County Round-Up - 24th September 2013

Gatting presents Burns with award
Mike Gatting (right) presents Rory Burns with his Breakthrough Player Award.

The opening day of the final round of matches in this season’s LV= County Championship saw relegation candidates Derbyshire hold their own against Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire take the upper hand in their key match against Somerset. In Division Two, Northamptonshire are close to securing promotion after Essex endured a poor day against Hampshire.

Derbyshire, for the most part, had the better of the opening day of their must-win match against Warwickshire. However, an unbeaten century from Chris Woakes saw the Bears rally from 148 for seven to close on 285 for eight. Woakes added 69 with Jeetan Patel (40) for the eighth-wicket and an unbroken 68 with Maurice Chambers (14 not out) for the ninth. Earlier, only Ateeq Javid had made a meaningful contribution with 46 as Tim Groenewald took four wickets after Mark Footitt had removed both openers.

Nottinghamshire are well on the way to guaranteeing themselves the draw that will see them remain in Division One for 2014. They reached stumps against Somerset on 378 for seven at Trent Bridge thanks to centuries from Michael Lumb and David Hussey. The hosts didn’t have things their own way initially as Lewis Gregory struck twice to help reduce them to 76 for four. However, Lumb and Hussey added a mammoth 214 for the fifth-wicket prior to the latter’s departure to Craig Meschede (2-67) for 125. Somerset weren’t helped by the enforced removal of Jamie Overton midway through the 59th over for excessive short-pitched bowling.

Yorkshire closed on 316 for six as Gary Ballance celebrated his Ashes call-up by ending on 72 not out against Surrey. Phil Jaques had earlier hit 88 to guide the top-order as they lost wickets at fairly regular intervals. Matt Dunn struck twice, while there were also a brace apiece for Zafar Ansari and Tom Jewell as Surrey look towards the future with youth.

Newly-crowned champions Durham were humbled for just 164 by Sussex at Hove. James Anyon and Chris Jordan shared nine of the wickets to fall, with Jordan doing most of the early damage en route to figures of four for 50. Anyon then cleaned up most of the lower-order and finished with five for 44. Scott Borthwick top-score for the visitors with 36, while Will Smith made 32. Sussex then recovered from a nightmare start to close on 186 for five. They lost two early wickets to Graham Onions and then two more to Usman Arshad, but Luke Wright ended on 74 not out off just 60 balls.

In Division Two, Northamptonshire need 147 more runs to guarantee promotion after closing on 103 four in reply to Worcestershire’s 163 at New Road. With three bowling points in the bag, reaching 250 would give them the two batting points that would make it impossible for Essex to overhaul them. However, they are far from certain from reaching that total as Alan Richardson caused multiple problems and ended with two for 34 from 12 overs to help remove the top-order. Earlier, Andrew Hall had taken five for 30 as the hosts were bundled out for a poor total. Only Matthew Pardoe held firm initially as they slipped to 76 for seven. However, he found an unlikely ally in the form of Jack Shantry and the pair added 72 for the eighth-wicket and completed half-centuries.

Even if Northants do fail to secure the five points, it seems unlikely that Essex will win at Southampton as Hampshire romped to 398 for eight at stumps on day one. Michael Carberry, James Vince and Adam Wheater each made at least 80, with the latter ending undefeated on 82. Carberry added 100 with Vince for the third-wicket, with Wheater then finding support from Danny Briggs (20) to add 88 for the eighth. Greg Smith was the pick of the somewhat second-string Essex attack with four for 47.

Chris Dent hit 84 as Gloucestershire reached stumps on a slightly shortened opening day on 228 for eight against Glamorgan. Dent added 78 with Alex Gidman (31) for the second-wicket, but the innings rather fell away following his departure. Michael Hogan, Ruaidhri Smith and Dean Cosker each picked up a brace of wickets for the hosts.

Ashwell Prince hit 134 not out on an otherwise poor day for Lancashire’s batsmen at Canterbury. They closed on 269 for eight, with Karl Brown the only other man to make more than 20 with 42. Mark Davies, Adam Ball and James Tredwell each took two wickets for Kent, while there was a debut scalp for 19 year-old Matt Hunn.

Tomorrow’s Fixtures:
day two, LV=CCD1, Derbyshire v Warwickshire at Derby
day two, LV=CCD1, Nottinghamshire v Somerset at Trent Bridge
day two, LV=CCD1, Surrey v Yorkshire at The Oval
day two, LV=CCD1, Sussex v Durham at Hove
day two, LV=CCD2, Glamorgan v Gloucestershire at Cardiff
day two, LV=CCD2, Hampshire v Essex at Southampton
day two, LV=CCD2, Kent v Lancashire at Canterbury
day two, LV=CCD2, Worcestershire v Northamptonshire at New Road

Weather Forecast: Tomorrow should be very similar to today, with cloudy skies interspersed with plenty of sunny spells. Temperatures will peak at around 19 degrees Celsius.

County Cricket News In Brief:
Rory Burns has succeeded Joe Root as the winner of the LV= County Championship Breakthrough Player Award by winning a fan vote. The Surrey opener beat off competition from the likes of recent Ashes call-up Gary Ballance and T20 sensation David Willey to take the prize. Burns nominated the Tom Maynard Trust as his chosen charity to receive £1,000 from LV=.

Gloucestershire have signed former Middlesex left-arm spinner Tom Smith on a three-year contract. Smith has spent much of the 2013 season on loan at Bristol and was recently told to look elsewhere by Middlesex.

Yorkshire have signed Kane Williamson as their overseas player for the 2014 season. The New Zealander is currently at the club on a short-term contract. According to the ICC’s Future Tours Program, New Zealand are due to play West Indies in May and June of next year.

Will Smith has become the latest casualty of Durham’s financial woes and will not have his contract renewed at the end of the season. Durham have already offloaded Mitchell Claydon to Kent, with Callum Thorp and Steve Harmison expected to announce their retirements in the near future.

© Cricket World 2013