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LV= INSURANCE COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 16 Day 1: All the Match Scores, Reports and Scorecards September 21st 2021

©Cricket World / John Mallett
 

LV= INSURANCE COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 16 Day 1: All the Match Scores, Reports and Scorecards September 21st 2021

 

 

Tuesday September 21st  - Friday September 24th 2021

 

Essex vs Northamptonshire, Group 2 The Cloudfm County Ground, 10:30AM

 

Sam Cook took nine wickets as Essex and Northamptonshire shared 25 wickets on a bonkers first day on their LV=Insurance County Championship clash.

Northamptonshire were skittled for 81 – with Cook grabbing five for 21 and his 50th scalp of the season – before Essex were restricted to 170 and an 89-run first-innings lead.

The visitors then lost five wickets against the new ball to end the day 23 for five, a deficit of 66, with Essex knowing a victory will hand them the Division Two trophy.

Cook ended with incredible day figures of nine for 29, already a career-best.

Having won the toss and batted, Ricardo Vasconcelos was the first of seven leg before victims – a joint record for Essex – before Porter pinned him in the third over.

Luke Procter saw his off stump cartwheeling backwards, Rob Keogh was lbw to Cook and Saif Zaib plumb in front to Shane Snater – the visitors 36 for four.

Gay showed skill in his innings – mixing five boundaries with vague stickability – although was slow to get his bat down to be lbw to Porter.

Josh Cobb, on his first red-ball appearance in two years, handed Cook his 50th scalp of the season when he was lbw before Tom Taylor edged behind three balls later.

Adam Rossington swept a six but was lbw next ball, Simon Kerrigan was lbw to give Cook his fifth and then Porter rounded off the innings by producing an edge off James Sales’ bat, which flew to Alastair Cook at first slip.

During the lunch interval, Essex bid farewell to club legend Ryan ten Doeschate and retired the No.27 shirt – the Holland international returning after 19 seasons at the county.

Despite it being high-quality bowling rather than gremlins in the pitch that cost Northamptonshire, Essex attacked in reply.

They had wiped out Northamptonshire’s total by the end of the 15th over, however had lost their first four wickets by the same point.

Nick Browne lasted until the sixth over when he edged to first slip, Essex having already scored 39, before Alastair Cook pushed to third slip.

Josh Rymell was bowled through the gate by Procter and Lawrence – standing in as captain with Tom Westley’s wife expecting the couple’s first child – was caught by Berg after a 999mph innings fully of wristy shot play.

Michael Pepper and Simon Harmer both tamely edged to point, Paul Walter played over a straight ball to be bowled by Taylor, Snater and Sam Cook tickled behind and Wheater rounded off the innings when he was bowled for 34.

Essex won a first-innings lead and in 13 evening overs managed to make inroads as Vasconcelos was lbw to Cook and Gay flicked Porter behind.

Keogh was caught Cook bowled Cook, nightwatchman Kerrigan nicked off and second nightwatchman Sales was castled to the last ball of an exhilarating day.

 Essex fast bowler Sam Cook, who took nine wickets in the day:

“We rocked up loss the toss but we like to bowl first here at Chelmsford especially with the 10:30am start. It started like a pretty decent wicket which didn’t have a heap of movement.

“Ports started really well and it was nice to back him up and then the rest of the day was a bit of a whirlwind.

“On a personal level I liked the pitch but I think when the ball does a bit both teams played pretty positively and there were shots from both teams in there they probably won’t be too happy with.

“When you get on a roll on these sorts of days you have to keep your rhythm and keep on putting the ball in a good area – and we managed to do that.

“There is a bit there but I don’t think it is drastic, there is just enough. Sometimes when it is the odd ball it draws you in as a batsman. Sometimes it is the pitch which doesn’t do it every ball that gets you wickets as a bowler – I think that is the case today. Some days all the nicks carry and all the lbws are given.”

Northamptonshire head coach David Ripley:

“The pitch didn’t look like it would be the tale of the day. We thought it might spin a bit and we chose to bat on the balance of trying to get through the first hour where we knew it would be challenging, but knowing it would be challenging for Essex on day four with turn – but that went ot the wall pretty quickly as the ball nibbled like it did.

“I don’t know how to assess it with the umpires and CLO. It will be interesting to hear what they say about it. 25 wickets in a day’s cricket isn’t what I think people pay to see, but I don’t think there was any intent there.

“There was some disappointing dismissals but a lot of the wickets were genuinely nick offs or hit on the shin. I thought the ball moved around excessively for 25 wickets, I don’t think you can put that down to the batters.

“I think if Ben Sanderson had put his hand up to play, he has a bad knee, I would have backed him to bowl well on that surface and inked five wickets next to his name.

“We have to believe there is a way back because it is such a low scoring match but we are going to need a full day’s cricket. We need Procter to grind it down or a Rossington, Taylor or Cobb striking it out the park and then have a golden spell with the ball to set about some panic.”

Gloucestershire vs Durham, Group 2 Bristol County Ground, 10:30AM

 

Pakistan spinner Zafar Gohar took his second consecutive five-wicket haul as Gloucestershire edged the opening day against Durham at Bristol with the visitors bundled out for 140 before the hosts closed 146 for six.

Gohar, the left-armer from Lahore, took six for 43 to bowl his side to victory at Cardiff last week and followed up with five for 50 back at Nevil Road.

It was a disaster for Durham having won the toss, losing six for 31 in 12 overs after lunch.

The day began in pleasant sunshine but play was suspended after only five balls as a helicopter burred overhead.

Sadly, it was the emergency services who landed on the outfield and the South Western Ambulance Service said “the Air Ambulance landed to support their response to an emergency incident at a nearby residential address”.

After a 20 minute delay, David Payne struck twice in two balls. He swung one back from a full length to trap Michael Jones lbw for 6 and next ball had the left-handed Scott Borthwick squared up and edging to first slip.

Alex Lees took Gohar for three consecutive boundaries in his first over but the left-arm spinner had his man in the over before lunch. Lees, on 40, missed with an attempted sweep and as the ball cannoned away of his pad it caught the back of his bat and looped to slip.

Gohar had Daniel Bedingham also held at slip but in far more conventional fashion as he prodded forward and Durham took lunch in trouble at 78 for four.

After the break, Paul Coughlin, for nine, and Liam Trevaskis, first ball, both swept Gohar to deep square before Ben Raine, with only No. 11 Chris Rushworth for company, charged and poked him to point.

Gloucestershire’s other left-arm spinner, Graeme van Buuren, also enjoyed success with three for 28. Ned Eckersley chipped a catch to cover for 20, Matt Potts drove a catch straight back to the bowler before perhaps the delivery of the day bowled Graham Clark with one that spun past his outside edge.

In reply, Gloucestershire were well placed at 93 for three as van Buuren, who made 62, shared a stand of 51 with Tom Lace but neither could get through to the close and when Ryan Higgins fell in the final over of the day, Durham were back in the match.

-

Kent vs Middlesex, Group 3 Canterbury, 10:30AM

 

Kent are 82 for four on day one of their LV= Insurance County Championship game at Canterbury, trailing Middlesex by 65. 

Darren Stevens took four for 21 for the hosts, including a spell of three for three from five overs, while Matt Milnes claimed two for 31 and Nathan Gilchrist two for 34. Mark Stoneman was Middlesex’s top scorer with 59, but the visitors collapsed from 121-2 to 147 all out.  

Tim Murtagh then took two for 19 as Kent navigated a perilous final session, Ollie Robinson and Milnes the not out batsmen at stumps on 11 and nought respectively. 

Second hosted first in the final red-ball fixture of the season, with the winners guaranteed to finish top of Division Three. 

Kent won the toss, chose to bowl and entered the field to a standing ovation, following Saturday’s triumph in the Vitality Blast at Edgbaston. 

Sam Robson made 13 before he was caught behind off Nathan Gilchrist and Stevie Eskinazi was lbw to Stevens for 15, but Middlesex made it to lunch without further loss, ending the session on 84-2. 

Stoneman brought up his fifty with a straight drive to Milnes that went for three, but Middlesex then lost five wickets for ten runs. Stoneman chopped a Stevens delivery onto his stumps and Stevens then trapped Max Holden lbw for a six-ball duck, before Grant Stewart sent Martin Andersson’s middle stump flying for nought. 

Stevens’ fifth over of the session saw him get John Simpson caught behind for six and Luke Hollman went for golden duck when he was lbw to Marcus O’Riordan.  

Toby Roland-Jones made nine when he chipped Milnes to a tumbling Stevens at mid-on and Ethan Bamber lasted just three balls before edging Gilchrist to Jack Leaning at third slip, without scoring. Murtagh then went for the fifth duck of the innings when Milnes yorked his leg stump to end the afternoon session. 

Kent’s reply got off to a rocky start when Jordan Cox left a ball from Murtagh that clipped his off stump, bowling him for two. Zak Crawley, captaining the side in the absence of Sam Billings, was caught behind off Bamber 20 and Daniel Bell Drummond was lbw for 20 to Murtagh. Leaning was then bowled by Anderson for 27, leaving Milnes to survive the two overs as night-watchman. 

Kent’s Darren Stevens said: “It’s evenly poised at the minute. I think when they were 120-odd for two, to bowl them out for what we did is a bonus. When they had Stoneman in there it was a little bit of a worry because we know he’s a class player and getting to fifty he’d have expected to get on, because the pitch wasn’t doing too much.  

“We’ve got to knuckle down tomorrow and get stuck in. It’s a shame the top order are out, if we could have had one of them in with Robbo we would probably have been just ahead of the game. Milnesy can bat as night-watchman, he was biting at the bit upstairs and wanted it. If we can get some sort of lead on there it’ll be good. 

On winning the Blast and the feelgood factor around the ground: “We were talking in the middle, saying that for the first day of a champo game, on a Tuesday in September, we just want to say massive thanks to the fans for coming out and supporting us. It hasn’t really sunk in yet, it was such a great day, not only for the lads, but also for the Kent supporters and the Kent family. I want more trophies! If we can win this game and finish top of the third division we’ve had a phenomenal year really.” 

Middlesex’s Mark Stoneman said: “It was the kind of surface where there was always something on offer. We got some rewards when they missed their line and length but surface wise there’s definitely something in it for the seamers and I think the lads really stuck to their task well on a longish session for us. I’d imagine they walked off at lunch feeling they hadn’t done as well as they’d have liked and they certainly addressed that in the middle session. As it is we’ve done a good job there going into tomorrow morning.”  

Lancashire vs Hampshire, Group 1 Liverpool CC, 10:30AM

 

Lancashire look to have the slight advantage in their must win game against Hampshire at Aigburth after dismissing the visitors for just 143 in the first innings of what could be a thrilling Championship decider.

Just six-and-a-half points separated the top four teams in Division One at the start of play, with Hampshire in pole position and Warwickshire, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire hot on their heels.

But following an impressive opening day with the ball in Liverpool, Lancashire stuttered with the bat, closing on 25-3 after losing both Alex Davies and George Balderson to Mohammad Abbas’ accurate swing bowling.

The day begun well for the Red Rose, who having won the toss and inserted Hampshire, quickly reduced their opponents to one for one after Ian Holland was snaffled at short leg by Dane Vilas off Tom Bailey for just a single.

The second wicket pair of Joe Weatherley and Tom Alsop dug in diligently to compile a partnership of 42 before all rounder Balderson entered the attack and removed Alsop who edged to Danny Lamb at second slip for 24.

One wicket quickly became two as Balderson enticed Nick Gubbins to edge his third ball through to wicketkeeper Davies without scoring, with Lancashire celebrating again when the former England Under 19s skipper, who finished with figures of three for 21, ended Weatherley’s resistance with another nick to Davies, leaving Hampshire 48 for four.

A massive stroke of luck accounted for Liam Dawson, who departed after lunch for ten, when his drive was deflected onto the stumps by Bailey’s fingertips, before the key figure of James Vince was dismissed in the same over attempting a big drive which was edged through to Davies.

At this point the league leaders were 71 for six which became 91 for seven when Davies took a stunning catch down the leg side off Luke Wood to dismiss Keith Barker for nine.

Some resistance was badly needed and Felix Organ and Mason Crane provided it with the latter taking full advantage of being dropped on 0 to help take Hampshire to 129 before Matt Parkinson claimed his first victim of the game with the dismissal of Organ, caught by Josh Bohannon, for 22.

Parkinson would go on to take the final two wicket to finish with three for nine, but his teammates failed to press home the advantage as Abbas bowled Davies for four and tempted Balderson to edge behind for five either side of Barker trapping Luke Wells in front without scoring.

Matt Parkinson, Lancashire, said:

"We bowled very well and at one stage I didn't think I was going to get a bowl because the seamers were fantastic. To lose those three wickets wasn't ideal but it was still a decent day.

"I've probably not cleaned up the tail enough in my career and it was nice to contribute and I think the pitch will spin. We're backing Luke Wells to be our second spinner and I was surprised they went with three spinners.

"The first hour tomorrow will be massive. We need to try and push on and get 200 / 250 and we're trying not to look at the other results. It's tough when we're batting and I'll be honest I've been on my phone the whole time which is bad. 

"The main thing we can do is focus on here and as long as we win it gives us a chance of winning the Championship."

 

Mason Crane, Hampshire, said:

"A club ground in September is never going to be easy and we identified pretty early on that it wasn't going to be a massive score but we scrapped and fought to the end and the way we bowled at the end was brilliant.

"We're pretty confident that if we get a couple of wickets in the morning we could be looking at a lead and we're pretty happy with the position we're in.

"I think the wicket will spin and I'll have a role. We feel like we have all the options and come what may whatever conditions there are or what pitch this turns into we'll have all bases covered."

 Nottinghamshire vs Yorkshire, Group 1 Trent Bridge, 10:30AM

Joe Clarke posted his first hundred of the season as title-contenders Nottinghamshire recovered from 147 for five to 292 for nine on the opening day of their LV=Insurance County Championship match with Yorkshire.

The classy strokeplayer, who had passed fifty in seven previous innings this year but managed a top score of only 67, was dropped on 59 and 88 but made the most of his good fortune, hitting 15 fours and a six before falling for 109.

He shared a 97-run seventh-wicket partnership with 19-year-old all-rounder Joey Evison (58) to help Nottinghamshire to a total they will feel was a good effort after being asked to bat first on a well-grassed pitch that kept the Yorkshire seam bowlers interested for much of the day.

Yorkshire - for whom 20-year-old wicketkeeper Harry Duke held six catches  - had the upper hand at lunch and tea with three wickets in each of the first two sessions.

And though the home side lost three more wickets in the final session, they picked up two potentially vital batting bonus points - and may yet claim a third - after beginning the final round of matches as one of four teams still in the hunt for the Championship pennant.

Nottinghamshire lost both openers in consecutive overs an hour into the day. England batsman Hasseb Hameed played loosely at a wide delivery from Matt Fisher, while Ben Slater pushed at one from all-rounder George Hill that tickled the edge as wicketkeeper Harry Duke claimed the first two of five catches in the innings.

Although Clarke looked in ominous form, collecting four boundaries in quick succession off Fisher, Nottinghamshire lost a third wicket as Ben Duckett sliced Hill to backward point and were 79 for three at lunch.

By tea, Clarke was not out on 65 but had lost three more partners, all three caught behind. Steven Mullaney, who had hit Hill for three fours in one over to the short boundary on the Bridgford Road, prodded indecisively at Ben Coad, Tom Moores nibbled at one from Jordan Thompson and Coad made Liam Patterson-White his second victim.

In between, Clarke had his first escape as Adam Lyth shelled a straightforward chance at second slip off Coad, who is captaining Yorkshire for the first time with Steve Patterson sidelined by injury.  Lyth was the guilty fielder again when Clarke was dropped off spinner Dom Bess after tea.

Evison completed a maiden half-century off 97 balls just before Lyth finally did make a catch and Clarke was on his way, Coad picking up his third wicket in the ninth over with the second new ball. Matthew Revis, Yorkshire’s 19-year-old seamer, dismissed Brett Hutton and Luke Fletcher to claim his maiden first-class wickets in his third appearance.

Yorkshire are also without Gary Ballance, who is unwell, and Dawid Malan, who joins Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and David Willey in being rested ahead of the winter international programme.

Nottinghamshire centurion Joe Clarke said:

“For me there’s a bit of relief in getting a hundred because I’ve had a few starts this year, a few fifties, so it is nice to convert one. There’s been a few jokes about me not being able to convert and I think the lads are pleased for me to do it this time.

“From a team point of view, we know we are just a few runs short of a another point that could be potentially crucial at the end of these four days, so that’s what we’ll be looking to tick off in the morning.

“But in the context of the game we feel we have got more than par on that wicket at the moment. It is one where if the bowler lands it in the right place it does a bit and I think our seamers will enjoy bowling on it tomorrow.”

Yorkshire’s stand-in captain Ben Coad said:

“It is a pitch where there is always something in it. When it does nip, it does it a lot but I don’t think we bowled as well as we could do today and they are a little bit over par.

“Adam (Lyth) has put down a couple of chances but these things happen and if we bat like I know we can there is no reason we can’t match their total.

“The young lads, when they are called on, are doing a great job. Harry (Duke) has taken six catches today, George Hill has not bowled that many first-class overs and yet today he bowled brilliantly, and Rev (Matthew Revis) at the end there with the second new ball, which is a big ask, has done a great job.”

Surrey vs Glamorgan, Group 2 Kia Oval, 10:30AM

 

David Lloyd’s career-best 121 spearheaded Glamorgan’s impressive 379 for 4 as the Welsh county dominated the first day of their LV= Insurance County Championship second division match against Surrey at the Kia Oval.

Two wickets in quick succession after tea, including that of opener Lloyd, gave Surrey renewed heart during a gruelling day in warm sunshine but Kiran Carlson and Chris Cooke, unbeaten with 45 and 44 respectively, steered Glamorgan into a position of real strength on an easy-paced pitch with an unbroken alliance of 90 in 20 overs.

Joe Cooke also made his highest first-class score in a second wicket stand of 125 in 37 overs with Lloyd, the 24-year old left-hander’s gritty 68 a maiden half-century in his 14th appearance.

That partnership was only broken 15 minutes before tea, after Lloyd and former New Zealand Test opener Hamish Rutherford had added 86 for the first wicket, and Eddie Byrom then arrived to contribute a punchy 57-ball 45, with eight fours, as he and Lloyd put on a further 76.

But both Byrom and Lloyd fell in the space of five balls, in the 76th and 77th overs, as they attempted to increase the pace in the final session, but Carlson and Cooke – who both hit six fours – snuffed out Surrey hopes of a late rally with the second new ball.

Surrey, captained for the first time by 23-year-old England batsman Ollie Pope, did not start well with the ball but Rutherford and Lloyd also put pressure on the home seamers with their positive intent, the openers both taking fours off Jordan Clark in the fourth over and Glamorgan’s 50 coming up in only the 11th over.

Lloyd, however, having hit Dan Moriarty for a straight six, was badly dropped on 33 by Amar Virdi at long leg, after top-edging a hook at Rikkie Clarke – the veteran all-rounder playing in his final match before retirement.

Moriarty’s slow left arm had been introduced as early as the 12th over and off spinner Virdi was also in action by the 21st over. Virdi, indeed, provided Surrey with a much-needed breakthrough in his second over when an arm ball beat left-hander Rutherford’s forward push to have him leg-before for 36.

There were also two overs of off breaks from Will Jacks as Pope used six bowlers before lunch but Surrey had no further joy until Cooke lifted a loose checked drive at Moriarty straight to mid off. He had hit 11 fours and resisted for 144 balls after an afternoon of accumulation.

Left-hander Byrom, signed recently from Somerset on a two-year contract, took successive fours off Moriarty and leg-glanced Jacks for another boundary as he began brightly and then, after tea, becoming the main aggressor as Lloyd, 29, completed his fifth first-class hundred.

At 287 for two, Glamorgan were seemingly in total control but Byrom then charged down the pitch to Moriarity to be stumped by Ben Foakes – playing his first senior game since late May after recovering from a bad hamstring injury.

Lloyd also had a rush of blood, trying to hoick Virdi over mid wicket from down the pitch and instead lobbing a catch to cover off a leading edge after facing 180 balls across almost five hours and hitting a six and 13 fours.

Surrey finished the day with their two wicket-takers Moriarty and Virdi in tandem again but Carlson and Cooke stood firm.

Surrey left arm spinner Dan Moriarty said: “Unfortunately we were on the wrong side of the toss today but I thought the Glamorgan guys batted really well and made it difficult for us. It was always going to be a hard day with the ball on a good pitch but we were not as consistent as we would have liked even though we bowled well in patches.

“There is still a lot of hard work to do but we are very hopeful that it will spin more as the match goes on so it might be a different game in the last two innings. We just need to bowl them out tomorrow and then bat well ourselves and see where we are.”

Glamorgan opener David Lloyd said: “It was a very pleasing day all round, and a good toss to win, and we had partnerships throughout and played with good intent. In spells they bowled very well and after lunch, for instance, it was quite slow going.

“But we just tried to concentrate on occupying the crease and hoping that things would get easier and that’s really what happened. I think we also showed that in particular towards the end of the day.”

 

 

 

Sussex vs Derbyshire, Group 3 The 1st Central County Ground, 10:30AM

 

Wayne Madsen led the way with 111 as Derbyshire laid a strong foundation in their bid to claim a first win of the season in the LV= Insurance County Championship.

The 37-year-old scored his first century of the season and Matt Critchley 85 as Derbyshire made good first use of a flat pitch at Hove against Sussex, reaching 371 for five on day one.

The game has effectively turned into a battle for the wooden spoon with Sussex 2.5 points behind their visitors at the bottom of Division Three.

After captain Billy Godleman and Harry Came put on 89 in 16 overs – Derbyshire’s best opening stand of the season – seamer Henry Crocombe picked up two wickets in successive overs to check Derbyshire’s progress.

Sussex had wasted the new ball by leaking seven runs an over in the first hour before Crocombe, one of eight bowlers used, returned for a second spell and struck his third ball, slanting one across to win an lbw verdict after Came made 45.

In his next over Crocombe persuaded Leus du Plooy to clip a length ball low to mid-wicket – du Plooy’s eighth duck of the season – to leave Derbyshire 89 for two.

Madsen and Godleman added 96 in 25 overs either side of lunch and reached their half-centuries in successive overs before Jamie Atkins, the 19-year-old highly-rated quick bowler, marked his return after nearly three months out with shoulder trouble by producing the ball of the day, a lifter which squared up Godleman (52).

But in his 200th first-class match Madsen played with increasing authority and either side of tea he was joined by Critchley in a stand of 123 in 38 overs.

Critchley skipped down the pitch twice in an over to deposit off-spinner Jack Carson over long-on on his way to an eighth half-century of the summer shortly before Madsen eased to the 32nd first-class century of his career.

He had moved onto 111 – his first hundred against Sussex - when left-armer Sean Hunt took the new ball and Madsen swung the second delivery with it to deep square-leg after just over four hours at the crease, during which he faced 182 balls and hit ten fours.

Critchley looked certain to follow Madsen to a hundred only to be bowled off an inside edge by the persevering Atkins for 85 from 152 balls, leaving him needing 15 runs in the second innings to reach 1,000 for the season.

Wayne Madsen, who made 111, said: "Someone said I've now made centuries against 12 counties and it was nice to get one against Sussex but I was frustrated when I got out because I thought I could go on and make a big one. It was a bit of a relief and obviously a delight to get my first three figures of the season and more importantly to put us in a really strong position. The openers got us off to a pretty decent start and it was nice to then have a partnership with Billy [Godleman] and Critch [Matt Critchley]. It has put us in a terrific position, and we have given ourselves a really good chance of getting a positive result."

Sussex captain Tom Haines said, "I can't fault the effort of the bowlers, they stuck at it. There was a bit in the pitch in the first hour but we didn't get it right in the first session and it means Derbyshire have probably had the better of the day. But I thought Jamie Atkins bowled with real heart and I was pleased when he came back at the end and bowled a really good spell and got Critchley out. The same applies to Henry Crocombe, who has tried his heart out all season and really improved his skills. It's a good pitch and hopefully there are some runs in there for us." 

Warwickshire vs Somerset, Group 1 Edgbaston, 10:30AM

 

Somerset showed why the LV=Insurance County Championship is such a difficult tournament to win as they made title-chasing Warwickshire work for every run on the opening day at Edgbaston. 

The visitors arrived bottom of Division One and with their title ambitions long buried but bowled wholeheartedly all day as the Bears reached 283 for four. 

 Will Rhodes (60, 133 balls) and Dominic Sibley (56, 165) laid a platform for a solid Warwickshire total and Sam Hain (83 not out, 198) and Matt Lamb (44, 92) built on it, but the Bears have work to do in the morning to take the initiative in the title race. 

If they reach 350 in 110 overs (for which they need another 67 in 14 overs), then go on to acquire full bowling points and win, they will be champions unless Lancashire (25 for three overnight) total 400 and beat Hampshire at Aigburth. On the first hour tomorrow, could the whole title equation hinge! 

After putting the Bears in, Somerset bowled well, assisted by some lateral movement and swing, so it was testing work for the batsmen. Rob Yates departed, caught at second slip off Josh Davey, in the fourth over but Sibley and Rhodes concentrated hard to take their side to 80 for one at lunch.  

The captain advanced to a compact half-century in 102 balls in the afternoon session and the second-wicket pair added 121 in 41 overs before Rhodes edged Tom Lammonby to wicketkeeper Steven Davies. 

Sibley played the shot of the day, a gorgeous down-the-track straight drive off Jack Leach, on the way to passing fifty for the 43rd time in first-class cricket. All day, the ball nipped around though and in the 55th over he copped a perfect outswinger from Jack Brooks which took a nick through to Davies.  

That was 139 for three, with the balance of play finely poised, but Hain and Lamb ensured there was no further damage up to tea, at which Warwickshire were 161 for three from 64 overs.  

As wickets tumbled at Liverpool, the rising question was how many batting points Warwickshire might need. Hain and Lamb batted watchfully at first, then began to accelerate after tea and added 121 in 41 overs before Brooks trapped Lamb in front. 

Michael Burgess, who received his first team cap before play, and Hain batted with freedom to reach the close unbeaten with power to add tomorrow. 

Warwickshire captain Will Rhodes said: 

"It's all to play for in the morning. We need 60-odd in 14 overs which would helps us out point-wise with what's going on at Liverpool and put us in a position where everything would be in our own hands. 

"It was tough going with the bat today but the guys did really well to put a decent total on the board. The pitch did a little bit all day which bodes well and hopefully will remain the case over the next couple of days. There is probably not the pace in the pitch we might have truly wanted but hopefully a little bit of sun might quicken it up and it might dry out a little bit and help the carry. The bowlers are ready to go."  

 

Somerset head coach Jason Kerr said: 

"I was delighted with the way the bowlers performed. They bowled really well in the first session and could easily have got more rewards and then stuck to their task all day. 

"Warwickshire probably have the slight edge but there could easily have been another couple of wickets to tilt it the other way. 

"It is a good surface and, looking at the way pitches have played Edgbaston this season, is probably going to get better for batting."   

Worcestershire vs Leicestershire, Group 3 New Road, 10:30AM

 

 Louis Kimber confirmed his promise with another half century to lead a partial Leicestershire fightback on the opening day of the LV=Insurance County Championship Division Three match with Worcestershire at New Road.

The 24-year-old earned his opportunity to play Championship cricket for the first time after some impressive performances during the latter stages of the Royal London Cup.

He followed up his unbeaten 59 against Sussex at the Uptonsteel County Ground by helping the Foxes to recover from 133-6 to 222 all out in 82.3 overs.

Worcestershire lost opener Daryl Mitchell, playing his final match before retiring, for eight but Jake Libby had time to complete 1,000 runs for the summer as his side closed on 30-1.

Kimber top scored with 71 from 150 balls with one six and 10 boundaries before he fell to Worcestershire Club Captain, Joe Leach, with the first delivery of the second new ball.

He signed his first professional contract in May and has been studying for a Masters in Marketing at Loughborough University.

Leach continued his recent good form with 3-38 from 17.5 overs while young spinner, Josh Baker, again demonstrated his potential with 2-31 from 20 overs.

It was a good cricket wicket with enough encouragement for the seamers if they put the ball in the right areas and showing early signs of turn but also with enough pace to allow batsmen to play their shots.

Leicestershire handed a debut to Sam Bates after regular keeper Harry Swindells and Sam Evans were forced to self isolate.

Leach took the new ball for Worcestershire in his final official match as Club Captain and struck in his second over.

Hasan Azad, 2, pushed forward and nicked through to Mitchell who held a sharp catch away to his right at second slip.

Leach could have picked up a second wicket when Rishi Patel on 14 was dropped by Mitchell but it did not prove costly.

Ed Barnard came into the attack for Leach (7-2-20-1) and his fourth ball accounted for Patel, 22, who lofted a catch straight to Leach at mid-off.

Pennington returned to the attack and George Rhodes, 27, attempted to leave the ball but only succeeded in edging through to Jack Haynes at first slip much to his annoyance.

Lewis Hill looked in good touch after overcoming an early leg before appeal by Charlie Morris as Leicestershire reached 88-3 from 31 overs at lunch.

He advanced to 40 from only 65 balls but then his downfall when play resumed was the catalyst for a flurry of wickets.

Hill went for an expansive drive against Barnard and provided Haynes with his second catch at first slip.

Baker settled into a good line and length and struck in successive overs to reduce Leicestershire to 133-6.

Ben Mike, 3, one pace down the wicket to Baker but only picked out Jake Libby at mid off and then debutant Sam Bates, 0, popped up a catch at Haynes at short leg.

Morris gained some tangible reward for his efforts when he bowled Ed Barnes, 13, with a delivery angled back into him.

The second new ball brought a swift end to the Leicestershire innings with the last three wickets falling in the space of 15 deliveries.

Leach trapped Kimber lbw and bowled Chris Wright, two, while Callum Parkinson, 17, also went leg before.

Mitchell edged Wright to second slip but Libby, who reached 1,000 when on five, and nightwatchman Morris experienced few alarms through to the close.

Leicestershire Head Coach, Paul Nixon, said: “If I’m honest, disappointed with our performance. I think we are 75-80 runs under par.

“I think it’s a decent pitch. We had some soft dismissals and guys who were in, got out poorly.

“Thankfully Louis Kimber came to the party and played beautifully, strong in defence, strong in attack and looks a real good prospect.

“We needed to dig out of a hole and his application and calmness at the crease is tremendous for a young lad.

“He actually reminds me a lot of Graeme Hick, the way he hits the ball off the back foot, his power when the ball is up there. He also latched onto the short ball and it was a really mature innings.

“Louis helped the guys the other end build partnerships but it looked a really good pitch when they batted and disappointed we lost so many wickets in the middle session.”

 

 

Worcestershire Bowling Coach, Alan Richardson, said: “It was a really good effort from us as a bowling unit. The five guys all stuck at it really well.

“When you lose the toss and bowl first, on what I think is a really good cricket wicket, to get the 10 wickets by the end of play and to keep them under control with the scoring rate is a really good effort by the boys.

“Joe (Leach) had a really frustrating first half to the season. We played nine games back to back on some really unresponsive surfaces.

“He toiled hard and probably didn’t get the rewards so in the last two or three games, I think he has got those rewards.

“He has bowled really well, stuck to his strengths and has created lots of chances so really pleased for him.

“It was a tough first half of the season for all of the bowlers but Joe would have felt that especially.

“It is a real good cricket wicket. Due to unforeseen circumstances with the floods here, we’ve not always been able to have those surfaces but this one has had a real good impact on the game already in terms of good carry.

“There is enough in it for the bowlers but I also think if you miss (the right length) as a bowler, then the batsman can score.”


 

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