There were wins for Kent, Glamorgan and Sussex as the 2013 county season provided entertainment right up until the end. Darren Stevens was perhaps the day’s stand-out player, hitting a magnificent double-hundred as Kent pulled off a thrilling run chase over Division Two champions Lancashire.
Sussex secured the victory over champions Durham that saw them win the battle for third place in Division One. It also ended Durham’s hopes of achieving a record-breaking 11th win of the season. Set 295 in the fourth innings after ending the Durham second innings at 458, openers Chris Nash and Luke Wells added 163. Wells finally departed for 88, with Nash following not too long afterwards for 108, but skipper Ed Joyce ended unbeaten on 65 as they won by six wickets. Usman Arshad had earlier completed his maiden half-century and was ninth man out for 83 in the impressive Durham second innings.
Nottinghamshire and Somerset’s match at Trent Bridge petered out into a tame draw. The home side were all out for 298 in their second innings to leave Somerset needing 333 but with too little time to do so. Chris Jones ended on 55 not out as the visitors finished on 101 for one. James Taylor (55), Chris Read (52 not out) and Brett Hutton (42) had earlier all contributed to the Notts second innings total, while Peter Trego ended with four for 69 for the Cidermen.
Dominic Sibley was finally dismissed for 242 - the sixth highest score ever by a player aged under 19 in first-class cricket - as Surrey’s match against Yorkshire ended in the expected draw. Surrey declared their first innings at 634 for five with a lead of exactly 200 and were given cause for optimism early on in their push for victory. Yorkshire slipped to 21 for three thanks partly to a brace of wickets from Tim Linley (3-33). However, Gary Ballance hit his second century of the contest as his side finished on 265 for six. There was also a useful knock of 60 off just 71 balls from Kane Williamson.
Kent were given a boost at the end of a disappointing season by unexpectedly pulling of a last-day run chase of 418 against Division Two champions Lancashire. Resuming on 32 for one, they quickly slipped to 60 for three, but got home mainly thanks to a brilliant unbeaten double-hundred from Darren Stevens. Stevens finished on 205 off 218 balls and shared a sixth-wicket stand of 148 with Adam Ball, who made a career-best 69. Kent eventually won by two wickets in the 92nd over. Oliver Newby and Tom Smith were the picks of the Lancashire attack with three wickets apiece.
Glamorgan triumphed over Gloucestershire on the final day at Cardiff. They first extended their first innings to 306 before skittling the visitors for 132 and then knocking off the runs for the loss of only two wickets. All-rounders Jim Allenby (4-16) and Ruaidhri Smith (3-50) shared seven wickets as Gloucestershire imploded second time around, collapsing from 73 for one.
County Cricket News In Brief:
Monty Panesar’s troubled 2013 has gone from bad to worse with the news that he has received a one-match ban from the County Championship suspended for a year for two incidents during Essex’s game against Worcestershire earlier this month. Panesar accepted that he “did not conduct himself fairly and properly on the field” and that “his actions were potentially threatening and intimidating towards a member of the opposition.” A further breach of an ECB directive before the end of the 2014 season will result in the ban being implemented.
Middlesex have announced that they will not be offering new contracts to batsman Adam London and Scotland all-rounder Josh Davey. Both players have struggled to command a regular place in the first-team despite being on the staff for several seasons.
Former Kent all-rounder Matt Coles has impressed Hampshire sufficiently during his loan spell at Southampton to be offered a contract. The 24 year-old has signed a three-year deal. He had already turned down an offer of a new contract at Canterbury earlier this season, while Derbyshire were another club known to be interested in attracting his signature.
Durham have awarded contracts to three young cricketers. Current first-team all-rounder Jamie Harrison has had his contract extended until the end of the 2015 season. Meanwhile, Ireland wicket-keeper Stuart Poynter, who played for Warwickshire in their most recent Championship match against Derbyshire, has signed for 2014, as has 20 year-old Academy and MCC Young Cricketers all-rounder Graham Clark.
Nottinghamshire coach Mick Newell has told ESPNcricinfo that the club are hoping to sign a bowler as their overseas player for next season. The county struggled to bowl sides out twice this season as their tally of nine draws - the most by any team in Division One - testifies. Long-standing overseas player David Hussey was honoured today on the outfield at Trent Bridge.
Worcestershire's Moeen Ali has narrowly beaten off competition from Nottinghamshire's Samit Patel to win this season's FTI Most Valuable Player of the Year award. His prize is a cheque for £10,000.
Somerset have confirmed the worst kept secret in county cricket: that wicket-keeper Jos Buttler is to leave the club. The second worst-kept secret - his move to Lancashire - is expected to be confirmed on Wednesday. Somerset were unable to offer Buttler the guarantee that he could keep wicket so he has decided to move on to further his England aspirations. Lancashire released regular wicket-keeper Gareth Cross earlier this week and are likely to provide Buttler with that sort of guarantee.
© Cricket World 2013