SpecSavers County Championship News Round Up | 23rd-26th September
All the match updates and reactions from the latest round of the Specsavers County Championship 2019 September 23rd-26th.
SpecSavers County Championship Division 1
Somerset v Essex Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton 10:30 AM
Somerset 203 & 2nd Innings forfeited
Essex 141 and 45-1
Result - Match Drawn
Essex were crowned 2019 Specsavers County Championship title winners after a rain-shortened, yet ultimately compelling, fourth day of the deciding match against Somerset at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton.
It ended in a draw at 5.20pm, but that didn’t begin to tell the story of a dramatic finale to the season.
By tea, Essex, requiring only a draw, had reached 118 for four in their first innings in reply to 203. Alastair Cook had contributed a patient half-century, sharing a stand of 67 for the second wicket with Tom Westley.
But an amazing collapse in the final session brought a slump to 141 all out, the last six wickets falling for 15 in the space of 5.2 overs. Jack Leach claimed five for 32 and Roelof van der Merwe four for 41 on a pitch offering extravagant turn and lift.
Somerset, needing a win to overtake their opponents and claim the pennant for the first time, forfeited their second innings with a lead of just 62. It was a necessary gamble and Essex were left with a little over an hour to bat to secure the title.
Suddenly spectators were on the edge of their seats as opener Nick Browne was dropped off the third ball of the Essex second innings by Murali Vijay at leg slip. The last hour began with only a single on the board and Somerset had a minimum of 16 more overs to complete one of the most unlikely comebacks in cricket history.
But Cook was a reassuring presence for Essex again, contributing an unbeaten 30. By the time Browne fell for ten, 38 runs were on the board and, with seven added, the players shook hands, Cook punching the air in delight.
There was a poignant moment in the closing overs when Marcus Trescothick took the field as a substitute for his final Somerset appearance to warm applause.
Essex took eight points from the game to claim the title by 11, while Somerset had to be content with nine, runners-up spot for the sixth time this century, and a feeling of what might have been had so many overs not been lost.
Only 12 overs were possible in two spells before lunch after a delayed start until noon. They brought only the wicket of Browne, caught at silly point off Dom Bess for 18.
Cook and Westley took the score to 36 for one by the interval. That had become 74 for one when another short shower sent the players off.
Cook reached a 147-ball fifty, with his 7th four, through the leg side off Leach. But the next ball saw the former England captain snapped up at short-leg.
Leach struck again two deliveries later as Dan Lawrence edged to slip and Somerset homed in with seven fielders clustered around the bat.
Soon Ravi Bopara succumbed to one of them, caught at silly point, pushing forward to van der Merwe. But Westley, beaten on numerous occasions by some extravagant turn, was unbeaten on 32 when tea was taken.
The final session was the stuff of fiction. Ryan ten Doeschate was caught at gully off Leach and Adam Wheater dropped on nought in the same over before Westley edged to slip off van der Merwe.
The South African quickly struck again to dismiss Simon Harmer with a ball that spun and lifted. Leach pinned Aron Nijjar lbw and then bowled Sam Cook in the same over.
When Wheater was caught behind off van der Merwe to end the innings, nine wickets had fallen for 39 runs either side of tea. But, for Somerset, the brave effort had come too late.
Surrey v Nottinghamshire Kennington Oval, London 10:30 AM
Surrey 402-6 dec
Result - Match Drawn
THE Curtain fell on the 2019 County Championship season a few hours early at a sodden Kia Oval when the final day of action between Surrey and already relegated Nottinghamshire was abandoned without a ball bowled.
Heavy overnight rain which returned mid-morning soaked the outfield preventing play in the morning session.
An early lunch was taken in the hope things would dry out, but following a final inspection at 1pm umpires Chris Watts and Mark Saggers called proceedings off, so ending the game as a draw.
Surrey finish the season in sixth place with their County Championship pennant likely to be heading off imminently to champions-elect Essex.
Result- Match Drawn
Warwickshire and Yorkshire had to settle for a Specsavers County Championship draw at Edgbaston after a third successive day was lost to the weather.
The positive intentions from both camps came to nothing after the umpires decided, after an early lunch, that areas of the field were still too wet for play.
Yorkshire were keen to pursue a win that would have lifted them to third place in Division One while Warwickshire wanted to back up last week's result at Nottinghamshire with another victory. But the immense deluges of Monday night and Tuesday morning meant that the match was consigned to history as a draw with just the 64 overs from the first day to go into the record books.
Yorkshire had to settle for a final position of fifth place in Division One while Warwickshire, denied the chance to get any batting points from this match, slipped back to seventh, below Surrey who moved two points above them having taken full batting points against Nottinghamshire before the rain closed in at The Oval.
Warwickshire captain Jeetan Patel said: "We didn't want to sit round for three days and not play. We thought there was an opportunity, if both parties came to an agreement, that we could really set up a game a fun day's cricket to end the season. I think both teams would have enjoyed that, but we can't control the weather.
"There has been so much rain and the groundstaff did a fantastic job to try and get conditions up to playing standard but the reality is it was just going to be too late to start play for us to get any sort of proper game in."
Yorkshire captain Steve Patterson said: “The goal and hope was that there was enough time left to set up a game today. The way the game’s gone so far, it would have led easily to do that. There might have been a couple of declarations whereby they chase a score after we got a few more runs, but once we knew we couldn’t start until three or four o’clock, it took too much time out of the day to enable that to happen”
“We came here wanting a response as a team, and the way we went about it with the bat on day one was exceptional. For Tom Kohler-Cadmore to move to the top of the order for the first time [this season] and finish 160 not out, what an achievement that is.
“We were in a really strong position in the game. But, unfortunately, like pretty much everywhere else in the country, the rain has dictated the course of the game."
Kent v Hampshire St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury 10:30 AM
Kent 147 all out
Hampshire 80 - 3 (21overs)
Result - Match Drawn
No Play on Thursday due to rain.
Kent’s final Specsavers County Championship match of the season against Hampshire ended as a damp squib in Canterbury after the fourth and final day was abandoned without a ball bowled.
Umpires Ben Debenham and Ian Gould, who had abandoned days two and three due to rain, had little option but to do the same. With the outfield sodden they called the game off just after 9.30am.
Dependant on the outcome of events at Headingley in the match between Yorkshire and Warwickshire, the draw here means Hampshire are likely to take the £88,000 cheque as third-placed finishers.
Kent’s head coach Matt Walker said: “It was all set up to be an exciting game, so it’s a great shame it’s had to end this way.
“We were coming into this off the back of two wins at Trent Bridge and Headingley, having set out stall out to win three out of three but sadly the weather had other ideas.
“To finish third would have been a really big statement for us and to finish behind two really good sides in Essex and Somerset. Not to be given the chance to do that by rain is really frustrating.
“We’ve played a day of cricket here and that’s about it, so there’s a feeling that the season has just drifted out, which is a shame for both these sets of players.
“We mustn’t forget how well we’ve finished this back end of the season though. Sure, this game will fade from the memory pretty quickly, but we won’t forget those amazing wins on the road against Notts and Yorkshire. We should be rightly proud of those performances.”
No play on Wednesday due to rain.
For the second day running not a ball was bowled in Canterbury between Kent and Hampshire in the fight for third place in the Specsavers County Championship top flight.
Match umpires Ben Debenham and Ian Gould Inspected once the rain stopped at 2pm and deemed that the putfield was too sodden for any action to be safely undertaken.
The game will now go into its fourth and final day tomorrow (Thursday) when Hampshire will hope to resume on their first innings 80 for three in reply to Kent's 147 all out.
SpecSavers County Championship Division 2
Durham v Glamorgan Emirates Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street 10:30 AM
Glamorgan – Still to bat
Result - Match Drawn
Play was abandoned on the final day of the Specsavers County Championship Division Two match between Durham and Glamorgan without a ball being bowled, ending the contest as a draw at Emirates Riverside.
Conditions that prevented play on Wednesday did not improve at Chester-le-Street overnight, leaving the already drenched outfield increasingly sodden by 9am. The umpires made the early decision to call off the game, despite a bright forecast in the afternoon.
The draw ended Glamorgan's hopes of beating out Gloucestershire for the final promotion spot, finishing 15 points off the pace of third place. The Welsh outfit finished in fourth after taking seven points from the game, while Durham were one spot behind in fifth to end the campaign.
Chris Cooke - Glamorgan
"It's obviously pretty wet and there was a lot of overnight rain. It's a disappointing end to the season, but it was not the reason why we didn't get promoted this season. We lost it in the couple of games leading up to the Leicestershire game. There is a lot to learn, but there are a lot of positives to take into next season."
Ned Eckersley - Durham
"It's has been a very wet week. The groundstaff did their utmost to try to get us out there, but obviously it was not meant to be. We would have loved to have finished the season with a win here at home. Unfortunately the weather took charge of this fixture and it petered out into a damp squib."
Gloucestershire v Northamptonshire County Ground, Bristol 10:30 AM
Gloucestershire 220 - 7
Northamptonshire - Yet to bat
Result - Match Drawn
Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire both clinched promotion to Division One of the Specsavers County Championship without even taking to the field on the final day of the match at Bristol.
Their elevation was confirmed when news broke that play had been abandoned for the day in the match between Durham and fourth-placed Glamorgan at Chester-le-Street, denying the Welsh county the victory they needed if they were to retain any hope of overhauling either of their rivals.
Umpires Mike Burns and David Millns then took the decision to abandon play for the day at the Bristol County Ground after heavy overnight rain again left the outfield under water.
Northants claimed seven points from a drawn match to finish second behind Lancashire, one place ahead of Gloucestershire, who took six points. And players from both sides then celebrated together in the dressing rooms.
"I've never seen anything like this in my career," revealed Northants batsman Alex Wakeley. "We get on really well with the Gloucestershire boys and for us both to be promoted on the same day while playing one another is a great feeling.
"There was no hesitation. Even before we knew our game was off, we went into their dressing room to congratulate them on being promoted. Once our game was also abandoned, we all mixed together and shared a few beers.
"It's a great atmosphere in there, something really special, because we're two teams that nobody really expected to do this well."
Having finally lead Gloucestershire to Division One after five years in charge, head coach Richard Dawson admitted: "This has been my aim all along, since I first arrived here from Yorkshire.
"I remember playing just half the season when Yorkshire won the Championship in 2001 and I remember how difficult that was. To be able to put it together on a consistent basis over the course of an entire season is something else, and that's the message I've had to try and get across to the players here.
"They were playing well for a session or two, then having a poor session and wondering why they were losing games. You need to be at it all of the time, you cannot afford to drop off for even a single session if you want to win games.
"They now know just how much work needs to go into winning a four-day game. The big difference this year, is that they have been able to maintain the levels required for much longer."
He added: "Nobody outside of Gloucestershire gave us a chance of doing this at the start of the season. It's a special kind of achievement and I make no apology for finishing third and going up.
"You have to play the hand that is given you and it's the top three that go up this season. We'll take it.
"I've not allowed myself to think too much about Division One, in case it brought us bad luck. But I'm now looking forward to the challenge and I know the players are excited about that.
"We've played the best sides in one-day cricket and matched them and that will now be our aim in four-day cricket. It's about having the ability to play good cricket day in and day out."
Gloucestershire won four of their last six games to advance from a mid-table position at the start of July, while Northants surged into second place courtesy of four straight wins in August and September.
Experienced batsman Wakeley paid tribute to Northants captain Adam Rossington, saying: "He's brought us all together and given us the confidence to win matches and believe in ourselves.
"When you're on a losing run, you tend to over-analyse things and it's hard to snap out of it. But when you're winning, you just rock up to the next game and keep doing the same things.
"We were unable to turn good situations into wins during the early part of the season, but then it just clicked for us. I think it was a confidence thing. All of a sudden, we went into games believing we could win them, and that's made the difference."
Gloucestershire all-rounder Ben Charlesworth was left high and dry on 77 not out as the game was abandoned with the home side on 220-7 in their first innings. Despite needing just one more run to establish a new career-best score, he was philosophical, saying: "It's about the team, not me. We're delighted to have got the job done."
Persistent rain meant only 73 overs were possible in a match which saw two complete days washed out.
Put into bat in damp conditions on the opening day, Gloucestershire collapsed to 80-6, Ben Sanderson taking two wickets to advance his tally for the season to 60.
Any nerves were dispelled when Charlesworth and Graeme van Buuren (93) joined forces in a seventh-wicket stand of 151 on the third day to carry Gloucestershire to the very brink of promotion..
Leicestershire v Lancashire Fischer Grace Road, Leicester 10:30 AM
Leicestershire 155 aand 191-3 dec
Lancashire - 170
Result - Match Drawn
Middlesex v Derbyshire Lord's, London 10:30 AM
Result - Match Drawn
Leus du Plooy became the first Derbyshire player to hit first-class centuries at home and away against Middlesex as their County Championship clash at Lord’s ended in a draw.
The 24-year-old, who hit his maiden Championship ton when the sides drew at Derby earlier in the season, added a second just before bad weather brought the match to a close.
Du Plooy reached his hundred in what turned out to be the final over of the season, finishing on exactly 100 not out as Derbyshire totalled 304-7, replying to Middlesex’s first innings score of 260.
The other notable achievement of day four was a career-best return of 5-93 – and a maiden five-wicket haul – for Middlesex seamer Ethan Bamber, who had collected the first two in successive deliveries the previous day.
The drawn match, which was repeatedly hit by rain and bad light throughout all four days, meant that Derbyshire finished seventh in the final Division Two table, with Middlesex in eighth.
Further rain in the morning meant that the teams were unable to resume until just after lunch, with the visitors on 199-4.
Having put together a partnership of 96, Du Plooy and Harvey Hosein narrowly missed out on a century stand as Bamber parted them with his third delivery of the day.
The young seamer swung the ball away from Hosein (57), whose edge flew into the hands of Dawid Malan at second slip.
Matt Critchley (16) was the next to depart, misjudging a pull shot off Bamber that sailed up into the hands of mid-on, but Fynn Hudson-Prentice immediately signalled his intentions by flat-batting James Harris for four.
Hudson-Prentice struck six boundaries as he accumulated 28 at better than a run a ball, but Bamber removed him with another outswinger, an edge into the wicketkeeper’s gloves securing his fifth wicket.
Du Plooy attempted to reach three figures quickly by striking successive boundaries off Max Holden, but he was stuck on 97 when the tea interval arrived – leaving him with an anxious wait to see if the rain might return.
It did – but by then another over had been delivered and the Derbyshire batsman achieved his ton from 175 balls, cutting Holden for three to end his first season in county cricket on a high.
STUART LAW (Middlesex coach)
“Ethan (Bamber)'s a terrific young man, he tries his backside off every time he gets out there and he’s always asking questions and always saying ‘sorry’ for not doing as well as he knows he can. To see him finish the season like that was great.
“He deserved his opportunity to play. He’s been doing everything that’s been asked of him in second-team cricket.
“We asked him to go back in the second team and take a five-for, which he did a couple of weeks ago, now he’s taken his first five-for out here, so I’m very pleased for him.
“It’s very much been a disjointed season. I know there’s a lot of cricket to be played but surely we can make better use of our competitions.
“We’ve got to work out ways to combat that next season, when there’s going to be even more cricket played, and maintain a standard and quality of cricket that’s going to be successful.”
LEUS du PLOOY (Derbyshire)
“It’s surreal. Coming here as a spectator 11 years ago, I would never have imagined I’d play at Lord’s. It’s a special place, it’s got a presence and to score runs here for my team, with everybody clapping, was an amazing feeling.
“I was over here with school as a 13-year-old, watching England against South Africa. Funnily enough there were four South Africans on the honours board who made runs in that game, so I was sort of trying to follow their example.
“At tea we saw some very dangerous clouds on the horizon. Luckily the umpires got us out again and I could complete the three figures.
“I’ve had to learn a lot in red-ball cricket and it’s been a real struggle for me throughout the season because of the conditions and the ball being so different.
“Harvey (Hosein) played exceptionally well – he was a bit unlucky to nick off there. I thought he was going to score three figures because he was going beautifully.”
Sussex v Worcestershire Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton 10:30 AM
Worcestershire - did not bat
Result - Match Drawn
No play was possible on the final day and the match was abandoned as a draw.
Play on the third day of the Specsavers County Championship Division Two match between Sussex and Worcestershire was finally abandoned without a ball being bowled.
Heavy overnight rain was followed by frequent showers on Wednesday morning and early afternoon. An early lunch, at noon, was followed by a pitch inspection and the umpires Jerry Lloyds and Paul Baldwin carried out further inspections at 1.30pm and 2.30pm before play was called off. Sussex will resume on Thursday on 299 for eight.
Earlier in the day Sussex announced that Australian batsman Travis Head would be joining the club for the whole of the 2020 season. Head, 25, will be available to play in all formats.
Head coach Jason Gillespie said: “: “To have a high-quality international batsman like Travis on our staff in 2020 is very, very exciting.
“We wanted a top four batsman to improve our team and Travis will do that. He’s shown his class in his international career so far, he brings some useful off-spin and he will offer good leadership support to our captains from his time leading South Australia and the Strikers.
“We also felt it was important to sign an overseas batsman that would be able to join us for most of the season and give us some continuity. Next year’s international schedule leaves Australian players relatively free during the English summer, so Travis fits the bill perfectly.
“I’ve known Trav for a number of years. We have a really good relationship and after we decided here at Sussex that an overseas batsman would complement our squad next year I just knew that Travis would be ideal.”
Head has played 12 Test matches for Australia, scoring 854 runs at an average of 42.70, including a top score of 161 against Sri Lanka in Canberra in February this year.
In 42 one-day internationals, he has made 1,273 runs at an average of 34.40, with ten fifties and one-hundred, and in 16 international T20s he has scored 319 runs at a strike-rate of 130.20.
©Cricket World 2019