Rampant Warwickshire move closer to glory
Warwickshire took an emphatic step towards the LV= County Championship title by dismissing Worcestershire for 60 before lunch and closing on 215 for two on day one of the penultimate round of games.
The gulf between the Division One leaders and the bottom side could barely have been more pronounced at New Road where Daryl Mitchell was made to regret opting to bat first.
Chris Wright’s 5-24 and Keith Barker’s 5-36 earned all three bowling points inside 29 overs. Thanks to Varun Chopra’s unbeaten century, by stumps the visitors had picked up the first of five available batting points.
They need to reach 350 and with second-placed Sussex, whom Warwickshire led by 22 at the start of the day, being limited to one batting point today, Jim Troughton’s side would seal glory with victory.
Chopra and Ian Westwood more than doubled Worcestershire’s total before the latter and Will Porterfield were caught by Mitchell off Moeen Ali for 54 and nought respectively. Chopra closed on 115 alongside Troughton on 29.
Sussex were dismissed for 221 at the PROBIZ County Ground by Somerset, who reached 30 for one in reply after Steve Magoffin had Arul Suppiah lbw.
Home captain Ed Joyce lost the toss but top-scored with 65 from the top of the order. He fell to Alfonso Thomas, whose three wickets were matched by Abdur Rehman.
Third-placed Nottinghamshire, who began the day six points behind Sussex, restricted relegation-threatened Surrey to 242 for nine at the Kia Oval.
Having chosen to bat first, the hosts slipped to 83 for five before Zander de Bruyn and Gary Wilson dug in with a dogged 123-run stand in making 71 and 68 respectively. Ben Phillips and Harry Gurney each took three wickets.
Last season’s champions Lancashire, starting the day 17 points from safety, were dominated by Middlesex racking up 389 for six at Lord’s on the back of Neil Dexter’s unbeaten hundred.
Glen Chapple initially backed up his decision to bowl first by leaving the hosts four for two and Ajmal Shahzad bowled Dawid Malan to make it 39 for three.
That brought Dexter in and, having seen Sam Robson depart for 49 and John Simpson for 29, he added 148 with Gareth Berg who was caught behind off Kyle Hogg for 83. Steven Crook then eased to 45 and Dexter closed on 123.
Division Two leaders Derbyshire claimed maximum bowling points as they continued their quest for promotion with an impressive display at Canterbury.
Tim Groenewald led the way with three wickets to limit Kent, despite 80 from in-form number seven Geraint Jones, to 261 all out and only two bonus points in their own pursuit of the top flight.
Mark Davies trapped Usman Khawaja in front for a duck, but Wayne Madsen and Wes Durston took Derbyshire through to 32 for one.
Second-placed Yorkshire overcame an early Will Bragg onslaught to enjoy the better of the opening day against Glamorgan at Headingley Carnegie.
Bragg made the White Rose regret bowling first by contributing 92 to an opening stand of 124 in 38 overs with Nick James, who made 38.
However, once the pair departed in quick succession after lunch, Yorkshire impressed with the ball and dismissed Glamorgan - lacking the services of Marcus North, James Harris and Robert Croft - for 272.
Stewart Walters’ dismissal for 42 triggered a collapse that saw seven wickets fall for 74 as Steven Patterson returned 4-49 before Yorkshire reached 20 without loss.
Hampshire, just six points behind the White Rose, dominated their clash with Essex after winning the toss at the Ageas Bowl.
David Balcombe claimed 4-57 and David Griffiths - playing his first championship game since early May, took 3-40 to skittle the visitors for 180, despite Mark Pettini’s 58.
Michael Carberry started the Hampshire reply positively with 42 and, despite two wickets for Maurice Chambers, Bilal Shafayat was unbeaten on 42 as his side moved 15 runs behind on 165 for four.
Seventeen wickets tumbled at Bristol, where Gloucestershire assembled control after initially struggling versus Northamptonshire.
Andrew Hall backed up his decision to field first with 3-37 and Luke Evans took 4-38, but Alex Gidman’s 56 and 55 from Jonathan Batty lifted Gloucestershire to 220.
Stephen Peters hit 35 to get Northamptonshire off to a positive start, only for James Fuller and Liam Norwell to trigger a collapse with a trio of scalps each.
Fuller had figures of 3-25 to his name, while Norwell boasted 3-21 as Northants slipped to 73 for seven, still 147 runs behind.