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  • Specsavers County Championship 2m

    Top five: Specsavers County Championship 14 Sept

    Essex ease past Warwickshire and are braced for a title-clinching party on Friday

    THE ONLY WAY IS ESSEX

    No other headline would be acceptable on a day like today, when the Essex juggernaut powered over the finishing line at Edgbaston and put one hand on the Division One title. Just like in the first innings, Warwickshire were no match for Simon Harmer and Jamie Porter, who finished the match with 15 wickets between them, as the Bears were skittled for 122. That innings victory means that back-to-back titles for Ryan ten Doeschate's men will likely be confirmed early on Friday.

    RED OR DEAD

    The Lankies won't give up without a fight but even their renowned battling spirit probably won't be enough in Taunton. After the damage was done on Wednesday, they set about rebuilding on a rain-affected day and had reached 144/1 before spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess started to have an impact. At one stage it looked like Lancs might succumb in the final minutes of the day, but they'll come back tomorrow 35 runs ahead with two wickets in hand. Unless something spectacular happens, their title race is run.

    RELEGATION CHATTER

    Remember the final day of last season, with Middlesex and Yorkshire battling it out to be crowned champions at a packed Lord's? Well, it looks like they're in another battle this year - to avoid the drop. With Somerset closing on victory against Lancashire, it'll come down to bonus points as to who ends the round in the drop zone out of the three of them. And with this about to be Somerset's second win on the trot, the next two rounds are set to be very, very interesting at the foot of Division One.

    PARKY & WORCS

    Things are moving on at pace at New Road, which suits Worcestershire down to the ground. Valuable lower order runs from Ravi Ashwin (44), Ben Cox (77), Ed Barnard (30) and Joe Leach (28) helped the Pears seal an 89-run lead over Leicestershire, Callum Parkinson finishing with career best figures of 8/148. In reply, the Foxes sunk to 10/4 before Neil Dexter steadied the ship somewhat, but once he went it led to a flurry of late wickets, meaning the visitors are seven down with lead of just 22 at the close.

    KINGS OF THE NORTH

    With Worcestershire likely winners, and Sussex faltering at home to Derbyshire, it seems only Northants can crash the pormotion party at the top of Division Two. Heading into this round level on points with Sussex in third, Alex Wakeley's men battled hard to dismiss Glamorgan for 320 in their second innings, Gleeson and Kleinveldt both picking up three wickets, to leave themselves 218 for victory. Despite losing Ben Duckett late on, they had moved on to 42/1 by the end of Day Three.

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