• Specsavers County Championship 8m

    Div Two: Notts thrash Northants to extend lead

    Runaway leaders Nottinghamshire win again & Ravi Ashwin takes a debut five-for

    Nottinghamshire 213 & 344/9d beat Northamptonshire 141 & 253 by 163 runs
    Durham 480/9d & 39/1 beat Derbyshire 164 & 354 by 9 wickets
    Kent 333 v Leicestershire 350 & 135/6 - Match drawn
    Worcestershire 363 & 295/8d beat Gloucestershire 258 & 211 by 189 runs


    Nottinghamshire remain on course for an immediate return to top flight cricket after defeating Northamptonshire by 163 runs on the final day of their Specsavers County Championship fixture at Trent Bridge.

    The Division Two leaders needed just over an hour to take the final five Northants wickets (Adam Rossington was unable to bat due to the thumb injury he sustained on the second day).

    Samit Patel closed out the contest, finishing with three for 17 and Jake Ball picked up three for 86.

    Resuming on 167 for four, after they had added an unbroken 45 for the fifth wicket in the gloomy conditions of the previous evening, Alex Wakeley and Josh Cobb were parted in just the second over of the day.

    Wakeley, having advanced his score to 37, pushed firmly at Brett Hutton and nicked firmly through to Chris Read. The same combination accounted for Rory Kleinveldt four overs later, although the South African all-rounder, who made 12, was swishing vigorously towards extra cover.

    Read’s third catch of the morning saw off Cobb, for 38, with Ball adding to the two wickets he grabbed on the third day. Azharullah decided to make the most of a rare opportunity to throw the bat and hit five fours in making 23 but he then miscued Samit Patel high to Cheteshwar Pujara at cover.

    Ben Sanderson, batting with a hamstring injury and using Rob Keogh as his runner, made an enterprising 16 not out but the innings ended when Richard Gleeson, who scored 21, clubbed Patel into the safe hands of Riki Wessels at mid-off.

    The outcome may have done irreparable damage to Northamptonshire’s promotion hopes, with them losing points over the four days of their fixture.

    Having claimed just three bonus points, their tardy over-rate of minus five left them a couple of points in debit, ground they will hope to make back when they face in-form Sussex at Wantage Road next week.

    Notts, gained another 20 points and remain unbeaten at the top of the Division Two table, ahead of next week’s clash at home to second-placed Worcestershire. Head coach Peter Moores said: "I'm really pleased to get the win in the bank because all four-day wins are hard-fought. 

    "Other sides at the top keep winning, obviously Sussex won yesterday and Worcestershire are doing well, so it makes next week’s game against them a really big one. Because we’ve been competing on three fronts, we haven’t really had any games this season that haven’t been big games, so we’ll tackle that after Saturday’s Finals Day and we’ll prepare for it properly."


    Durham completed their third Specsavers County Championship in the last five games 15 minutes before lunch as they beat Derbyshire by nine wickets at Chester-le-Street.

    The visitors were all out for 354, leaving Keaton Jennings and Tom Latham to score 39 for the maximum points win which took Durham above Derbyshire.

    After edging a short, wide one to fall to the first ball of the match, Jennings was immediately fed something similar by Hardus Viljoen but studiously left it alone. He got off the mark by coming down hard enough on a yorker to squeeze it through mid-off for three.

    In the ninth over he cut Viljoen for two fours, but with only eight needed he went to pull another short one and lobbed it to square leg to depart for 16. Latham stroked two off-side fours off Harry Podmore, on loan from Middlesex, in the next over to finish on 23.

    Durham needed just under an hour to wrap up the Derbyshire innings when they resumed on 305 for six in pleasant sunshine. Graham Onions struck with the day's fourth ball. After seeing Harvey Hosein pick up an edged four and a single, reducing the deficit to six, he had Tony Palladino caught behind.

    Podmore collected the runs which put Derbyshire ahead then edged Chris Rushworth between slips and gully for four to reach ten. But without addition a similar edge in Rushworth's next over flew at head height for Ryan Pringle to hold the catch at third slip.

    Two balls later Onions swung one in to have Hosein lbw before Imran Tahir nonchalantly slapped him square for four then sliced another boundary wide of gully. He saw little of the strike in the next few overs as Viljoen showed some pedigree, hooking Rushworth for four before Durham turned to the leg-spin of Cameron Steel.

    In his second over Tahir tried to turn him to leg and looked shocked to be adjudged lbw, ending a stand of 29 with Viljoen on 19.

    Durham's Paul Collingwood said: "What really pleased me was our energy throughout. When you play with that kind of intensity you put the opposition under pressure.

    "Keaton Jennings was annoyed to get out, but there were a few clouds around and with a threat of showers we didn't want to go into lunch with a few runs needed. The game has a knack of kicking you when you are down, but Keaton is mentally tough and he will come through it."


    Five-wicket hero Ravichandran Ashwin made a winning debut as Worcestershire climbed back into Division Two's second promotion spot with a 189-run success over Gloucestershire at New Road.

    The Indian star completed a productive opening game for his adopted county by taking eight wickets in total - including 5-68 in the second innings - and making useful contributions with the bat. He left the outfield to a standing ovation proudly displaying the match ball.
    Worcestershire's sixth Championship win of the campaign moved them 19 points clear of Sussex, who have a game in handm as Gloucestershire were dismissed for 211.
    They will head into next week's top of the table clash with leaders Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge full of confidence after this comprehensive victory against their neighbours from down the M5.
    The majority of their batsman made sizeable contributions and Ashwin was well supported by the county's seam attack in which Ed Barnard was again outstanding. Gareth Roderick, skipper Phil Mustard and first innings century-maker Jack Taylor all got into the 40s for mid-table Gloucestershire but their resistance was ended in mid afternoon.
    Gloucestershire resumed on 55-3 and Ashwin came straight into the attack for the second over of the morning, bowling from the New Road End for the majority of the day.
    It was Barnard who made the first breakthrough as nightwatchman Tom Smith (9) was trapped lbw by a delivery which kept low. Ashwin collected his third wicket of the innings in the next over as George Hankins also fell leg before for a duck.
    Roderick and Mustard defied Worcestershire for 13 overs until skipper Joe Leach brought himself into the attack and knocked back the middle stump of Roderick for 47 - his 49th Championship victim of 2017.
    Mustard and Taylor provided stiff resistance during a partnership of 71 in 18 overs but the contest was effectively ended when they both departed in quick succession.
    Mustard (40) presented Leach with a comfortable catch at mid-off when facing rookie paceman Pat Brown and Taylor (43) fell leg before to Ashwin who completed his nap hand when Kieran Noema-Barnett was caught at fine leg.
    Leach rounded off Worcestershire's victory by bowling Liam Norwell to secure his 50th Championship wicket of the campaign. The skipper said: "For us to get our promotion campaign back on track, and back on a roll hopefully, is a very good achievement.
    "At one point or another, everyone stepped up and did their jobs but if you look a couple of individuals in particular... Daryl Mitchell's hundred yesterday set up the game for Ashwin who proved what a world class performer he is.
    "It certainly makes it a little bit easier as captain if you've got someone of his ability to throw the ball to."

    Two lengthy rain showers ensured Kent’s entertaining Specsavers County Championship clash with Leicestershire ended in a draw.

    Having secured a modest first-innings lead of 17, Leicestershire wobbled badly when batting second time around and had limped to 135/6 and a lead of 152 when the players left a floodlit field of play in light drizzle for the tea interval.

    The rain intensified thereafter, leaving umpires Martin Saggers and Russell Warren with no choice but to abandon the match as a draw with Kent banking 11 points to Leicestershire’s 12.

    The result means the Foxes will go into a 12th game looking for their first win of the Division 2 campaign, moreover, a fifth draw in 10 starts for Kent, will put a severe dent in their hopes of winning promotion to the top tier.

    Batting for a second time, Leicestershire lost both openers in the space of seven overs. Harry  Dearden shouldered arms to a Darren Stevens in-swinger to depart lbw then Michael Carberry’s unhappy return to Canterbury continued when he was snared full in front by a shooting off-cutter from Adam Milne.

    Foxes’ skipper Mark Cosgrove appeared to treat his innings like a T20 Blast net session, spanking 34 off 19 balls – including 24 from five successive deliveries from Matt Coles – before top-edging an attempted paddle off Coles to the keeper.

    Then, on the cusp of the lunch break, Ned Eckersley went back and across his stumps in aiming to leg to also go leg before, this time to Mitch Claydon.

    Rain during the interval led to the loss of an hour’s play and 19 overs but Kent were soon back amongst the wickets when Colin Ackermann (34) swept across a quicker one from left-arm spinner Imran Qayyum to become the 11th lbw victim of the game.

    Foxes’ first-innings top-scorer Lewis Hill soon departed to the same bowler without scoring. Seemingly troubled by a man in at silly point, he drove hard only to miscue to Joe Denly at cover as the Foxes went in at tea on 135/6- an overall lead of 152.

    The final day started with Kent batting on in search of a fourth batting bonus point only to fall 17 runs short despite an eye-catching career best 39 by Imran Qayyum and 22 from Adam Milne. Qayyum was the last man to go, edging an attempted steer to third man to the keeper, while Neil Dexter was the clear pick of the Foxes attack with figures of 5/76.

    Kent’s rookie spinner Qayyum, who continued his steady progress with three wickets in the match, summed up the dressing room mood as disappointed: "It is a shame because we were in the game with Darren’s eight wickets and batted reasonably well on that second day, but the rain on that third day really hurt us.

    "We needed a win in terms of our promotion push, and although we’ve got four games left, it’s bitterly disappointing that we’ve only come out of this with a draw."

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