Hampshire 120 & 131 lost to Essex 169 & 86/4 by six wickets
Lancashire 544/7d drew with Northamptonshire 342 & 213/5
Nottinghamshire 350 & 372/6 beat Kent 316 & 85 by 321 runs
Somerset 170 & 226 lost to Surrey 386 & 29/0 by 10 wickets
Warwickshire 60 & 232 lost to Middlesex 199 & 97/2 by eight wickets
Five become two
39 points separated first-place Surrey and fifth-place Somerset going into round 12; by the end of it, a gap of 48 points formed between the leaders and third place. The last round of fixtures until September may prove seismic in the Division One title race in the final weeks of the season.
That four of the five teams involved were playing each other was always likely to be decisive. At The Ageas Bowl, on a pitch that "did not play quite as we wanted it to or expected it to" according to captain James Vince, Hampshire were twice knocked over cheaply by Essex, who walked away with a fifth consecutive victory in the LV= Insurance County Championship. Jamie Porter took twin five-fers for the second time in his career.
Yet they will need favours from other teams against Surrey, who picked up their seventh victory of the campaign at Somerset. Tom Latham and Will Jacks both made 99 - the sixth time it's happened in a first-class innings, and only the second in the County Championship, after Michael Smith and Clive Radley for Middlesex against Yorkshire in 1973 - while Tom Lawes and Jordan Clark both took four-wicket-hauls. Somerset's James Rew moved past 1,000 Division One runs, the first player to do so, but that wasn't enough to stop Surrey.
Who wins the title from here?
|Round & Date||Surrey Fixture||Essex Fixture|
|13 - 3 September||Warwickshire (H)||Middlesex (H, 4 September)|
|14 - 10 September||No fixture||No fixture|
|15 - 19 September||Northamptonshire (H)||Hampshire (H)|
|16 - 26 September||Hampshire (A)||Northamptonshire (A)|
Jamie Porter picked up 10 wickets in the match vs Hampshire!— LV= Insurance County Championship (@CountyChamp) July 27, 2023
The @EssexCricket bowler is now the second-highest wicket taker in Division One with 47 to his name#LVCountyChamp pic.twitter.com/ZdrTfh2AKG
Chaos at Edgbaston
Warwickshire's lowest first-class total in 41 years was the headline on a first day at Edgbaston that saw 22 wickets fall. Not since a month before James Anderson was born have they scored a lower total - 43 against Sussex in June 1982. That the home side made a contest of the match having been bowled out for 60 is a credit to their bowling attack, and a reminder of why Middlesex are at the wrong end of the Division One table, having again failed to claim a single batting bonus point - their tally stands at two.
It was Ethan Bamber who did much of the damage, claiming a career-best 5/20, four of which saw Warwickshire's middle order lose their timber. The last time Middlesex dismissed a team for so few, it was the same figure - 60 - against Derbyshire a decade ago. That was on second innings and they duly won by nine wickets; eight in hand was the margin on this occasion as Mark Stoneman's 50 proved the bedrock of their third win this season.
Two other curiosities from the match: Warwickshire's four bowlers in the first innings all conceded exactly 49, while Toby Roland-Jones was out hit wicket in bizarre circumstances.
Nottinghamshire's huge victory
Nottinghamshire finished their 2022 season with their largest-ever County Championship victory, 462 runs over Durham. This week, they put a new entry third on the list as Kent were thoroughly dispatched on the final day at Trent Bridge, Nottinghamshire winning by 321 runs.
To that point, it had been an even match. The first three innings all ended in the 300s, with runs up and down the order for both teams, Ben Slater the only man to reach three figures - and as barely as possible, caught behind on 100. But with Kent chasing an unlikely target of 407 in 72 overs, the hosts cleaned up. Dane Paterson took 5/41 - including his 150th first-class for the club, the quickest to the milestone since 1989 - and Brett Hutton 4/44 to bowl Kent out for just 85.
It's a week to forget for Kent, who travelled without several senior players - Daniel Bell-Drummond, Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Nathan Gilchrist, Michael Hogan among them - and confirmed that Jordan Cox, who was also absent injured, is joining Essex at the end of the season. They sit three points from safety having played one more match than eight-place Middlesex.
Derbyshire's contrasting batting fortunes
Glamorgan's 521/8 suggested that the pitch at The Incora County Ground was good for batting. Derbyshire's subsequent effort of 318, from which they were forced to follow on, was hardly an obvious precursor to a record opening partnership.
Yet that was exactly what happened: Derbyshire, asked to bat again with 33 overs and the final day to get through, put on a sublime display of accumulation. Harry Came and Luis Reece put on 360 in 112 overs to smash the club's best opening stand. The previous record also featured Reece, a stand of 333 against Northamptonshire back in 2017.
Here, Came struck 141 and Reece made his second century of the match, this time doubling up as his 201 joined his first-innings 131. In all, Reece batted for 580 balls across 12 hours and eight minutes in the match. They were his ninth and 10th first-class centuries and timely to keep Derbyshire from their fourth defeat of the season.
Derbyshire's record first-wicket partnership progression
|113||A Shuker (45) LC Docker (80)||Sussex||1881|
|160||LG Wright (133) SH Evershed (90)||Nottinghamshire||1897|
|170||SH Evershed (123) LG Wright (41)||Hampshire||1901|
|173||LG Wright (90) CA Ollivierre (91)||Surrey||1904|
|191||LG Wright (68) CA Ollivierre (229)||Essex||1904|
|206||WWH Hill-Wood (107) J Bowden (114)||Somerset||1923|
|322||H Storer jr (209) J Bowden (120)||Essex||1929|
|333||LM Reece (168) BA Godleman (156)||Northamptonshire||2017|
|360||HRC Came (141) LM Reece (201)||Glamorgan||2023|