• Specsavers County Championship 8m

    Div Two: Worcs go top as promotion battle hots up

    Worcestershire took top spot after a crucial win over Leicestershire in their fight for promotion as Northants keep pressure up with win

    Glamorgan 207 & 320 lost to Northants 310 & 221/3
    Gloucestershire 385 & 290/8 drew with Kent 386
    Worcestershire 493 & 132/4 beat Leicestershire 404 & 220
    Sussex 271 & 298/6 v Derbyshire 338 & 322/8d


    Worcestershire moved a massive step closer to securing promotion back to Division One with a six wicket triumph over Leicestershire at New Road. The home side chalked up their third successive win in the competition on the brink of tea to move nine points clear at the top of the table from Nottinghamshire who have a match in hand.
    Victory also kept nearest rivals Northamptonshire and Sussex at arm's length and they will have to wait the outcome of results next week to know if they will be promoted before their final match with Durham at New Road starting on September 25.
    Worcestershire have responded positively after a disappointing NatWest T20 Blast campaign and the arrival of Indian spin star Ravichandran Ashwin has also had a positive impact on a side which in this match has contained Academy products.
    But they were made to work harder by bottom placed Leicestershire than had seemed likely at the beginning of the fourth day before completing an eighth win of the season and 14 in the last 24 matches.
    The Foxes resumed on 111/7 - just 22 ahead - but a century stand between Zak Chappell and Lewis Hill and another impressive spell by spinner Callum Parkinson kept Worcestershire on their toes before securing a maximum 24 point haul.
    Bottom placed Leicestershire were left to reflect on an encouraging performance but paid the price for a disastrous start to their second innings which reduced them to 10/4 and an uphill and ultimately vain fight to salvage the game.
    Hill, who was 18 not out overnight, and new batsman Chappell counter-attacked to good effect during a stand of 103 in just 23 overs. Chappell was the dominant partner and he straight drove Ashwin for six to reach his half century - which also contained seven fours - off just 63 balls. 
    Hill offered solid support and his fifty was completed off 96 deliveries with five boundaries. But the innings then ended swiftly with the loss of three wickets in four overs.
    Chappell would have been disappointed at the manner his innings concluded when he pulled a short ball from paceman Pat Brown to Brett D'Oliveira at mid on after making 66.
    Brown struck again in his next over and Dieter Klein fell in similar fashion to Joe Clarke at mid wicket without troubling the scorers. Ashwin then had Hill (60) caught by D'Oliveira on the deep square leg boundary.
    With the possibility of rain looming, Worcestershire openers Daryl Mitchell and D'Oliveira seized every opportunity to keep the scoreboard ticking along before both perished to Parkinson who had taken eight wickets in the first innings.
    D'Oliveira (15) went for a slog sweep and was bowled and Mitchell (34) played forward and the ball spun back onto his stumps. Ben Raine bowled a marathon 12 over spell with the new ball and was rewarded when Tom Fell (18) was also bowled after playing forward.
    Joe Clarke and George Rhodes (21 not out) added 55 before the former was lbw to Aadil Ali for 35 with just eight runs required, prior to Ashwin hitting the winning runs.

    After defeating Glamorgan by wickets in Cardiff today, Northants remain in contention for promotion to Division 1, and with a game in hand over Worcestershire, next week’s important game against leaders Nottinghamshire could determine who goes up next season.

    They will play bottom club Leicestershire in the final game, and if they replicate this fine all - round performance in their last two games, they have a chance of promotion.

    They also defeated the weather, after heavy rain stopped play with only nine runs needed for victory. There was delay of 82 minutes, before the weather relented and victory was achieved with 34.4 overs to spare.

    Simon Kerrigan, who is on loan from Lancashire, ostensibly for his left arm spin, shone as a batsman as Northants reached their target with seven wickets in hand. After coming in as nightwatchman after Ben Duckett was dismissed the previous evening, Kerrigan never looked in any trouble against a Glamorgan attack, who were guilty of bowling too many poor deliveries in the morning session giving the batsmen opportunities to score freely and set up the run chase.

    Resuming on 42 for 1, the second wicket pair were soon scoring at four runs an over, and apart from Michael Hogan, they scored freely and quickly shared a 50- run partnership. Newton reached fifty from 99 balls with nine fours – his second half century of the game - but was out shortly afterwards when he was bowled by Craig Meschede.This was Newton’s tenth score over fifty in the Championship this season, the most by any player in the two divisions.

    Kerrigan’s commendable contribution ended when he was bowled, shouldering arms against Hogan, for 62, equalling his previous career best score made for Lancashire against Hampshire at Southport in 2013.

    Following Kerrigan’s dismissal, Richard Levi joined Alex Wakeley, the captain having recovered from his injured finger, and the first innings centurion made his intentions clear by hitting two sixes as Northants accelerated towards their target. The rain then descended and it was a frustrating wait for the visitors, but when play restarted they needed only a further nine balls to reach their target, and a welcome 22 points.


    A magnificent display of fast bowling by South African Hardus Viljoen inspired Derbyshire to only their second Championship victory of the season against Sussex at Hove.

    Viljoen, 28, followed up his first innings return of seven for 80 to take eight for 90 to finish with career best match figures of 15 fort 170 as Sussex, bowled out for 344, were beaten by 45 runs.  It was the fifth best match return by a Derbyshire bowler.

    This was the fifth time Viljoen had taken ten or more wickets in an innings – but it’s the first time he has achieved it for Derbyshire, who must regret that he has been injured for most of the season.

    He said: “It was just my day, and if it’s your day you have to run with it.  I’m not a big stats man but it was a privilege and an honour to be able to do that.  It was just nice to be on the field and be able to do what I love for a change."

    At the start of the day it looked as though Derbyshire had been stingy with their declaration.  By declaring their innings closed at their overnight score of 322 for eight they set Sussex a formidable 390 for victory.

    But Sussex had to go for the win to keep their promotion hopes alive.  And Derbyshire knew that that would give them their best chance of victory. Viljoen, who is genuine fast bowler, started his demolition job in his second over of the day, when he had Angus Robson caught at third slip. The fielder, Matt Critchley, took the ball with his hands high above his head.

    But by lunchtime Sussex had put themselves in with a chance of pulling off a stunning victory. They were 110 for one, and needed another 280.

    Luke Wells and Stiaan van Zyl had set the platform for an unlikely win by the home side, van Zyl bringing up the 100 partnership just before lunch when he straight drove Luis Reece for four.

    After the break, Wells hit Viljoen for three successive fours but was then lbw looking for a fourth. And when Chris Nash was caught in the slips for just nine in Viljoen’s next over Sussex were 147 for three and Derbyshire were back in the match.

    But the match turned towards Sussex once again as even Viljoen struggled against van Zyl and the more pugnacious Luke Wright as the pair put on 120 for the fourth wicket.  At tea, when Sussex were 236 for three, needing another 154 from 36 overs, they were clear favourites to win the match.

    But then van Zyl turned the game towards Derbyshire once again.  He had van Zyl caught at third man for 85 and then dismissed the Sussex captain Ben Brown, caught at slip.  Then, when he plucked out Wright’s middle stump for 80 with a Yorker Sussex were struggling at 276 for six.

    Ollie Robinson and Jofra Archer continued to encourage the Sussex supporters with a seventh wicket stand of 31.  But then Viljoen took out Robinson’s off stump for 15 before having Archer caught at slip for 25.  Harry Podmore finished the job for Derbyshire with the final two wickets, thanks to fine catches by Hamidullah Qadri and Ben Slater.  But Viljoen was the great hero of the day.


    Not even a badly damaged finger could prevent Gareth Roderick from keeping Kent at bay on the final day of Gloucestershire's Specsavers' County Championship game in Bristol.

    The day began with Gloucestershire's official website claiming Roderick would miss the remainder of the season after suffering a significant finger injury whilst keeping wicket on day three.

    Brave Roderick said: "It was sore, but I decided early on that if I was needed I would bat. I tried on a batting glove and that was fine, so I knew that if required it would be okay to get out there.

    "We knew it would be a tough day if we lost early wickets against a side liuke this. We did lose those early wickets so we had our backs against the wall."

    However, when the host county found themselves in a spot of bother in mid-afternoon, Roderick reached for his pads, gloves and bat and duly held up Kent's push for victory.

    By the time captain Phil Mustard declared, bringing the match to an earlier than scheduled end, Roderick was 78 not out, Gloucestershire were safe and Kent were left to wonder what might have been.

    It had been anything but a successful start to the day for Gloucestershire. Kent, desperate for early wickets, left an indelible mark on Gloucestershire's top order, thanks to veteran all-rounder Darren Stevens.

    The 41-year-old sent back Chris Dent (41) with the very first ball of the day and then trapped captain Mustard lbw, three balls later. When James Bracey departed in the same manner, Gloucestershire were 91 for 3. With the news of Roderick's likely no-show, that, effectively, was 91 for 4. Or so we thought.

    First innings batting hero Cameron Bancroft, and George Hankins, provided some respite and took the hosts to 146 before the latter edged Mitch Claydon to Sam Billings and though Bancroft and Jack Taylor survived to lunch and beyond, there was further trouble ahead.

    Bancroft departed for 72, at 186 for 5 and Taylor, who was dropped at second slip on 9, at 163 for 4,  followed the Australian back to the pavilion a dozen runs later when Matt Coles had him caught behind by Billings for 27. It got worse, for Gloucestershire, before it improved, with Kieran Noema-Barnett, driving Stevens to mid off where sub fielder Imran Qayyun took a comfortable catch.

    From that juncture, the pressure fell on the shoulders of Roderick. With Josh Shaw providing solid support, the 26-year-old looked in precious little trouble or discomfort as Kent struggled for the break through.

    By the time Stevens helped himself to a fifth wicket in the innings, that of Shaw, for 2, Gloucestershire were just about home and dry at 249 for 8.

    Roderick passed his 50 off 76 balls, with eight fours, and continued to help himself before the players shook hands with 26 overs still remaining.

We Are England Cricket Supporters

Sign in to We Are England Cricket Supporters

Join We Are England Cricket Supporters for FREE to get the latest news, information and highlights from England Cricket via email

You can also get access to a number of other benefits as a Supporter. Once you’ve signed up, look out for your welcome email with more information.

Sign up using your email

Your password should contain:

  • minimum of 8 characters
  • numbers
  • upper and lower case letters

Select your preferences

Additional details and preferences

We Are England Cricket Supporters sign-up is subject to our terms and conditions. Please click here to view the terms and conditions.

Our privacy notice outlines how we use your information. Please click here to view our privacy notice.

Use the verification code sent via email to activate your account.

Your England Cricket Supporters Profile

Update your details

Select your preferences Close

Additional preferences


Request a new password

Set a new password.

Your password should contain:

  • minimum of 8 characters
  • numbers
  • upper and lower case letters

Resend verificaton email