Gloucestershire collected a comfortable victory against Glamorgan, while Kent set Northants a huge total to chase in Tuesday's Division Two action.
GLOUCESTERSHIRE v GLAMORGAN
Gloucestershire eased to a 10-wicket victory over Glamorgan inside two days at Cheltenham College.
Having been set 135 to win, shortly after lunch on the second day of the county's annual Cricket Festival, captain Phil Mustard's side took just 31.3 overs to secure their second Specsavers County Championship victory of the season.
It was certainly a welcome win for Gloucestershire coach Richard Dawson, whose side, for the time being at least, leapfrog seventh placed Derbyshire in the Division Two table.
Winning captain Phil Mustard said: "Cricket is a funny game and I have to say, I have never been involved in a game quite like that. To be honest, the scores might not suggest it, but the pitch was fine.
"I thought our bowlers bowled well as a team and we have got the job done today. That is pleasing. It sets us up and pulls things together for the T20," he added.
To their credit, Glamorgan made a pretty decent first of things during the opening session at the picturesque college ground.
Having been reduced to 59 for 5 in their second innings on a remarkable first day when 25 wickets fell, the visitors progressed nicely thanks to Timm van der Gugten and Andrew Salter.
On a wicket that had its moments, the pair put on 46 for the sixth wicket before the former was trapped lbw for 17 by Kieran Noema-Barnett. Unfortunately, for Glamorgan, Salter fell in the following over, caught behind for 31, off the bowling of Craig Miles and suddenly, the Welsh county were once again staring down the barrel at 104 for 7.
Captain Chris Cooke and Graham Wagg batted well, thereafter, with Wagg leading the way as Glamorgan reached lunch on 140 for 7.
However, that was the end of the good news as far as the visitors were concerned. With Norwell weaving his magic from the College Lawn End, Glamorgan lost their last three wickets for just eight runs.
Wagg was trapped lbw by Norwell for 30 at 150 before Marchant De Lange drove the same bowler to Jack Taylor at extra cover.
Two overs later, Norwell and Taylor combined once again to send back Michael Hogan, for 0.
It was the fourth time this season that Norwell had helped himself to five wickets in an innings. His final figures of 6 for 38 off 18 overs were fully justified on a day when Gloucestershire certainly coped better with a pitch that has certainly dominated the idle chat around this picturesque ground in the heart of Cheltenham.
In contrast to what had gone before, Gloucestershire's opening pair looked in precious little trouble as they moved easily towards victory.
Although Chris Dent was dropped on 35, by bowler Salter, he and Cameron Bancroft guided Gloucestershire to victory with more than half of the game still remaining. Dent passed 50 off 80 balls, with six fours, and finished, unbeaten on 68, whilst Bancroft (62 not out) posted his half century off 87 balls, with eight fours.
KENT v NORTHANTS
Sean Dickson plundered 318, Kent’s highest individual score on home soil, and put on 382 with Joe Denly in the biggest partnership in the county’s history as a host of records tumbled at Beckenham.
Kent’s 701 for 7 declared was also their highest first-class total in Kent, leaving Northants with an uphill battle to secure a draw in a Specsavers County Championship clash between the third and fourth-placed sides in Division Two.
At stumps on Day Two, though, Northants had fought hard to reach 180 for 1 in reply with Ben Duckett completing a superb 101 not out in the penultimate over following an opening stand of 113 with Rob Newton, who made 57 before lifting a drive at Pakistan leg spinner Yasir Shah to short extra cover.
Dickson, a 25-year-old South African UK passport holder whose mother, Pat, hails from Beckenham, fell just 14 runs short of Bill Ashdown’s Kent individual record of 332, made against Essex at Brentwood in 1934.
The delighted home record-breaker said: “It’s just overwhelming at this stage of my career. This is only my second full season in first-class cricket and I don’t know how I did that. I’m excited to see what is to come now, and hopefully I can get the chance to beat Kent’s highest score another time!
“I scored a hundred for my club in the Kent League on Sunday so it’s been a magical week. It might all hit me in a week or so’s time, but it’s great to get a triple hundred and it was more a mental thing than a physical fitness situation out there," he added.
But he at least passed Ashdown’s 305 not out, against Derbyshire at Dover in 1935 and Kent’s previous highest in a match at home, while Kent’s total was their second highest in first-class cricket behind the 803 for 4 declared made in that same Brentwood game 83 years ago.
Dickson faced 408 balls, across almost eight-and-a-half hours at the crease, and hit three sixes and 31 fours. Denly scored 182, from 226 balls and with five sixes and 15 fours, and it was his cracking hook for four, off Nathan Buck, which took the partnership with Dickson to 369 and - in one stroke - past two previous Kent record stands.
They were the 366 that Simon Hinks and Neil Taylor added for the second wicket against Middlesex at Canterbury in 1990, and the 368 that was the previous highest partnership for any Kent wicket, by Aravinda de Silva and Graham Cowdrey for the fourth wicket against Derbyshire at Maidstone in 1995.
Denly holed out in the deep off Rob Keogh’s off spin after adding 39 in 55 minutes to his overnight 143, but Dickson kept going as the Northants bowlers struggled to hold back the tide of runs on a featherbed pitch. Dickson, who resumed on 210 in Kent’s overnight 434 for 1, accumulated remorselessely and soon went past the previous highest score made by a Kent batsman against Northants – Frank Woolley’s 217 at Northampton in 1926.
Next on Dickson’s hit list was Kent’s post-War highest individual score of 275, made by present county head coach Matt Walker against Somerset at Canterbury in 1996, and when he reached 300 he became just the second Kent batsman – after Bromley-born Ashdown – to score a first-class triple-hundred.
Denly had set the tone for another run-filled day at Kent’s northern headquarters by pulling Ben Sanderson for four in the day’s first over and he then drove Graeme White’s left-arm spin for six. Kent scored 169 in 33 overs in the morning session, and another 98 in 14 overs after lunch before finally calling a halt to the carnage.
Sam Northeast contributed 38 to a third wicket stand of 68 in 15 overs with Dickson, who eventually skied Max Holden’s occasional off-breaks to long on. Sam Billings helped himself to a quickfire 42 in the push towards the declaration as he, Matt Coles (24) and James Tredwell, who pulled Holden for six to bring up Kent’s 700, enjoyed themselves in the afternoon sunshine.
Duckett, however, who made 208 in this fixture – and on this ground – last season, led the Northants reply with a well-judged mixture of watchfulness and aggression, and the closest he came to losing his wicket came when he snicked Mitch Claydon wide of third slip on 11 and, later, edged Matt Hunn just short of second slip.
Newton also had a few early scares against Claydon, who bowled a testing new ball spell, and on 20 was beaten by a ball from Shah that turned sharply. Shah later switched ends to find some purchase out of the bowlers’ footmarks, but Duckett emerged intact from an uncomfortable spell against him in the closing overs and lofted Denly’s leg spin over mid off for his 16th four to reach a 153-ball hundred.
Alex Wakely, the Northants captain, also battled hard to get through to stumps unbeaten on 14, but a long two days still lie ahead for Northants.
DERBYSHIRE v DURHAM
Imran Tahir raised Derbyshire’s hopes of back-to-back victories by taking five wickets on his debut as Durham collapsed on the second day of the Division Two match at Chesterfield.
The South African, who is playing for his sixth county, celebrated by sparking the decline that saw Durham lose 4 for 18 in 43 balls either side of tea before the visitors rallied to avoid the threat of following-on.
Derbyshire controlled the game for much of the day with Billy Godleman falling two shot of a century as he and Gurjit Sandhu took their 10th wicket stand to 102 before the home side were bowled out for 368.
Durham were going well at 119 for 1 but after Jack Burnham played on to Tahir and 16-year-old off-spinner Hamadullah Qadir bowled Michael Richardson for 64, the visitors crumbled before Paul Coughlin with an unbeaten 62 and Barry McCarthy guided them to 274 for 8, 94 behind.
Derbyshire’s first objective at the start of the day was to get to a fourth batting point which was achieved after a 35 minute rain break with Godleman and Sandhu frustrating the bowlers for another 15 overs before Godleman was caught behind hooking at Coughlin.
Sandhu followed his unbeaten career-best 48 by taking the new ball but Richardson and Cameron Steel added 52 before a mix-up saw Steel run out for 21 in Tahir’s first over.
The leg-spinner’s second over gave no indication of what was to come as Richardson dispatched him for two fours before Burnham drove him over extra cover for six.
But when Burnham tried to whip a ball from off stump and chopped on, Durham’s hopes of a decent reply faded as Qadri followed his record-breaking five wicket haul at Cardiff last week by beating Richardson in the flight.
Paul Collingwood was bowled pushing forward at Tahir in the first over after tea, Ryan Pringle was lbw playing back to one that sung in from Sandhu and Graham Clark was the sixth to go with Durham still 205 behind.
The threat of the follow-on loomed when Stuart Poynter sliced a drive to point and Tahir bowled Matthew Potts with the next ball but Coughlin and McCarthy denied Tahir to keep Durham in the contest.