There were draws all round as the ninth round of matches in the LV= County Championship drew to a close. However, there were a couple of interesting finishes as Kent only just escaped against Hampshire and Middlesex were set a difficult target by Sussex before pulling out.
Andrew Gale finally fell for a career-best 272 on the final day in Scarborough as Yorkshire’s match against Nottinghamshire petered out into a draw. Gale and Gary Ballance took their fifth-wicket stand to 297 before it was broken by Paul Franks having the latter caught by Chris Read for 141. Yorkshire eventually declared on 572 for eight shortly after Gale’s dismissal, with Nottinghamshire then reaching 105 for one in their second innings before the teams shook hands.
Middlesex were set 178 in 20 overs to beat Sussex at Lord’s but abandoned the chase when on 50 for three after a promising start. Luke Wright had earlier hit a career-best 187 to help Sussex make 454 in their second innings after they had been asked to follow-on. Wright shared 101 for the eighth-wicket with Will Beer (39) as Sussex recovered well from what looked like defeat.
Surrey were asked to follow-on against defending champions Warwickshire but had little difficulty in avoiding defeat and ended on 234 for four in their second innings at Guildford. Their last three first innings wickets had added only five runs in the morning as Keith Barker claimed two of them to end with four for 45. However, Rory Burns hit 85 to anchor the second and was supported well by most of the middle-order. Jeetan Patel got through 40 overs and picked up two for 77.
With a day to go at Taunton, Somerset have only just started their second innings and ended on seven for none after conceding a slender first innings lead to Durham. Resuming on 163 for three, Durham amassed 493 as Mark Stoneman completed a century and Ben Stokes (57) and Paul Collingwood hit half-centuries. There was also a knock of 70 from Michael Richardson at number eight.
In Division Two, Glamorgan declared in their second innings on 176 for two as the draw was agreed early on the final day at Bristol. Will Bragg was unbeaten on 77, with Ben Wright and Marcus North both making 33. Glamorgan had had success in the morning as they took the last six Gloucestershire wickets to fall for the addition of just 22 runs. Michael Hogan did the bulk of the damage and ended with career-best figures of seven for 92 to go with his earlier career-best 51 with the bat.
Kent escaped with a draw against Hampshire thanks to an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 46 in more than 20 overs between Calum Haggett and Adam Riley. Hampshire declared their second innings closed at 207 for three, with Liam Dawson and James Vince both unbeaten with half-centuries and benefiting from some declaration bowling from Rob Key and Sam Northeast. That left Kent needing 342 in 92 overs but they quickly slipped to 41 for four as David Balcombe struck twice. Daniel Bell-Drummond (66 off 156 balls) and Darren Stevens (96 off 105) then hit contrasting half-centuries and added 144 for the fifth-wicket to stage a recovery. However, they both fell in relatively quick succession, necessitating the rearguard from Haggett and Riley.
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