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SpecSavers County Championship Live Match Updates – May 14th – May 17th

John Simpson 59* for Middlesex today
©Cricket World / John Mallett
WCCC v Durham
WCCC v Durham
©Paul France
Alex Lees bowled Charlie Morris - Worcestershire v Yorkshire
©Paul France
Middlesex v Leicestershire
©John Mallett

A round up of all the action from around the SpecSavers County Championship in both Division One and Two as the matches unfold

Division One

Essex v Nottinghamshire 

Essex (241 & 105-2) beat Nottinghamshire (187 & 158) by eight wickets

Simon Harmer, with his ninth five-wicket Specsavers County Championship haul in just over two years, helped spin Essex to their first victory of the campaign at Chelmsford.

The South African off-spinner continued his imperious early-season wicket-taking form, slicing through some fragile Nottinghamshire batting, to finish with six for 60 in the second innings, and eight wickets in the match.

It was Harmer’s second five-fer of a season in which he has already taken 18 wickets in the three matches played so far.

Harmer added two more scalps in the morning having initiated Notts’ collapse the previous evening with four wickets in 23 balls. He was ubiquitous, too, popping up at second slip with the diving catch that helped Jamie Porter to a three-wicket return of his own.

Set 105 to win, with more than five sessions to get them in, Essex managed to get home by eight wickets in the 35th over despite the considerable setback of losing opener Nick Browne to the third ball of the innings.

The three-day reverse extended a run of 10 Championship matches without a win for Notts, seven of them defeats, dating back to last June and a 301-run thrashing of Essex at the same ground. There was, therefore, some degree of satisfaction in the victory.

Wickets had not so much fallen in clusters throughout the game as in avalanches. Notts’ collapse from 70 for nought to 86 for six on the previous evening was only the latest example. However, the last four Notts wickets managed to cling on for 80 minutes in the morning, adding 68 runs, to at least provide Essex with a total that could have posed a challenge judging by what had gone before.

The overnight pair of Chris Nash and Tom Moores saw out half-an-hour’s prodding and probing from Peter Siddle and Harmer without undue concern. But then Harmer had Nash pushing forward and turning the ball into Dan Lawrence’s hands at leg slip. Harmer, who had started the morning with figures of four for 32, went off on a celebratory hop, step and a jump that took him past the slip cordon.

Nash had shown several flashes of aggression, taking boundaries off both bowlers, before departing for 32 from 65 balls in a stand of 30.

Moores looked to have dug in, adopting a placid anchor role in reaching 22 from 58 balls until in a moment’s rush of blood he became Harmer’s sixth scalp of the innings. The wicketkeeper-batsman advanced down the wicket as Harmer dropped one short, toppled off-balance and Robbie White took a smart stumping.

Stuart Broad made sure Essex needed to chase a three-figure target with an extravagant, if ungainly sweep off Harmer that raced away for four. However, without addition to the score, Luke Fletcher received a lifter from Porter that flew to Harmer’s right in the four-man slip cordon.

Porter finished with three for 41 – and seven wickets in the match – after wrapping up the innings as Broad swung expansively and prematurely and had his off-stump poleaxed.

Essex lost Browne when he was sent back by Sir Alastair Cook after he was already halfway down the wicket. Browne turned but could not beat Fletcher’s throw to the non-striker’s end from backward square leg.

Westley joined Cook and outscored the former England captain by almost two to one. But requiring just a single for his first half-century of the season, Westley clipped Samit Patel to Joe Clarke at midwicket and departed after an elegant knock of 82 balls.

Instead it was left to Dan Lawrence to guide Essex over the line at 3.10pm with s push into the offside off Patel. Cook remained not out on 40 from 109 balls.

Essex - Nick Browne, Alastair Cook, Tom Westley, Dan Lawrence, Rishi Patel, Ryan ten Doeschate(c), Robbie White(wk), Simon Harmer, Peter Siddle, Jamie Porter, Sam Cook

Nottinghamshire - Ben Slater, Ben Duckett, Chris Nash, Joe Clarke, Steven Mullaney(c), Samit Patel, Tom Moores(wk), Zak Chappell, Stuart Broad, Luke Fletcher, Matthew Carter

Warwickshire v Hampshire 

Warwickshire 233 and 109

Hampshire 354 and 302 - 5 dec

Result - Hampshire won by 314 runs


Hampshire convincingly defeated Warwickshire on day four of the Specsavers County Championship fixture at Edgbaston.

Needing eight wickets to secure victory, a ruthless spell of bowling from the visitors saw them dismiss the Bears on the final day in just 32.5 overs, securing a comfortable 314-run win.

The hosts, who needed a further 382 runs at the start of the day to set-up an unlikely victory, struggled against an excellent bowling attack which saw five bowlers take wickets and four with at least a brace.

Hampshire, without captain James Vince (England duty) and Indian batsman Ajinkya Rahane, never looked pressured as they showed why they are title contenders with contributions throughout the order.

Tom Alsop’s 150 on the opening day was supported by the bowling architects of Kyle Abbott (9-5-11-2), Keith Barker (12-2-23-2), Liam Dawson (13-6-16-2), Fidel Edwards (12.5-3-36-3) and Gareth Berg (7-3-16-1), who earned the visitors their second Specsavers County Championship victory of the season.

For the Bears it was a humbling loss as they remain bottom with two home defeats from two and without a Division One win since their 237-run victory over Lancashire on the final day of the 2016 season.

Warwickshire, who started the day on 44 for two, would have been buoyed by the early showery conditions, a far cry from the previous three days.

And following a 70-minute delay, there was glimmer of hope for the hosts, with 18 overs lost in the day.

But any optimism was immediately muted as Hampshire ripped their way through Warwickshire’s top order with four wickets in 13 overs before lunch.

First-class debutant Rob Yates (21) departed second ball of the morning, bowled by Edwards, with Abbott removing Adam Hose’s stumps (1) three overs later.

Night-watchman Craig Miles (1) was next to depart, a mere five balls after, bowled again by Edwards.

Liam Banks, who dug in for just four off 30 balls, kick-started an early lunch when he was caught by Edwards at mid-on off the bowling of Liam Dawson.

But the break was no more than a breather as Hampshire returned in a similar relentless vein.

Former Warwickshire seamer Keith Barker trapped Alex Thomson LBW for 18 and bowled Henry Brookes for 0, with Berg’s LBW of Tim Ambrose sandwiched in the middle.A tenth wicket partnership of 34, the highest of the Bears second innings, between Jeetan Patel (10) and Oliver Hannon-Dalby (17) offered a slight reprieve before the former edged behind to the wicket-keeper Alsop, to leave the Bears 109 all out.

Warwickshire - Dominic Sibley, Will Rhodes, Liam Banks, Adam Hose, Rob Yates, Tim Ambrose(wk), Alex Thomson, Craig Miles, Henry Brookes, Jeetan Patel(c), Oliver Hannon-Dalby

Hampshire - Joe Weatherley, Oliver Soames, Aneurin Donald, Sam Northeast(c), Rilee Rossouw, Tom Alsop(wk), Liam Dawson, Gareth Berg, Keith Barker, Kyle Abbott, Fidel Edwards

Kent v Yorkshire  

Kent 296 and 211

Yorkshire 210 and469

Result - Yorkshire won by 172 runs

Prolonged Kentish resistance eventually counted for little as Yorkshire’s persistent attack mopped up the seven wickets required to secure a 172-run Specsavers County Championship win over Kent in Canterbury.

Facing an improbable victory target of 384 and after their brave rear-guard action at the start of the day, the hosts did superbly well to take the match into its final session before White Rose seamer Ben Coad mopped up the tail with a season’s best six for 52.

The fourth day started with a stoical fourth-wicket stand between Daniel Bell-Drummond and Fred Klaassen which frustrated the Tykes’ attack throughout the opening session in adding 54 runs inside 34 overs either side of lunch.

Yorkshire finally broke through soon after the resumption when Klassen, the 26-year-old night watchman making his championship debut for Kent, steered one from Duanne Olivier to second slip to end his two-and-a-half hour, 110-ball stay for 13.

Hampered by the loss of Tim Bresnan to a calf injury – the former England seamer slipped over when delivering his first ball of day and limped off after completing only two overs –Yorkshire’s attack continued to chip away to pick up three more wickets in the mid-session.

Interim Kent captain Heino Kuhn, who has one first-class 50 to date this season, went for a seven-ball duck when nicking to second slip after an ugly, low-handed defensive prod.

Bell-Drummond, who offered two chances that were both dropped in the cordon by Lyth, moved past 5,000 first-class career runs during his 170-minute stay and was nine short of a battling 50 when he played across one from Steven Patterson to go lbw.

Then, after being checked out for concussion following a fearsome blow on the helmet from an Olivier bouncer, Kent’s first innings century-maker Ollie Robinson drove a slower ball away-swinger from Ben Coad to Gary Ballance at cover to make it 142 for seven.

Alex Blake and Harry Podmore resisted for 22 overs either side of tea until the introduction of off-spinner Jack Leaning accounted for Blake, leg before when prodding outside the line of an arm-ball.

With 24 overs remaining Yorkshire took the second new ball through Coad and Olivier, but Podmore and Matt Milnes continued Kent’s defiance into the final hour of the match.

Moments later, Coad ran one up the slope to pluck out Podmore’s middle stump for 29, scored in a shade under two hours then, in his next over same bowler had last man Mitch Claydon caught at short leg to secure victory with 15.1 overs to spare.

Coad led the bowling plaudits with six wickets, two go with his two previous five-wicket hauls this summer, and Olivier two for 92 in clinching unbeaten Yorkshire’s second win of the campaign that takes them to second spot in the table. After their second defeat on returning to Division One Kent slip to fifth.  

Kent - Sean Dickson, Zak Crawley, Matthew Renshaw, Heino Kuhn(c), Daniel Bell-Drummond, Alex Blake, Ollie Robinson(wk), Harry Podmore, Matthew Milnes, Mitchell Claydon, Fredrick Klaassen

Yorkshire - Adam Lyth, Harry Brook, Gary Balance, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Jack Leaning, Jonathan Tattersall(wk), Tim Bresnan, Dom Bess, Ben Coad, Steven Patterson(c), Duanne Olivier


Somerset v Surrey  

Somerset 398

Surrey 380 and 255 - 8

Result - Match Drawn

Rain ruined the prospect of an exciting finish to the Specsavers County Championship match between Somerset and Surrey at Taunton, which ended tamely in a draw.

Only six overs were possible in the morning session before the umpires announced an early lunch. Surrey, who had begun the day on 152 for five in their second innings, leading by 134, progressed to 187 without losing a wicket.

Play did not resume until 2.15pm because of a wet outfield. Somerset then dismissed Morne Morkel (27), Will Jacks (54) and Dean Elgar (17) to leave their opponents 247 for eight at tea.

But 34 overs had been lost to the weather and only 33 remained to be bowled. Surrey were 229 runs ahead and the outcome certain before bad light, despite the new floodlights at the County Ground being on, interrupted the final session at 4.15pm.

After 15 minutes the players took the field again, only to shake hands two overs later with the visitors on 255 for eight, leading by 237.

Somerset took 11 points from the game, having won their opening two Championship matches, while title-holders Surrey claimed 12 points.

The first period of play saw nightwatchman Morkel, on nine, had dropped by James Hildreth at first slip off Lewis Gregory with the total on 175.

Somerset could not afford such errors as Jacks, who had shown excellent temperament the previous day, progressed from his overnight 31 to a half-century off 84 balls, with 9 fours.

Play ceased at 11.25am. On the resumption, Morkel, who had done his job, skied Jack Leach to long-on where Craig Overton took the catch.

For a short while it looked as though England left-arm spinner Leach might go through the Surrey tail, but the only real turn was out of the rough.

Jacks’ impressive innings ended when Craig Overton pinned him lbw with the total on 204 the over after Morkel had been dismissed.

Elgar, batting despite suffering from kidney stones, helped take the score to 235 before nicking a Tim Groenewald outswinger through to wicketkeeper Steve Davies.

At 247 for eight, Somerset took the second new ball, but by then any chance they had of forcing a win had long gone.

Rikki Clarke and Gareth Batty were soon facing the occasional leg-spin of Azhar Ali and medium pace of Somerset skipper Tom Abell as an excellent game reached a disappointing conclusion.

Somerset - Marcus Trescothick, Azhar Ali, James Hildreth, Tom Abell(c), George Bartlett, Steve Davies(wk), Lewis Gregory, Craig Overton, Jack Brooks, Jack Leach, Tim Groenewald

Surrey - Rory Burns(c), Mark Stoneman, Scott Borthwick, Dean Elgar, Ben Foakes(wk), Ryan Patel, Will Jacks, Rikki Clarke, Morne Morkel, Gareth Batty, Conor McKerr

Division Two

Lancashire v Northamptonshire 

Lancashire 415 and 17-0

Northamptonshire 230 and 200 all out

Lancashire win by 10 wickets

Lancashire wrapped up a comprehensive 10 wicket victory over Northamptonshire after just 16 balls and eight minutes of the final day of their Division Two match at Emirates Old Trafford.

Needing 16 runs to win after they had bowled out Northamptonshire for 200 an over before close of play on the third day, the Red Rose made light work of the modest target with Haseeb Hameed and Keaton Jennings both left unbeaten when victory and 21 points was secured.

Jennings, who scored 97 in Lancashire's first innings, eased his way four runs while his opening partner Hameed registered the only boundaries of the day with a crisp on drive off Josh Cobb's first over before he twice hit Luke Procter to the fence in consecutive balls to seal the win and finish unbeaten on 13.

The win, Lancashire's first in Manchester since the final game of the 2017 season, means skipper Dane Villas' side have claimed victories in their first two fixtures of the new campaign as they look for a quick return to Division One following relegation last season.

Northamptonshire,who finish the game with three points, are yet to register a win in their first three games following draws in their opening two fixtures against Middlesex and Glamorgan.

Lancashire now face Worcestershire in another home game on Monday while Northamptonshire play Sussex at the County Ground.

Lancashire - Keaton Jennings, Haseeb Hameed, Joe Burns, Steven Croft, Liam Livingstone, Dane Vilas(c)(wk), Rob Jones, Tom Bailey, Saqib Mahmood, Richard Gleeson, Graham Onions

Northamptonshire - Robert Newton, Ricardo Vasconcelos(wk), Alex Wakely(c), Temba Bavuma, Rob Keogh, Josh Cobb, Luke Procter, Luke Wood, Nathan Buck, Jamie Overton, Ben Sanderson

Worcestershire v Durham 

Worcestershire 390 and 84 - 5

Durham 273 and 197

Result - Worcestershire won by 5 wickets

Worcestershire overcame a five wicket blast from Chris Rushworth to register a second successive win on the final day of the Specsavers County Championship clash with Durham at Blackfinch New Road.

Rushworth picked up five wickets and posed all sorts of problems in reducing Worcestershire to 55-5 in pursuit of a modest 81 target at the start of play.

It was the 22nd five wicket haul of his career and made for a more nervy morning than Worcestershire would have anticipated.

He ended with figures of 9-3-28-5.

But the sixth wicket pair of Ross Whiteley and Ben Cox saw Worcestershire over the finishing line half an hour before lunch.

It completed a 23 point return and followed the maximum haul in the innings victory over Leicestershire at the Fischer County Ground.

Worcestershire again showed their prowess with the ball with Charlie Morris following up his career best 7-45 in the win over Leicestershire with a return of 6-53 in the first innings.

Josh Tongue confirmed his potential in front of England Director Of Cricket Ashley Giles with a five wicket haul and skipper Joe Leach confirmed his fitness after 11 months out with a stress fracture of the back.

He showed no ill effects after his lay-off and ended with match figures of 34.5-5-108-6.

With Wayne Parnell back in contention for Monday’s trip to Old Trafford after being rested against Durham and England Under-19 paceman Dillon Pennington close to fitness, Worcestershire have plenty of depth in their seam bowling department.  

 Australian batsman Callum Ferguson will also be available to face Lancashire after missing the Durham game due to a family commitment.

In contrast Durham suffered their third successive defeat and a lack of substantial scores have led to their downfall.

Totals of 171, 235, 224, 189, 273 and 197 have given their bowlers insufficient runs to defend.

It has left them anchored at the bottom of the table with just 11 bonus points.

A target of 150 would have presented a substantial challenge to Worcestershire in the overcast conditions and Rushworth asking questions with almost every delivery.

Rushworth was soon into his stride in trapping Daryl Mitchell (9) lbw after he offered no stroke and George Rhodes (0) went for a drive and was bowled.

Josh Dell (4) failed to repeat the heroics of his first innings half century on debut and also had his stumps shattered by Rushworth.

First innings century-maker Riki Wessels was undone by a ball which kept low and castled him for a third ball duck.

Fell mixed some genuine attacking strokes with fortuitous edges in making 36 off 37 balls with eight fours before he went lbw. 

Worcestershire - Daryl Mitchell, Tom Fell, George Rhodes, Joshua Dell, Riki Wessels, Ross Whiteley, Ben Cox(wk), Ed Barnard, Joe Leach(c), Charlie Morris, Josh Tongue

Durham - Cameron Steel, Alex Lees, Cameron Bancroft(c), Gareth Harte, Jack Burnham, Ned Eckersley(wk), Liam Trevaskis, Ben Raine, Matthew Potts, Matthew Salisbury, Chris Rushworth

Middlesex v Leicestershire 

Middlesex 349 and 223

Leicestershire 268 and 226 5

Result - Match Drawn

John Simpson’s first County Championship half-century for two years kept Middlesex in contention on a riveting third day against Leicestershire at Lord’s.

It was 2017 the last time the doughty wicketkeeper reached such heights willow in hand, but here he was at his obdurate best, dragging his side from the mire of 114-8 in the wake of superb bowling from Seaxe old boy Chris Wright (3-51) and Tom Taylor (3-74).

His more than three-hour vigil saw him finish 59 not out and left Leicestershire a target of 305.

However, the Foxes survived unscathed to the close, reaching 38-0 raising hopes of a first win for the county at Lord’s since 1980.

Leicestershire began the day 257-9 in their first innings and added a further 11 before Helm uprooted Wright’s off-stump with one which seamed in off the wicket.

That gave the hosts a lead of 81, but they were soon in trouble second time around.

Taylor, who only bowled six overs in the first innings because of a back niggle put that pain behind him to have Max Holden taken by Colin Ackerman at slip with just nine on the board.

Sam Robson, who’d come out on a king pair, played confidently for a while, but Taylor’s impressive spell accounted for him too, a little movement off the seam seeing the former England man edge to wicketkeeper Lewis Hill.

Wright too was then in the action, grabbing the wicket of debutante Tom Lace before lunch, caught at slip.

As in the first innings, Nick Gubbins played with increasing assurance, his cover drive, a thing of beauty, but he was undone during Wright’s impressive post-lunch burst, edging one which left him a fraction through to Hill.

His departure was the first of three wickets for just three runs as Middlesex faltered.

Skipper Eskinazi flashed at a loose one from Mohammad Abbas, though it needed a stunning one-handed catch at full stretch by Ackerman to send him on his way.

And it was 94-6 when Wright struck again, scattering George Scott’s stumps with a venomous Yorker.

A brief lull in the procession ended when Taylor found the edge of James Harris’ bat to give Hill his sixth catch of the match.

And Ollie Rayner didn’t detain us long, prodding Ackerman into the hands of Hasan Azad at short-leg.

At 114-8 Stuart Law’s men were on the ropes, but not for the first time in Middlesex colours John Simpson answered the call.

His efforts relied on staunch support from Helm (46), who for the second time in the match produced shots belying his place at No 10 in the order, one off-drive in particular a candidate for shot of the day.

The pair added 85 for the ninth wicket before Helm fell LBW to Ben Mike, but last man Ethan Bamber stayed long enough to see Simpson to his long-awaited landmark and stretch the lead beyond 300.

Hopes of a wicket before the close were thwarted however, with skipper Paul Horton (28 not out) in particular suggesting a successful final day run-chase is more than possible.

Middlesex - Sam Robson, Max Holden, Nick Gubbins, Tom Lace, Stevie Eskinazi(c), John Simpson(wk), James Harris, George Scott, Tom Helm, Ollie Rayner, Ethan Bamber

Leicestershire - Ateeq Javid, Paul Horton(c), Hasan Azad, Mark Cosgrove, Colin Ackermann, Harry Dearden, Lewis Hill(wk), Tom Taylor, Ben Mike, Chris Wright, Mohammad Abbas

Glamorgan v Gloucestershire 

Glamorgan 250 - 9 and 481 - 8 dec

Gloucestershire 463 and 137 - 6

Result - Match Drawn

Glamorgan - Nick Selman, Charlie Hemphrey, Marnus Labuschagne, David Lloyd, Billy Root, Jeremy Lawlor, Chris Cooke(c)(wk), Graham Wagg, Marchant de Lange, Timm van der Gugten, Kieran Bull

Gloucestershire - Miles Hammond, Chris Dent(c), James Bracey, Benny Howell, George Hankins, Gareth Roderick(wk), Ryan Higgins, Graeme van Buuren, David Payne, George Drissell, Matt Taylor

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