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LVCC Round 13 Review: De Caires' record figures while promotion race heats up

Durham are on the brink of promotion to Division One of the LV= Insurance County Championship, with Worcestershire and Leicestershire's victories keeping them in the hunt. Meanwhile, Surrey close in on the Division One title with only Essex still chasing

Division One:
Essex 304 & 319/7d beat Middlesex 179 & 147 by 297 runs
Hampshire 308 & 330/3d beat Somerset 137 & 316 by 185 runs
Northamptonshire 232 & 266 lost to Lancashire 524 by an innings and 26 runs
Surrey 396 beat Warwickshire 161 & 138 by an innings and 97 runs

Division Two:
Durham 505/9d & 57/3 beat Sussex 266 & 295 by seven wickets
Leicestershire 204 & 168/2 beat Gloucestershire 159 & 212 by eight wickets
Worcestershire 284 & 145 beat Glamorgan 170 & 179 by 80 runs
Yorkshire 297 & 520/9d beat Derbyshire 247 & 293 by 277 runs

VAN BEEK ADDS DUTCH FLAIR TO WORCESTERSHIRE QUEST

After his 2023 Cricket World Cup qualifier heroics back in June, it's easy to expect Logan van Beek's biggest contributions to be with bat in hand. After all, he does now hold the record for the most runs ever scored in a Super Over - 30 - in that extraordinary Netherlands victory over West Indies.

And while his first-innings 53 for Worcestershire against Glamorgan, taking his side from 110/6 to 211/7, was a huge factor in their win, his bowling made even more a difference. Twin four-wicket-hauls - for 42 and 46 - saw off the visitors and propelled Worcestershire ever closer to promotion. 

First time around, he took three of the last four Glamorgan wickets which fell for seven runs all told. Bowling last, he had Colin Ingram for the second time in the match and skipper Kiran Carlson soon after to put a target of 260 further from reach, and finished off the innings with a gorgeous full delivery to bowl Jamie McIlroy. Van Beek joined during the Metro Bank One-Day Cup and Worcestershire will have been stung by a second white-ball knockout defeat at Hampshire this season.

But this victory, their fifth of the red-ball season, gives them a 24-point cushion to third-place Leicestershire, who have a match more to play. Only a stark gap in the batting bonus points - 25 - is keeping them from Durham, who are on the brink of a return to Division One. When they play each other at New Road in the penultimate week, there may be celebrations to be had on both sides.

ACKERMANN'S STEADY HAND KEEPS FOXES IN RACE

Durham must wait another week for their promotion to be confirmed, thanks to Worcestershire and Leicestershire winning their matches. That Leicestershire did so was owed in large part to Colin Ackermann, whose 93 on the third day steered the Foxes through what might've been a very tricky chase of 168, especially once they slipped to 7/2.

It would not have been the first time in the match for Leicestershire wickets to tumble. Having been 150/2 in their first innings, nine runs behind Gloucestershire and poised to set up a mammoth lead, Zaman Akhter pegged them back, removing Ackermann to begin a collapse of 8/54. From there, the match remained in the balance.

But Ackermann, alongside captain Lewis Hill, ensured there would be no last-gasp nerves for Leicestershire. Ackermann is second in the club's run charts behind opener Rishi Patel, who made 73 in the first innings, and in passing 50 for the seventh time this season kept them within mathematical touching distance of the runaway leaders and, more importantly, second-placed Worcestershire. 

That gap is 24 points and Leicestershire have a match extra to play. Both teams still have to play Durham. It could get very exciting.

Week Durham fixture Worcestershire fixture Leicestershire fixture
10 September None None Sussex (A)
19 September Worcestershire (A) Durham (H) Yorkshire (H)
26 September Leicestershire (H) Yorkshire (A) Durham (A)

 

SURREY CLOSE IN ON DIVISION ONE CROWN

The flip of a coin: a 50/50 chance of the outcome going in your favour. How rotten Rory Burns' luck must be, then, given he has lost the last 10 tosses in a row across LV= Insurance County Championship and Metro Bank One-Day Cup matches. 

His last copper victory came in a red-ball defeat to Lancashire, so perhaps The Kia Oval's home faithful will prefer the run to continue across Surrey's two remaining matches. For their chances of successive Championship titles is now far greater than 50/50, having demolished Warwickshire for the second time this season to leave themselves 18 points clear of nearest - and only realistic remaining - challengers Essex.

To have needlessly relinquished a fourth batting bonus point, having collapsed from 343/4 to 396 all out, amid the backdrop of Ben Foakes' 125, will be disappointing. But Foakes' third century of the season was his biggest and another reminder of his class, while the performance of the bowlers on the second afternoon was electric. Kemar Roach and Dan Worrall blasted out Warwickshire's top order, the Bears all out for 161, then Worrall and Jordan Clark threatened to complete a two-day innings victory. 

As it was, it took 17 minutes of day three to wrap things up, Worrall finishing with 5/25. It's the first time Surrey have completed a double over Warwickshire since 1957, during a period of seven consecutive titles. This double has hugely increased the chances of two on the bounce. 

DE CAIRES SETS 2023 RECORD

Not since the epic final day of the 2022 season has a bowler taken eight wickets in an innings. Liam Norwell famously took nine on that occasion to keep Warwickshire in Division One, and though Middlesex are still precariously placed towards the bottom of the top tier, Josh de Caires wrote his name into the record books with an astonishing 8/106. 

The son of Michael Atherton, de Caires is already no stranger to having a day out with the ball. At Hampshire, in June, he claimed 7/144 with the Kookaburra ball - the seventh-best away figures ever at The Ageas Bowl, and a superior return than his father, who bowled in 131 first-class innings.

Steven Finn's 8/79 in 2017 are the most recent better figures by a Middlesex bowler. Having been introduced in the ninth over on a pitch expected to turn at The Cloud County Ground, de Caires had to remain patient, bowling 15 wicketless overs before Nick Browne fended one to short leg. De Caires' highlight was bowling Tom Westley with a delivery which spun through the air astonishingly late having beaten the outside edge. 

De Caires ended the match with 10 wickets, claiming 2/84, although Middlesex slumped to a seventh defeat of the season and remain just six points above relegation.

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