A brilliant century from Daryl Mitchell seals victory for Worcestershire at Trent Bridge and inflicts a first defeat of the season on leaders Nottinghamshire...
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE v WORCESTERSHIRE
A measured century from Daryl Mitchell helped Worcestershire to become the first side to defeat Nottinghamshire in this season’s Specsavers County Championship.
Mitchell scored an unbeaten 139 from 212 balls with 21 fours and two sixes. as the visitors successfully chased down their victory target of 226, to win by eight wickets on the final day of domestic cricket at Trent Bridge this season.
The 33-year old opener had reached his sixth hundred of the season from 191 deliveries, having hit 16 boundaries. Joe Clarke, who had been dismissed for a first ball duck on the second day, provided solid support in an unbroken partnership of 106, by making 28 not out.
Resuming on 123 for two, Worcestershire still required a further 103 runs at the start of the day but neither batsman was unduly troubled as they advanced to their target in around 80 minutes of play.
On reaching 83, Mitchell 83 became only the second player to reach 1,000 first class and championship runs for the season, following Kumar Sangakkara to that landmark.
He celebrated his century enthusiastically, by lofting Samit Patel for a couple of sixes over extra cover and he hit the same bowler for the winning runs to bring up Worcestershire’s first championship win at Trent Bridge since 2000. The success also completed an outstanding treble for the New Road side, who have beaten Notts this season in all three formats of the game.
Joe Leach's fourth five-fer of the season sends him 🔝 of the Div Two most wickets chart with 5️⃣8️⃣ pic.twitter.com/e3CNIZsLfM— County Championship (@CountyChamp) September 7, 2017
The outcome also ensured that Chris Read was denied the fairy-take ending to his Trent Bridge career. Having received a standing ovation and a guard of honour as he made his way out to bat on the third day, the 39-year old, who retires at the end of the season, was warmly applauded from the field by players and officials from both sides.
Worcestershire claim 20 points for the victory, closing the gap on Division Two leaders Nottinghamshire to just 15 points; with both counties having just two matches remaining.
NORTHANTS v SUSSEX
Richard Levi’s unbeaten half-century led Northamptonshire to a six-wicket win over Sussex on the fourth afternoon at Wantage Road to keep alive their hopes of promotion from Division Two of the Specsavers County Championship.
Levi made a typically breeze fifty in 61 balls with six boundaries and a six as Northants chased 140 for a rare maximum-points victory. Sussex left with only three bowling bonus points.
Worcestershire’s victory at Trent Bridge leaves them firm favourites to join Nottinghamshire in Division One next season but Northants stay in the hunt with this win while Sussex are also still contention. Both sides have three matches remaining and a game in hand on Worcestershire.
Northants’ biggest obstacle to victory was likely to be the weather, with an horrendous forecast suggesting little play would be possible on the final day. But remarkably, after a morning shower that brought an early lunch, the match was completed in sunny spells.
That the match was still in progress into day four was thanks to a record ninth wicket stand for Sussex against Northants, compiled by David Wiese and Jofra Archer on the third evening. Archer extended his career-best score to 81 not out but his final partner, Danny Briggs, was caught at midwicket in the second over after lunch, trying to pull Azharullah.
The chase began with a solid opening stand of 28 before Rob Newton was caught at the wicket off Wiese. Ben Duckett played some attractive strokes in reaching 28 before he was also caught by wicketkeeper Ben Brown top-edging a pull to hand Archer a second wicket of the match.
Sussex also removed Alex Wakely - caught hooking for a second time in the game, this a well-held chance by Angus Robson at deep square for 14 - and Luke Procter strangled down the leg side for just 2.
But Levi played the innings a small chase needs. He got himself set before striking Briggs’ left-arm spin down the ground for six then four and also late cut the same bowler for another boundary. He and Josh Cobb, who finished 22 not out, brought Northants home with Cobb striking the winning boundary.
GLOUCESTERSHIRE v LEICESTERSHIRE
Liam Norwell took the final three wickets in Leicestershire's second innings to finish with a first-class career best return of 8-43 as Gloucestershire completed a 10-wicket victory at the Fischer County Ground.
His return was the best in the second division of the Specsavers County Championship this season, and also meant the young seamer had taken 10 wickets in the match for the second time against Leicestershire this season.
With Leicestershire resuming on 152-7, leading by only eight runs, Gloucestershire's only real concern was the weather, but play started on time, and Norwell made an immediate breakthrough, with a delivery which Matt Pillans edged to George Hankins at third slip.
The end was not long coming as Clint McKay then edged an expansive drive to Gareth Roderick behind the stumps before Dieter Klein edged to Chris Dent at second slip.
Gloucestershire openers Dent and Cameron Bancroft needed just 3.3 overs to score the 15 runs needed for the visitors to complete their third victory of the season, and leave Leicestershire still winless after a hapless performance in which only captain Mark Cosgrove, who hit 170 of the 382 runs the Foxes scored in the match.
DURHAM v KENT
Kent’s Sam Billings returned from the migraine which had laid him low for two days to defy Durham, and their record-breaker Graham Onions, in the Specsavers County Championship match at Chester-le-Street.
Set a more than challenging target of 371 in 56 overs, there were 28 overs left when Billings went in at 74 for five. But while four more wickets fell he remained unbeaten on 70.
There were six overs left when Onions pinned Adam Milne lbw to break the record of 518 first-class wickets for Durham, held since 2002 by left-arm seamer Simon Brown.
That brought in Imran Qayyum, but he was well protected by Billings and faced only two balls before edging the first ball of the penultimate over to Paul Collingwood at first slip off James Weighell. Last man Mitch Claydon, who defied his old teammates when Kent also hung on with nine wickets down at Canterbury, survived the over and Billings then kept out Onions.
Kent closed on 184 for nine, leaving Durham to rue their belated declaration and accept their frustrating fate in a match which lost four sessions to the weather. Kent skipper Sam Northeast followed his 110 out of 206 in the first innings by making 67 of the first 112 runs.
He was sixth out, inside-edging a drive at Keaton Jennings into his stumps, with 15.2 overs left. After passing 1,000 Championship runs in the morning, Paul Collingwood batted on for 7.3 overs to add 62 after lunch before declaring on 359 for seven.
Following Worcestershire's win the belief was that Kent would have to go for it to retain any hope of promotion. But it was out of the question once they lost both openers without a run on the board.
Onions struck with his first ball, having Sean Dickson caught behind and in the next over Daniel Bell-Drummond went the same way to Chris Rushworth.
On ten, Northeast edged Rushworth past Collingwood's left ear at first slip and had progressed to a 69-ball half-century by the time Billings joined him and played a few shots of his own. The wicketkeeper hit ten fours in his 72-ball half-century.
In the morning Tom Latham completed his second century in three games for Durham. He survived a sliced drive to Joe Denly at gully off the luckless Milne on 65 and was becalmed in the 90s, tied down by Claydon before a back-foot four through the covers gave him his 13th four and took him to his hundred off 221 balls.
After resuming on 49 Graham Clark progressed solidly to 86 before skying an attempted pull off Claydon to end a stand of 180 and bring in Collingwood, who got off the mark by driving left-arm spinner Imran Qayyum over long-off for six.
On 20 he lifted the same bowler to the mid-wicket boundary to reach the 1,000 target, but was bowled for 35 when he went down the pitch to Qayyum. In the post-lunch thrash Latham departed for 119 when he was caught one-handed above his head by the 6ft 6in Zak Crawley at extra cover.
Ryan Pringle hit an unbeaten 30 off 23 balls and the declaration came when Mark Wood was bowled by Denly for 24. When Wood had Crawley caught behind with the second ball after tea he looked a possible match-winner. But in his comeback match after a six-week absence with the latest of many injuries he left the field shortly afterwards.