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LV= Insurance County Championship 2022 Final Round Day 3: Wednesday 28th September - Latest News, Scores and Match Reports

LV= Insurance County Championship 2022 Final Round Day 3
LV= Insurance County Championship 2022 Final Round Day 3
©Cricket World / John Mallett

Here is all the latest news, scores and match reports for the LV= Insurance County Championship 2022 Final Round Day 3: Wednesday 28th September.

Top Tournament Stats -  LV= Insurance County Championship 2022

Top Batter (Runs Scored)

Top Bowler (Wickets taken)

Most Sixes

Points Table

Kent vs Somerset, Division 1

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On the day after they secured Division One status for another season, Kent thrashed Somerset by an innings and 151 runs the LV= Insurance County Championship at Canterbury. 

Hamid Qadri hit a career-high 87 as Kent made 492 in their first innings, a lead of 290. Although Kasey Aldridge recorded his best first class figures of six for 110, it was a day of pain for Somerset. 

Runs flew off the bat during the first hour, but when it was the visitors turn to bat they collapsed to 139 all out, Matt Quinn taking three for 14 and Nathan Gilchrist, Daniel Bell-Drummond and Qadri all taking two wickets apiece. 

The result means Kent leapfrog Somerset in the final standings and could finish as high as fifth, having been dogged by the fear of relegation for the second half of the season. 

The atmosphere at the Spitfire Ground was the most relaxed it had been all year and although Conor McKerr was removed early on for six, caught at third slip by Tom Abell off Craig Overton, the bowler limped off with an injury soon afterwards and the runs began to flow. 

Qadri might be considered as purely a spinner, but he averages over 43 in first class cricket and from his overnight score 27 not out, he raced past 50 with three boundaries off successive Jack Brooks deliveries, the third off which flew inches over the slip cordon. 

Gilchrist joined Qadri and put on 48 for the ninth wicket before he was bowled by Aldridge for 14 but Qadri then hit Green for two successive sixes and a four and he eventually fell 13 short of a maiden first class ton when he edged Aldridge behind.  

Somerset didn’t even make it to the tea interval, subsiding in 40.4 overs. Ollie Robinson was allowed to lead Kent into the field to mark his final game before leaving for Durham and he caught Andrew Umeed off Quinn for three in the third over. 

Qadri then bowled Abell middle stump for five, leaving Somerset on 19 for two at lunch.  

Quinn removed George Bartlett for four, caught by Tawanda Muyeye at short midwicket with the fifth ball of the afternoon session and Joey Evison took his maiden first class wicket for Kent when he drew an edge from James Rew, who fell for ten to a sharp catch by Daniel Bell-Drummond at third slip.  

Green was then dropped by Jack Leaning off Gilchrist and at this point a West Country voice in the crowd yelled: “Come on Somurrrrset, you’ve kept them up now get on with it!” In the next over Green was caught behind off Bell-Drummond. 

When Bell-Drummond then had Tom Lammonby caught by Zak Crawley at first slip for 23, Overton limped on without a runner immediately smacked a four, but he was clearly struggling and Nathan Gilchrist soon sent Aldridge’s off stump cartwheeling for 15. 

Gilchrist then had Overton caught by Crawley for a brave 12 and despite some entertaining swinging from Sajid Khan, who made 40 from 19 balls , the victory was confirmed when, having hit Qadri for successive sixes, he tried his luck for a third time and was caught on the boundary by Muyeye. 

Warwickshire vs Hampshire, Division 1

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James Vince and Keith Barker combined to strengthen Hampshire's hold on second place and push champions Warwickshire to the brink of relegation on the third day of their LV=Insurance County Championship clash at Edgbaston. 

Replying to the home side's 272 for four declared, Hampshire made 311 thanks to Vince (98, 150 balls) and former Edgbaston favourite Barker (76, 111).  

Warwickshire closed on 62 for two second time round - 23 ahead - but, after rain took out much of the first two days, a draw is overwhelmingly likely. That would secure runners up spot for Vince's side and send the Bears down. 

Warwickshire need to find something spectacular on the final day if they are not to follow the glory of the title with the embarrassment of relegation. Yorkshire's defeat to Gloucestershire at Headingley has left them a glimmer of hope but the Bears must win this match.  

Only some very quick runs in the morning, followed by ten rapid wickets on a good batting pitch, will keep them out of Division Two. It would be one of the greatest of escapes. 

Having declared early to move the game forward after much weather damage, Warwickshire needed a big morning with the ball when Hampshire resumed on four without loss. They didn't help themselves when Ian Holland was dropped at slip by Dom Sibley before scoring. Holland's opening partner Felix Organ was also missed before he had scored the previous evening. 

Norwell broke through when Organ edged again and this time Sibley clung on and Warwickshire gave their supporters hope by reducing Hampshire to 92 for five. Holland inside-edged Will Rhodes to wicketkeeper Alex Davies, Joe Weatherley edged Henry Brookes and Nick Gubbins played on to Norwell. When Ben Brown edged Norwell to gully, with Yorkshire wobbling in Leeds, the Bears fans were daring to dream. 

The dream dissipated in the light of partnerships of 75 in 11 overs between Vince and Nye Donald (36, 31 balls) and 63 in 24 between Vince and Barker before the captain edged Danny Briggs two runs short of his 28th first class century. 

Warwickshire's season-long struggle to polish off the lower order then persisted as Barker and James Fuller added 71 in 16 overs. Barker spent 149 minutes screwing down the lid on his old team's relegation coffin before sending up a catch off Brookes. 

In 16 overs before the close, the home side had no option but to attack and lost Rob Yates and Henry Brookes in the process, but further attack in the morning is their only escape route.  

Northamptonshire vs Essex, Division 1

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Ben Sanderson and Jack White removed Essex’s top order to bowl their side back into contention at the end of the third day of this LV= County Championship clash at Wantage Road.

Sanderson struck twice early in Essex’s second innings to account for Sir Alastair Cook and Tom Westley in consecutive maiden overs. White also picked up a wicket in successive overs to reduce the Eagles to 52 for five and snatch back the momentum after the hosts had conceded a first innings deficit of exactly 100.

Earlier Essex seamer Ben Allison returned career best bowling figures of five wickets for 32 as Northamptonshire were bundled out for 163. Allison’s maiden five wicket haul followed his heroics with the bat yesterday when he registered his highest score of  69 not out. With Shane Snater also taking two scalps, Northamptonshire lost their last five wickets for 16 runs. 

When bad light prompted an early finish Essex were 63 for five, a lead of 163, which sets up an intriguing final day tomorrow.

In the morning session, Will Young (37) and Luke Procter made a solid start extending their overnight partnership to 39, before Allison found some extra bounce to take Young’s glove with keeper Michael Pepper taking the catch.

Rob Keogh started brightly, playing a conventional sweep and reverse sweep off Simon Harmer for consecutive boundaries before the South African spinner spun one back to hit the stumps.

Procter cut Allison crisply for a boundary and had advanced to 28 when he played down the on-side to the same bowler and was well caught low down at leg slip by Matt Critchley.

Saif Zaib (18) played some attacking shots either side of lunch including a backfoot punch off Allison for four and a blow over extra cover off Harmer. But after driving Snater through cover to the ropes, he edged Snater’s next delivery to Harmer at second slip. 

It precipitated a lower order collapse as Northamptonshire fell from 147 for five to 163 all out. Two balls after Zaib’s wicket, Tom Taylor edged a well-directed short ball from Snater through to Pepper.

Allison was back in the action with some sharp work in the field to run out Gareth Berg before angling one back in to castle Ben Sanderson.

James Sales struck four boundaries in his 28 to ensure Northamptonshire passed 150. He had an early reprieve when Harmer put him down at second slip, taking a blow to his spinning fingers in the process and requiring attention from the Essex physio. However the young all-rounder eventually became Allison’s fifth victim when he edged to Cook at slip.

With the bat, Cook (10) offered two chances to the slips on 0 and 2 but both were missed by Emilio Gay and Young. He was out shortly afterwards when he drilled Sanderson straight to Taylor at cover. It meant he missed out by 34 runs on 1,000 for the season. In his next over Sanderson trapped Tom Westey lbw to leave Essex 23 for two

Nick Browne (18) looked solid throughout a lengthy stay at the crease, but after facing 63 balls Taylor got one to jag back and knock over his middle stump.

Dan Lawrence walked to the crease on a king pair and played and missed to his first ball from Sanderson. He looked skittish early on but started to settle, taking consecutive boundaries off Berg. His downfall came thanks to an ugly looking cut shot off White which flew to Emilio Gay who took a stunning diving catch at second slip.

White struck again in his next over when he got one to jag back and knock over Feroze Khushi’s stumps, but Matt Critchley, who played some pleasant shots including a drive straight down the ground off Taylor, was unbeaten on 14 at stumps.

On a day of presentations, Luke Procter was named player of the year by the Northamptonshire Supporters’ Club and presented with his award at lunch. He has so far scored 959 runs at an average of 56.41 this season with one innings left to bat in this match..

At tea Adam Rossington, who skippered Northamptonshire to promotion in 2019, was given a special presentation by the club to mark his eight years of service. He joined Essex on loan earlier this season ahead of signing a permanent deal.


Yorkshire vs Gloucestershire, Division 1

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Already relegated Gloucestershire completed a thrilling three-day victory at Headingley, defending 241, to heighten Yorkshire’s LV= Insurance County Championship relegation fears.

England fringe ODI seamer David Payne and fellow left-armer, the Pakistan spinner Zafar Gohar, claimed four wickets each and consigned the hosts to a sixth defeat in their last eight Division One games, bowling them out for 222, an 18-run margin. 

It means that if second-bottom Warwickshire beat Hampshire in the ongoing game at Edgbaston, they will overtake Yorkshire and relegate them. 

The hosts were set their target during the second half of the third morning and were going well at 69 for one before succumbing to the pressure of needing to win, despite a late and defiant unbeaten 79 off 103 balls from Dom Bess. 

Gloucestershire were bowled out for 233 in their second innings, and Yorkshire enjoyed as good a morning as they could realistically have hoped for, including George Hill getting both Price brothers.

Gloucestershire, 204 for six overnight, only added 29 more runs. 

Hill’s second ball, in the day’s 13th over, uprooted the off and middle stumps of Ollie Price for a well made 68, leaving the visitors at 226 for eight in the 73rd.

The skilful medium pacer, who would later add 36 with the bat, then trapped Tom Price lbw in his next over.

Earlier, Patterson made the initial breakthrough by trapping Gohar lbw. It was the seamer’s 489th and final first-class wicket.

The Gloucester innings was wrapped up when Ajeet Singh Dale was run out by a Matthew Fisher direct hit from mid-off, preceding the first of three standing ovations for Patterson, who has today ended 18 seasons with the county. 

Yorkshire lost James Wharton to the fourth ball of their chase having dragged on against Tom Price - five for one - but Adam Lyth and Hill united to share 65 for the second wicket either side of lunch.

Lyth drove nicely, while Hill used his feet with effect against Gohar’s dangerous left-arm spin, the Pakistani always likely to be the chief threat after five wickets in the first innings.

They shared 64 for the second wicket, and things were going nicely at 69 for one in the 21st over.

But the tide was about to turn, along with the atmosphere around the ground, as Yorkshire fell to 95 for four seven overs later, undermining their chances of a second win of the season. Their first was against Gloucester in their opening game.

Hill was trapped lbw by Singh Dale for 36 before Tom Kohler-Cadmore lofted Gohar to long-off, falling for seven on his final Yorkshire appearance before moving to Somerset.

As he departed, having also fallen to a loose top-edged pull at Gohar in the first innings, there was stony silence until he reached the boundary rope, where he was provoked into reacting to a comment from the crowd which he did not appreciate. 

Captain Jonny Tattersall lost his off-stump to Payne shortly afterwards.

Further damage was done by the same bowler when Harry Duke under-edged onto his middle stump as he tried to leave alone before Lyth gloved a vicious turner from Gohar to slip for 49, leaving Yorkshire at 119 for six in the 38th over. 

Bess led his side through to tea with no further damage, but Jordan Thompson flicked Gohar to leg slip not long afterwards - 155 for seven.

Thompson fell for 11, his first double-figure score in 12 Championship innings dating back to mid-June, and then Matthew Fisher edged Payne to first slip.

At 172 for eight with 69 needed, Bess opted to counter-attack. He hoisted Gohar for six over long-on on the way to a 68-ball fifty. But Ben Coad was trapped lbw by Gohar, leaving him and last man Patterson needing 50. 

Bess ramped, carved, cut and turned down singles to maintain strike in a last-ditch bid for guaranteed survival.

Patterson blocked determinedly for nought off 27 balls, but he cut Payne to Chris Dent at backward point with almost his first attacking stroke to leave Gloucester with a second win of 2022 and all Yorkshire eyes on Edgbaston tomorrow. Gohar finished with a superb nine wickets in the match. 


Lancashire vs Surrey, Division 1

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Lancashire wrapped up an impressive victory over County Champions Surrey inside three days as they signed off the season with a win by an innings and 130 runs. 

Left arm slow bowler Tom Hartley did the damage with the ball, with the 23-year-old claiming 5-52  and match figures of 8-80 after nine sessions of cricket which were utterly dominated by the hosts who dismissed the visitors for 173 in their second innings.

Resuming the first innings under bright autumnal sunshine, Will Williams and Tom Bailey began with the ball against Cameron Steel and Jordan Clark and it was Williams who made the breakthrough early when Clark played on to his stumps attempting to drive for five from 47 balls.

Matt Parkinson, who went on to take 3-57, had earlier taken the Sky cameras through some of the skills of leg spin but neglected to demonstrate the type of long hop that Jamie Overton somehow hit straight to Dane Villas at midwicket to depart for nine as the slow bowlers took charge.

Cameron Steel, who had shown a rare patience among the Surrey batters in compiling 47 off 163 balls, was next to go trapped in front by Hartley before Tom Lawes was bowled around his legs by the same bowler for 21.

A nice cameo from Kemar Roach rounded things off with the West Indian seamer hitting an entertaining 26, including a towering straight six off Parkinson, before he skied one to Williams.

With Surrey still trailing by 303 runs, Lancashire inevitably forced the follow on, and a three day finish looked on the cards.

Credit then to Rory Burns and Ryan Patel who set about things in the second innings with a great deal more determination than they had shown earlier.

Burns took the game to Parkinson and Hartley, regularly dancing down the wicket and displaying the kind of composure and dominance which has seen the ex-England opener enjoy such a fruitful season.

The first wicket pair had amassed 89 runs when Burns made his first mistake which proved lethal as he walked past a Hartley delivery and was bowled for 61.

Patel suffered from a similar lack of concentration four overs later when he swiped Parkinson to a diving George Balderson at mid on for 36 to leave Surrey 107-2 and Lancashire beginning to dream of a day off.

With Hashim Amla coming to the crease though, the hosts had a sizeable object to still remove, but Hartley did the trick with a sharply turning delivery that was given lbw despite pitching outside leg.

With Amla gone for 15 all fight seemed to disappear from a Surrey side left with little motivation for the role of blockers and Steel certainly fumbled his lines when he hesitated mid-pitch and was run out by Vilas for 23.

It was a nightmare spell for Surrey during which they lost six wickets for 24 runs in 15 overs with Tom Curran skying his fourth ball to Steven Croft for a duck before Jamie Smith was caught at short leg off Parkinson for 23.

Overton was then bowled around his legs by Hartley for one with Lawes also opting unwisely to attempt the same shot to the same bowler minutes later to hand Hartley his first five for in first class cricket.

With end of term vibes suddenly the order of the day, Bailey came back on to bowl some off spin and immediately accounted for his old teammate as Clarke was trapped in front for nine.

The last wicket pair of Moriarty and Roach hung around until 5.45pm by which time everyone was ready for a title presentation and umpire Martin Saggers duly obliged when he raised his figure to dismiss Roach lbw off Parkinson.

Derbyshire vs Leicestershire, Division 2

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Sam Evans held up Derbyshire’s victory charge on the third day of the LV=Insurance County Championship match against Leicestershire at Derby.

The opener stood firm to give his side a chance of saving the game after Derbyshire declared on 568 for 9, their highest score against Leicestershire, and a lead of 319.

It was the fifth time this season Derbyshire have scored 500 or more in a first-class innings, a club record, with Wayne Madsen’s 92 making him the leading run scorer in the championship so far on 1,273.

Leicestershire’s promising teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed finished with 5 for 114 from 28.2 overs in his third first-class match and Evans provided the visitors with more encouragement with an unbeaten 59 out of 131 for 2 when bad light ended play. 

There was ice on the outfield early in the morning but the game started in glorious early autumn sunshine although the prospects for Leicestershire were less bright.

Derbyshire already had a lead of 107 with eight wickets intact although they quickly lost Billy Godleman who edged a drive at Roman Walker without adding to his overnight 158.

Madsen and Leus du Plooy accelerated against some indifferent bowling with the exception of Ahmed who induced a few false strokes and exerted a measure of control.

The-18-year-old  removed du Plooy who drove back a return catch but Derbyshire’s lead had increased to 219 by lunch with Madsen eying yet another century.

He was eight short when he tried to cut the 147th ball he faced and was caught behind off Walker but, if he does not bat again this season, he has scored 1800 runs in all formats.

Ahmed bagged two more wickets as the lower order hit out ahead of the declaration with Ben Aitchison caught at long off and Nick Potts bowled charging the leg-spinner after Chris Wright uprooted Alex Thomson’s middle stump with a swinging yorker.

Faced with scoring 319 runs to make Derbyshire bat again, Leicestershire’s first task was to negotiate 10 overs before tea which they managed assisted by bowling that was too short.

Derbyshire’s attack adjusted their lines after the interval and made the first breakthrough in the second over of the evening session when Sol Budinger tried to pull Anuj Dal and got a steepling top edge to mid on.

It was hardly the shot the situation demanded but Sam Evans and Louis Kimber displayed better judgement to add another 54 runs in 14 overs before another rash stroke ended the stand.

The introduction of Luis Reece’s medium pace from the City End tempted Kimber into a pull at his third ball and Sam Conners took the catch just inside the rope at deep midwicket.

But Evans and Lewis Hill dug in for 11 overs to leave Derbyshire with work to do on the final day.

Sussex vs Glamorgan, Division 2

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Captain Tom Haines completed two hundreds in the same day and opening partner Ali Orr thrashed a magnificent unbeaten 185 to transform Sussex’s fortunes and end Glamorgan's promotion hopes in the LV= County Championship.

Haines, who had resumed on 34, became the first Sussex batsman since 2014 to carry his bat with 108 but Sussex were still bowled out for 258 in their first innings and followed on 275 behind at the 1st Central County Ground.

At that stage of the third day Glamorgan were firmly on course for the victory that would have kept their hopes of climbing out of Division Two alive. 

But as it emerged that rivals Middlesex were getting themselves into an unbeatable position against Worcestershire to claim second spot, Glamorgan spirits seemed to sag and after tea and Orr and Haines took full advantage.

By stumps they had put on a magnificent 311 together in only 53 overs, with 190 of their runs coming in boundaries. Orr finished 185 not out (163 balls, 18 fours, 9 sixes) and Haines will resume on 121 (157 balls, 16 fours) with Sussex now 37 runs in front after a remarkable day produced 481 runs.

Earlier, Haines and 18-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Charlie Tear had provided the only resistance as Sussex twice collapsed, losing three wickets for 18 runs in the first hour before their last four went for six runs in just four overs.

James Harris sparked the first collapse when he picked up two wickets in four balls when Tom Clark was caught behind off a flat-footed waft and Dan Ibrahim unwisely tried to pull a ball outside off stump which cannoned into his stumps. Fynn Hudson-Prentice was also guilty of a poor shot as he gave Patel an easy return catch before Haines and Tear came together.

They added 95 for the seventh wicket with Haines reaching his second hundred of the season, having made 234 against Derbyshire back in April.

Tear caught the eye too, and at one stage he hit six successive balls from New Zealand Test spinner Ajaz Patel to the boundary as he made his maiden half-century in only his second appearance.

But when Tear played back to Tim van der Gugten Sussex folded again with the last three batsmen all out for ducks. Haines, who offered one sharp chance to David Lloyd at slip, walked off to a standing ovation having faced 169 balls and hit 14 fours. 

Ten minutes later he was walking out to bat again and soon he and Orr were hurtling along at seven runs an over as Glamorgan’s five-man attack toiled for a breakthrough.

Orr reached his fifty by hoisting Patel out of the ground for six and he needed just 38 more balls to get to his century, hitting Patel for three successive sixes at one stage. Just 41 deliveries were needed for his next 50 runs and the next milestone ticked off was his career best 141 which he passed with a reverse sweep to the boundary off Patel, whose eight overs so far have gone for 78.

He wasn’t the only bowler to suffer on a pitch offering little assistance. Orr passed 1,000 runs for the season when he got to 153 and shortly afterwards Haines was raising his bat for the second time in the day to acknowledge a standing ovation after reaching his century. He is the first Sussex batter to score two hundreds in the same match since Mike Yardy against Yorkshire in 2011.

At stumps the two left-handers had set a new record partnership for any wicket against Glamorgan after passing Luke Wells and Ben Brown’s 294 at Hove in 2016 while there have only been three bigger opening stands in the county’s history.

Nottinghamshire vs Durham, Division 2

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Nottinghamshire secured promotion to Division One of the LV= Insurance County Championship and are effectively Division Two champions already, although their supporters will have to wait until the final day of the season to see it mathematically confirmed.

They bowled Durham out for 207 just 10 overs after lunch in reply to their mammoth 662 for five declared. Yet they eschewed the chance to win the title with a flourish - and perhaps a day to spare - by not enforcing the follow-on, to the bemusement of some spectators.

In the event, after bad light kept the players off for the best part of an hour,  Nottinghamshire declared their second innings on 121 for two, with Haseeb Hameed 49 not out, and Joe Clarke on 48.

It left Durham, now 576 behind, with 14 overs to face when they re-emerged, of which eight were possible before the light closed in again.They finished 14 for two, having lost lost Sean Dickson, caught at third slip fending at Stuart Broad for a duck, and nightwatchmen George Drissell leg before to Luke Fletcher for six.

The reasoning behind Nottinghamshire’s decision to bat a second time was the subject of much speculation.

What was known is that it had been supposed that only a win in this match would ensure Nottinghamshire finished ahead of nearest pursuers Middlesex to be champions, but the seven bonus points they took from the first innings changed the equation, meaning a draw would be enough.

As well as guaranteeing that Nottinghamshire finished in the top two, those points meant that provided they did not lose this match, they would be champions even if Middlesex took maximum points from their match at Worcester.

That outcome would leave both sides level on points, wins and defeats in the Division Two table, but with Nottinghamshire ahead on the head-to-head - the third tie-breaker in the competition rules. Both matches between the sides this season ended in draws, but Nottinghamshire gained more bonus points.

With a lead of 455 and Durham a key batter short after David Bedingham dislocated a shoulder in the field, Nottinghamshire were odds-on to win by an innings and quite possibly before the end of the day.

That cannot now happen, although at least spectators will be able to witness the last-day denouement at no cost, the club having announced that tickets for Thursday’s play would be free of charge.

Earlier, two down for 53 and still 609 behind overnight on first innings, Durham were in dire straits at 155 for six at lunch.

Scott Borthwick, who struck three positive early boundaries despite protecting a broken finger, cut Fletcher straight into the hands of backward point. George Drissell, the nightwatchman, looked capable of hanging around but then gave a tame catch to midwicket.

Nic Maddinson, whose contribution as Durham’s second overseas batter of the season has been notable mainly for the incident of the oversized bat, went on the attack, smiting three sixes off Liam Patterson-White’s left arm spin.

Yet his violent innings ended with a tentative push at a ball from Broad, giving first slip a regulation catch. New batsman Chris Benjamin was snapped up at short leg in the next over, giving Patterson-White his second wicket.

It left Durham in a sorry state, which worsened immediately after lunch when Ben Raine was leg before to Dane Paterson. Jonathan Bushnell batted nicely for his 37 in only his fourth first-class match before he nudged the spinner to slip.

Matty Potts decided on the Maddinson approach and Patterson-White conceded two more sixes, but after two boundaries in a row off Paterson matched Maddinson’s 40, Potts holed out to deep wicket, ending the Durham innings and giving Nottinghamshire a third batting point, securing promotion.  Paterson finished with three for 50, Patterson-White three for 72.

After Nottinghamshire’s decision to bat again, Potts picked up his 58th wicket of the season as Ben Slater edged to first slip, before Matt Montgomery fell for nine following his first-innings 178, giving a similarly straightforward catch to second slip.

Bad light - the bane of late September - cricket, descended at 4.35pm, which meant Nottinghamshire probably would not have had time to bowl Durham out again in any event.  The loss of overs prompted the Nottinghamshire declaration, which among other things denied Clarke his last opportunity to score that elusive first hundred of the season.

Worcestershire vs Middlesex, Division 2

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Middlesex are on the verge of clinching promotion to Division One of the LV=Insurance County Championship after century-maker Steve Eskinazi, John Simpson and Pieter Malan played major roles in them securing maximum batting points against Worcestershire at New Road.

A boundary by Eskinazi off Ed Barnard ensured the 400 run mark was achieved with 10 balls to spare of the 110 overs permitted for bonus points.

The efforts of the trio earned their side a first innings lead of – with Simpson becoming the first Middlesex keeper-batter to complete 1,000 first class runs in a season since Keith Brown in 1991.

With only a draw required to secure a top two spot, it will require something of extra-ordinary proportions on the final day to prevent the champagne corks from popping tomorrow afternoon after they obtained a lead of 284.

Simpson joined Mark Stoneman from earlier in the game in achieving four figures this summer with Max Holden (749) and Sam Robson (708) also making significant contributions with the bat.

On the bowling front, Toby Roland-Jones has been a magnificent leader of the attack at the age of 34 with his season’s best haul of 67 victims and with power to add on the final day of the season.

But Tim Murtagh (30), Tom Helm (29) and Ethan Bamber (25) have also provided invaluable support.

After a mid-season wobble of five games without a win, Middlesex recaptured the successful formula in four-day cricket in defeating Glamorgan and Leicestershire and dominating the opening three days at New Road.

For Worcestershire, the highlight of the day was Gareth Roderick’s six catches, equalling the most in an innings by one of their players in Championship cricket.

But, apart from Dillon Pennington, whose two wickets took his tally for the season to 44, their bowlers were unable to bowl a sufficiently consistent line and length to apply pressure.

Middlesex resumed on 146-2 and added only nine runs before Josh Tongue made the first breakthrough as Holden (44) nibbled at a ball which left him and keeper Roderick held onto a low catch.

There was a considerable amount of playing and missing in the opening half hour and a delay as the transfers on Eskinazi’s bat were leaving marks on the ball.

But the visitors gradually began to flourish with Malan’s straight drive for four off Barnard one of the most eye-catching strokes as the first batting point was secured in the 62nd over.

Malan had scored 141 and 77 not out for Warwickshire in a Championship match on the same ground last summer and looked well set for another century.

But on 93 there was little he could do about a ball of extra bounce from Matthew Waite which cut back into him and he nicked through to Roderick.

His excellent 182 ball knock contained one six and 17 fours.

Simpson needed 53 more runs to complete 1,000 in a campaign for the first time and batted with typically aggressive intent from the start.

He and Eskinazi eased Middlesex past the Worcestershire total and batting began to look slightly more easier.

Their half century stand occupied only 11 overs and Worcestershire Club Captain, Brett D’Oliveira, brought himself into the attack for the first spin of the match.

The second new ball was taken at 275-4 but runs continued to flow and Eskinazi pulled Tongue for his 10th boundary to complete a 104 ball half century.

Simpson went to the same mark with a four to third man, also off Tongue, and a cover drive off the same bowler took him to the 1,000 mark in the campaign.

He then planted Waite over mid wicket for six and looked set for a fourth hundred of the season but on 92 he was bowled behind his legs by Ben Gibbon.

Simpson struck one six and 13 fours in his 121 ball innings and added 157 in 37 overs with Eskinazi.

Eskinazi, the leading scorer last month in the Royal London Cup with 658 at an average of 94.00, was not to be denied and cut Gibbon for two to complete a 179 ball hundred with 16 fours.

Roderick held onto a fine catch running back from behind the wicket to dismiss Ryan Higgins from the last ball before tea by Barnard.

The all-important 400 milestone was reached when Eskinazi flicked Barnard to fine leg.

Luke Hollman (9) gave Roderick another scalp off Waite and then catch number six for the keeper away to his left finally accounted for Eskinazi on 115 on Pennington’s return to the attack.

Jake Libby had a rare bowl and dismissed Ethan Bamber and Tim Murtagh but Roland-Jones enjoyed himself with some late hitting in his 58 ball fifty as he brought up the 500.

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