NORTHANTS v NOTTS
Northamptonshire completed an impressive 124-run win over Nottinghamshire on the final morning at Wantage Road to take the race for promotion from Division Two into the final week.
The final day was perfectly poised as Notts resumed 107/3 chasing 314 for a victory that would confirm their promotion but were blown away for just 189 before lunch.
It was Northants’ first victory over Notts in the County Championship since 2002 and moves them to within 13 points of Notts going into the final week of the season with Worcestershire six clear at the top of the table. Notts travel to Sussex while Northants visit Leicestershire next week with Worcestershire at home to Durham.
That Northants have a chance of promotion is largely thanks to a virtuoso performance from Rory Kleinveldt in this match. He set Northants on their way on the final morning, removing both overnight batsmen, Cheteshwar Pujara and Jake Libby, after half an hour’s play - Pujara caught at second slip by one that bounced a little and Libby caught at the wicket following an away-swinger. It took Kleinveldt’s match figures to 13 for 98, the best of his career.
But the South African was not alone in producing an impressive bowling display as the four-pronged Northants seam attack all contributed. Ben Sanderson, luckless on the third morning, finally took a wicket and the important scalp of Riki Wessels, lbw playing across the line for just 4.
Samit Patel was the other big danger but after a brief counter-attacking 25, he hooked Richard Gleeson to substitute Saif Zaib at deep-square leg. After Patel’s departure, Chris Read was taken at second slip to give Nathan Buck a second wicket in the innings and Gleeson took out Brett Hutton’s off stump to end the contest.
Northants head coach David Ripley said: "If you beat Notts you’ve earned your victory and we were impressive over the four days. Our seam bowling was fantastic. I always knew they could keep us in the game.
"It’s nice to go to the final game of the season now with promotion still alive."
Notts head coach Peter Moores said: "Their big players stood up and played well. We have no complaints, we were up for the game and knew what was on the game, so all credit to Northants because they played better than us over the four days.
"It’s always been on our radar that we have to get over the line, so it was never designed to be simple. We’ve played some really good cricket this season and we’ve come across two good sides."
DURHAM v SUSSEX
SUSSEX wrapped their seventh Specsavers County Championship win of the season when they beat Durham by 132 runs at Chester-le-Street.
Durham were 131/9 when play was halted just before 2pm. But on the resumption at 4.15 it was all over in six balls as Graham Onions drove Chris Jordan straight to mid-off.
Five defeats had cost Sussex a chance of promotion so they fielded a young side for this match and there were three wickets each today for 20-year-old George Garton and Stuart Whittingham.
Chris Jordan also deservedly picked up three, his two early ones coming as Durham crumbled to 61/7 before James Weighell put bat to ball in contributing 38 to a stand of 50 with Brydon Carse.
Whittingham took two in three balls after lunch when he swung one through left-hander Weighell's airy drive to take out the middle stump, then Chris Rushworth played on.
That brought in Onions and he and Carse survived for 20 balls before the rain arrived.
Durham were all out for 131, ending their seven-match unbeaten run, after resuming on five without loss in pursuit of 264 on a glorious morning. They got through the day's first eight overs without mishap but Tom Latham's exit for four with the total on 19 sparked a dispirited procession.
With Ollie Robinson restricted by a sore side to bowling his off breaks, Whittingham opened up and had Latham lbw when propping forward. Keaton Jennings' misery continued when he played back to a ball from Jordan which went pretty much straight on to hit the top of off stump.
When Garton replaced Whittingham, his fourth ball was slanted across Cameron Steel, who edged it to Michael Burgess. Then Jordan gained an lbw verdict with what was probably not his best shout and his victim, Graham Clark, clearly thought it had nipped back far enough to be missing leg.
Paul Collingwood appeared to be Durham's last hope, but he committed suicide when he called for a second run to third man, and despite his despairing dive he couldn't beat Garton's throw.
Another ball slanted across a right-hander had Michael Richardson caught at second slip by Harry Finch and Garton had his third wicket when Ryan Pringle pushed half forward and was lbw. Carse again showed his batting prowess as he followed his unbeaten 61 in the first innings by making 23 not out.
Sussex coach Mark Davis said: :It's an unbelievable win with such a young team. It was a very good all-round performance. There was some good, aggressive fast bowling creating sustained pressure and it was possibly the best I have seen Chris Jordan run in this season.
"If we want the younger bowlers to come through there will be times when they don't get it right and there will be frustration. But they got it right today."
GLAMORGAN v GLOUCESTERSHIRE
Glamorgan’s Nick Selman was unbeaten on 142 against Gloucestershire when wet weather and bad light conspired to ensure the match ended in a draw on Day Four at Cardiff.
Glamorgan supporters would have been heartened by the performances of their young batsmen on the final day of their last home game of the season, but would also been disappointed not have witnessed a positive outcome to the game.
The home side led by 43 going into the final day but were never in a position to declare after Phil Mustard had opted to prolong the Gloucestershire first innings, instead of declaring some 100 runs adrift.
Mustard said at the end of the third day that he had hoped to gain a lead on first innings, and then take some early wickets to put the opposition under pressure. This was unlikely to happen as the visitors’ leading wicket-taker Liam Norwell was unable to bowl, while the Cardiff pitch did nothing to encourage the bowlers throughout the game.
A defeat for either team would not have made any significant difference to their respective positions in the Division Two, and although Mustard did bring himself and Chris Dent into the attack to offer some easy runs, it was a token gesture with only 47 overs left in the day.
Nick Selman and Andrew Salter batted throughout the morning session, and had put on 185 in 51 overs for the second wicket, before Salter was caught at slip off Jack Taylor’s off-spin for a career-best score of 88 – his previous best was 84 in the first innings.
Selman went to score his fourth century of the season, before proceeding to his career best, and also share a rapid 89-run partnership with Kiran Carlson, who made 53 to go with his first inning 191, before he was trapped lbw by Dent.
As the light worsened and Mustard hinted he would recall the seamers, the umpires signalled an early tea and it wasn’t long before the captains decided to shake hands. Glamorgan ended on 353/3, a lead of 396, with Selman undefeated on 142, and Chris Cooke 46.