Chris Read was accompanied to the middle by a standing ovation and a guard of honour as the Nottinghamshire captain looked to bring down his Trent Bridge career with a match-defining innings on the third day of the Specsavers County Championship match against Worcestershire.
Sadly, for Read, he only made 38 out of his county’s second innings score of 275 as the unbeaten Division Two leaders came under pressure from their closest challengers. Joe Leach was the pick of the visitors’ attack, claiming five for 69.
Set to score 226 to pick up a victory that would strengthen their own promotion chances, Worcestershire had reached 123 for two when bad light forced an early finish. Daryl Mitchell will begin the final day on 63 not out, with his side requiring 103 more runs for victory.
Notts resumed their second innings on 138 for five at the start of the day but were rocked with the loss of Jake Libby in just the fourth over. The opener had battled through 122 deliveries in making 44, before being bowled by Ed Barnard.Leach then took his fourth and fifth wickets of the innings, having Brendan Taylor caught behind for 18, before pinning Brett Hutton lbw for 32.
The whole ground stood to applaud Read on his way out to the middle, with the Worcestershire players and the umpires lining up to show their appreciation. Read has just two further matches to play before retirement, both away from Nottingham, but he gave his home followers some timely reminders of why he will be missed, with a flurry of scampered singles, interspersed with a succession of flowing drives and a pulled six off Josh Tongue.
With Jake Ball for company, Read added 56 for the ninth wicket but then fell lbw to Barnard, who also had Harry Gurney caught behind for five, to finish with three for 78. Ball was left unbeaten on 34.
Nottinghamshire's Jake Ball said: “I enjoyed batting, especially putting on a 50 partnership with Ready (Chris Read) in his last innings, it was really nice to be out there with him.
“We bought ourselves a couple of partnerships with that score but they got off to a good start. You never know, there’s enough balls in the pitch, so hopefully tomorrow we can make a couple of early inroads and make it nervy for them.”
Worcestershire began their chase with Mitchell and George Rhodes at the crease and they were untroubled in putting 57 on, together. Hutton broke their partnership, scattering Rhodes’ stumps for 21. Tom Fell was spilled on four, by Cheteshwar Pujara at third slip, before eventually being bowled by Steven Mullaney for 30.
Joe Clarke, who was bowled first ball on the second day, arrived out in the middle, only for the umpires to declare that the light had deteriorated sufficiently for play to be suspended, with 22.1 overs still remaining.
DERBYSHIRE v GLAMORGAN
Lukas Carey took the bowling honours for Glamorgan on another weather disrupted day in the Division Two match against Derbyshire at Derby.
After the first two days were washed out, Carey took three wickets and also had three catches dropped off his bowling as the home side reached 236 for 9 before bad light and rain ended play shortly after tea.
Luis Reece top scored for Derbyshire with 53 while Alex Hughes (44) and Gary Wilson (45) also batted well in testing conditions.
Glamorgan had failed to make the most of the new ball after an uncontested toss and it was only two quick wickets by Marchant de Lange that prevented Derbyshire taking the morning session.
Reece has proved to be an astute signing following his release by Lancashire and he played well after an uncertain start although he was one of the chances that went down off the unfortunate Carey.
Ben Slater was lbw to Carey and Reece should have been taken by Nick Selman at second slip on 22 an over before Derbyshire captain Billy Godleman got a good ball from Craig Meschede that moved away enough to take the edge.
But Glamorgan’s line was too inconsistent which allowed Reece and Wayne Madsen to add 46 before de Lange tempted Madsen into a sliced drive to point and the paceman cleaned up Reece with a fast, full-length ball on the stroke of lunch.
The overcast conditions remained good for bowling in the afternoon but more lapses in the field allowed Hughes and Wilson to stage a recovery before Carey finally got some reward.
Hughes often makes runs when it matters and he again showed good technique in awkward conditions while Wilson counter-attacked although he was twice put down in the space of three overs.
Selman shelled another at second slip when Wilson was on 14 and the Irishman was put down three runs later when Andrew Salter dropped an easy chance at backward point in Carey’s next over.
Carey had the final word but not before the fifth wicket pair shared a stand of 78 which ended when Hughes was caught behind trying to cut and Wilson was struck in line four overs later.
Michael Hogan struck twice before the weather closed in leaving Carey to reflect on a day of mixed fortunes. “There are still a few things for me to work on, more consistency is the main thing because there are always a couple of balls that are too loose.
“Michael Hogan told me to try and forget about the dropped catches and concentrate on my bowling.”
Reece admitted batting had been difficult. “We made a decent start but wickets came in clusters and people seemed to get in and then got out. There’s a bit of uneven bounce and there tends to be a ball that does more than you expect.”
LEICESTERSHIRE v GLOUCESTERSHIRE
Liam Norwell took five wickets in an innings for the third time against Leicestershire this season to leave Gloucestershire on the brink of victory against the Foxes in their Specsavers County Championship match at the Fischer County Ground.
Leicestershire led by eight runs with just three second innings wickets remaining when bad light ended play 14 overs early, with only the ever-consistent Mark Cosgrove offering any real resistance.
The Australian left-hander, who hit 92 in Leicestershire's first innings, scored 68 before being given out caught behind off Norwell.
Before that there were failures for Michael Carberry – his fourth in as many innings since joining Leicestershire on loan until the end of the season – as well as Colin Ackermann and Harry Dearden as the Foxes, having conceded a first innings deficit of 146, were reduced to 51-3 in their second attempt.
Carberry edged a delivery which left him off the pitch low to first slip, Ackermann was leg before to a ball which seamed back in and Dearden was held at the second attempt at third slip after edging an attempted drive.
Cosgrove, who begun by pulling Josh Shaw for two boundaries through midwicket, and Ned Eckersley added 79 for the fourth wicket, but just as Eckersley was beginning to look comfortable, he played lazily forward to a gentle Kieran Noema-Barnett in-swinger and was bowled for 30.
Norwell then returned to bowl Neil Dexter with a delivery which seamed back in to clip the off bail, before Cosgrove got a rising delivery from Norwell that umpire Nigel Cowley adjudged had taken the edge on its way through to Roderick.
Earlier the visitors had extended their first innings from 218-3 to 368, despite quickly losing George Hankins, bowled middle stump by a quick, in-swinging delivery from left-arm seamer Dieter Klein.
James Bracey was then joined by captain Phil Mustard in adding 74 for the fifth wicket, with the 20-year-old Bracey scoring his first half-century for Gloucestershire before Mustard was bowled by Matthew Pillans, trying to cut a ball just outside off-stump and inside edging the ball on to his wicket.
Bracey, on 63, was then unfortunate to be run out at the non-striker's end as bowler Pillans deflected a straight drive from Jack Taylor on to the stumps.
Leicestershire's spirits were further lifted going in to lunch when the left-handed Noema-Barnett left a delivery from Pillans from around the wicket that went on to hit his off-stump, and Josh Shaw was leg before to a Ben Raine delivery which kept low.
DURHAM v KENT
Only 29 overs were bowled in three sessions on the third day of the Specsavers County Championship match between Durham and Kent at Emirates Riverside.
Durham advanced from 57 for two overnight to 145 for two in their second innings, leading by 156 with Tom Latham on 64 and Graham Clark 49.
Both profited from the absence of wicketkeeper Sam Billings, who was still troubled by a migraine. His original deputy, Daniel Bell-Drummond, missed a difficult chance offered by Latham on 40 then Joe Denly took over and dropped Clark on 25.
Adam Milne and Darren Stevens were the bowlers to suffer, but Kent generally did not apply enough pressure, especially when play began on schedule at 10.30 and they failed to make the batsmen play often enough.
Durham added 17 in 30 minutes before rain arrived, but the batsmen were more fluent when play resumed at 1.25, adding 26 in 25 minutes before bad light intervened, despite the lights being on.
There was more rain before a 4.05 resumption and Latham immediately cut Stevens for an all-run four on his way to 50 off 122 balls.
At 4.55 it was again decided that the light was too poor and play was abandoned 30 minutes later.