Notts shine as Somerset slide
Reigning champions Nottinghamshire underlined their title credentials while Somerset’s were exposed in ruthless fashion on a remarkable day in the LV= County Championship.
Not in action last week, Notts were forced to wait to begin the defence of their crown, but they made up for lost time by inflicting a nine-wicket defeat on Hampshire at Trent Bridge this afternoon.
Victory served as a salient reminder of their potency following a pre-season build-up in which their prospects of a second successive championship pennant were overlooked by many observers in favour of Somerset.
The manner of Somerset’s defeat to Warwickshire - they lost by an innings and 382 runs with almost five sessions to spare - is therefore likely to prompt rethinks all round.
While it is too early to make conclusive judgements on any of the supposed title protagonists - like Notts, this was Somerset’s first game of the season - one can only speculate on the psychological damage caused by Somerset’s collapse to 50 all out today.
Their second innings lasted a paltry 14.4 overs, thanks largely to Rikki Clarke’s 5-10 return and three further wickets for Chris Woakes.
In all, Somerset lost 14 wickets in little more than a session today, Woakes hurrying them out for 210 after they resumed on 147 for six. He finished with 6-85 in the first innings and match figures of 9-101 to go with his century.
Hampshire offered marginally more resistance against Notts, although they too had no answer to seam bowling of the highest quality from Andre Adams.
The New Zealander, the leading wicket-taker in the country last summer, was initially responsible for extending Notts’ first-innings lead to 109 as they converted their overnight 293 for nine into a total of 327.
He followed up his 5-54 in the first innings with a valuable 37 from number nine, then took 6-31 to undermine a Hampshire innings that yielded a meagre 131.
James Vince top-scored with an unbeaten 59, but the next highest score was Johann Myburgh’s 15, and a chase of 23 was no more than facile for Notts.
Warwickshire and Notts were just two of the five teams to celebrate comprehensive victories well inside three days.
In Division Two, Middlesex administered the last rites on Essex by wrapping up an eight-wicket victory in less than three-quarters of an hour today.
Set just 54 to win after bowling Essex out twice at Lord’s yesterday, Middlesex lost Neil Dexter and Dan Housego to David Masters in completing a 21-point haul.
Northamptonshire triumphed by an innings and 159 runs as they bowled Kent out for 119 at Wantage Road.
Jack Brooks, who took 4-36, did the bulk of the damage with the ball, Northants having moved from 429 for seven to 480 all out despite Andrew Hall adding just five to his overnight 141.
Derbyshire, too, were not required to bat again as they overcame fitful Leicestershire resistance to record an innings-and-32-run victory at Derby.
Resuming on four without loss, Leicestershire were dismissed for 177. They were held up briefly by Will Jefferson and Claude Henderson, who made 41 and 40 not out respectively, but Tim Groenewald took the honours with 3-38 on the day he was awarded his Derbyshire cap.
Only one match from each division will go into the final day, with Yorkshire and Gloucestershire bidding to avoid defeat against Durham and Glamorgan respectively.
Stand-in captain Dale Benkenstein’s superb 150 allowed Durham to declare on 311 for six in their second innings at Headingley Carnegie, although Yorkshire - set a notional 490 to win - can take heart from reaching 88 for two by the close.
At the SWALEC Stadium, Gloucestershire closed on 42 without loss after being set a slightly more attainable - though still highly unlikely - 385 for victory.
Jim Allenby’s 63 was the biggest of several useful contributions from the Glamorgan middle and lower order in a total of 370 for nine declared, while Will Gidman claimed 3-49 from 20 overs.