
Lancashire have released seam bowler Naqaash Tahir after only one season on the staff.
Northamptonshire have completed the signing of Surrey all-rounder Matthew Spriegel on a two-year contract.
Work will begin on Monday on the £38.5 million redevelopment of Hampshire's Ageas Bowl ground in Southampton. The revamp will include the construction of a hotel and is expected to be completed in time for the Test match against India in 2014.
Surrey have released opening batsman Tom Lancefield. The 21 year-old is a product of the county’s youth system.
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