ESSEX REACH FINAL...
2019 county champions Essex were the first team to qualify for this month's five-day final at Lord's, trouncing Middlesex inside three days to confirm their spot. Essex's bowlers shared the wickets, twice dismissing Middlesex for no more than 150, while a lower-order 83 not out from Adam Wheater ensured a first-innings lead sizeable enough to push for victory.
...IN 2019 DECIDER REPEAT
Exactly one year on from the dramatic County Championship decider at The Cooper Associates County Ground, we will see Somerset and Essex face off once again for the domestic crown, after Tom Abell's side beat Worcestershire in the final round. Somerset were pushed hard, conceding their two largest totals of the season, but a brilliant hundred for Tom Lammonby in his second consecutive match was enough to put the game beyond Worcestershire.
BELL'S NEAR-PERFECT SWANSONG
It was almost the most poetic of endings for Ian Bell. In the England and Warwickshire legend's last first-class game before his retirement, he hit 50 in the first innings and fell just ten runs short of a 58th and final century in the second innings. Bell's 90 was resplendent, packed with all the trademark Bell shots as he unleashed sumptuous drives and purring late cuts.
YOUNG SPINNERS FIRE
At 16 years and 157 days, James Coles became Sussex's youngest-ever player, and he impressed on debut despite his side's defeat at The Kia Oval. Coles, a slow left-arm orthodox, bowled Ben Foakes in Surrey's first innings and then removed Jamie Smith and Rory Burns in the same over in the second innings. For Surrey, 21-year-old Daniel Moriarty continued his successful introduction to county cricket, taking five-wicket-hauls in both Sussex innings to record match figures of 11/224.
CLARKE AND DUCKETT PILE ON
Nottinghamshire built a hugely commanding position against Durham thanks to first-innings centuries from Ben Duckett and Joe Clarke. The pair added 195 for the third wicket to help their side recover from a sluggish start, Clarke punishing Durham with classy drives while Duckett struck the ball to all parts. Duckett finished with 150 and Clarke 133 but Durham fought hard to earn a draw.