YORKSHIRE v WARWICKSHIRE
Yorkshire claimed a thrilling victory over Warwickshire at Headingley as Steve Patterson and Matt Fisher starred with the bat to help them take a giant step towards Division One safety.
Bears off-spinner Jeetan Patel (6/50) claimed his first five-wicket haul of the season to go with his first-innings century as the White Rose slipped to 96/7 before lunch in pursuit of a 175 target.
But eighth-wicket pair Patterson and Fisher were the home heroes by sharing 78 inside 28 overs either side of lunch in this two-wicket win.
Yorkshire, who started Day Four on 56/3, claimed 21 points from their fourth win of the campaign, secured with 53.4 overs remaining when Patterson cut Chris Wright for four to move to 44 not out off 78 balls.
They moved to 145 points ahead of next week’s final round clash with champions Essex at Chelmsford, which starts on Monday. The best second-bottom Somerset can hope for against Surrey is a draw, but they could still lose.
A Somerset draw would see the gap to Yorkshire at 13 points ahead of next week, while a defeat would see them 18 points behind. Somerset host Middlesex at Taunton, with Middlesex also below Yorkshire in the table. That leaves the White Rose in an incredibly strong position.
Patel picked up the first three wickets of the day, including key man Gary Ballance for 21 as the first of those. He trapped the left-hander lbw pushing forwards as the hosts fell to 71/4 in the 28th over, the sixth of this tense final day.
Nailbiter at Headingley !— David 'Bumble' Lloyd (@BumbleCricket) September 22, 2017
Patel, who bowled unchanged from the Kirkstall Lane End, claimed his fourth wicket of the innings when Ian Bell took a fine catch diving to his left at leg slip to help remove Jack Leaning - 86/5 in the 36th.
Tim Bresnan then holed out to deep mid-wicket off the New Zealand bowler in the next over to record his sixth duck of the Championship season. Before Ryan Sidebottom had Andrew Hodd caught at slip low down by Patel. At that stage, Yorkshire still needed 79 more with only three wickets left.
But Patterson and Fisher lifted the mood amongst the Headingley faithful, with grumbles soon turning to cheers. Patterson was particularly strong on the back foot through the off side as he and Fisher helped to take the score to 141/7 at lunch, needing 34 more.
Both men have endured frustrating seasons. This was Fisher’s first appearance of the season, and he celebrated with five wickets in the first innings and also hit 37. Patterson has been left out of the side at times, but he impressed with four wickets in the second innings.
Their half-century stand came up inside eight overs immediately after lunch as Patterson cover drove Patel for four and got three much squarer shortly afterwards. Warwickshire conceded 40 extras, including two four byes off Patel as the target became six.
Fisher finished with 15 as he was caught at leg slip at the death before Yorkshire’s Ryan Sidebottom, injured for this match, was clapped on to the field by his team-mates in a guard of honour after victory had been confirmed.
HAMPSHIRE v ESSEX
Sam Cook took maiden first-class five-wicket haul as champions Essex pulled off an extraordinary 108-run victory despite earlier being forced to follow-on against Hampshire.
Fast bowler Cook blasted through Hampshire’s top order to end with figures of 5/18, and leave the relegation threatened home side with their lowest total since 1984 – as they were bowled out for 76.
It was the first time since 1999, when they beat Nottinghamshire, that Essex managed to win a Specsavers County Championship match after being asked to follow-on.
Incidentally the previous occasion, the second of three in their history, was against Hampshire, at Bournemouth’s Dean Park, in their last Championship-winning campaign 25 years ago.
Hampshire, who had bowled Essex out for 76 in the first innings, had been set 185 runs to win – after Neil Wagner and James Foster’s 82-run partnership for the eighth wicket put the wheels in motion for the remarkable win.
Hampshire’s pursuit started poorly as Joe Weatherley was pinned lbw as he walked across his stumps by Sam Cook in his first over. It got worse five overs later as Tom Alsop edged Jamie Porter behind.
Cook then deceived Jimmy Adams by coming around the wicket and wide of the crease to clatter a delivery into the left-hander’s off stump.
The 20-year-old, making just his third Championship appearance as he prepares for the final year of his History degree, then produced a wicked in-swinger to bowl George Bailey. Hampshire had lost three wickets without scoring a run as they were stuck on 12.
Sean Ervine was lbw to Porter, his 70th scalp of the season, leaving the hosts 25/5. Vince, one of three batsmen to depart for 10, was next to fall as he was lbw to the rampant Cook.
Off spinner Simon Harmer entered the attack in the 21st over and struck with his first delivery as he bowled Liam Dawson with a vicious spinner. Wagner then grabbed two wickets as Gareth Berg edged to first slip and Kyle Abbott guided to cover point.
Cook completed the innings as Fidel Edwards edged behind, with Ian Holland unbeaten on an innings-high 16.
Hampshire’s incredible collapse, which leaves them within touching distance above the relegation zone, made sure champions Essex remain unbeaten with the most unlikely of their nine wins this season.
SURREY v SOMERSET
A valiant Somerset rearguard action with the bat was ultimately in vain at the Kia Oval as Kumar Sangakkara and Ben Foakes hurried Surrey to a 143-run win target and victory by six wickets with 8.2 overs to spare. Surrey’s 23 points put them second in the first division table, with Somerset’s four points leaving them in a vulnerable seventh position.
Sangakkara, having reached 35 off 47 balls, gave a sharp return catch to 20-year-old off spinner Dom Bess, with Surrey needing just another 15 runs, and was shaken by the hand by Marcus Trescothick and then the entire Somerset team as he went off to a standing ovation from every spectator in the ground. Foakes finished on 42 not out from 44 balls, and Ollie Pope ended the match in style by hitting Bess for a six and a four in the space of three balls.
Somerset, starting the last day still 51 runs adrift on 113/4 in their second innings, put up determined resistance with Peter Trego (68 off 83 balls), Steven Davies (52) and Bess, last out for 35 from 63 balls, all batting with great resolve and spirit.
But Surrey kept chipping away with wickets at vital times, including when teenage all-rounder Ryan Patel bowled Trego with his sixth ball and Somerset – despite the further lower order efforts of Bess and Jack Leach, who stayed an hour for his 15 – could not quite eat up enough time or overs before being bowled out for 306.
The result makes Somerset heavy favourites to go down with already-relegated Warwickshire from Division One, although their final match of the season next week is at home to fellow strugglers Middlesex at Taunton.
If Somerset beat Middlesex with at least one more bonus point than their visitors, however, then it will be Middlesex who will drop to Division Two – unless Hampshire, three points behind Middlesex, are beaten by Warwickshire at Edgbaston and fail to get enough bonus points themselves. With Yorkshire, though two points ahead of Middlesex, not quite out of the relegation picture either, despite their thrilling win against Warwickshire at Headingley, it certainly promises to be a tense final week of the season.
Surrey’s final session chase began in a rush of early strokes but then stuttered when both Rory Burns and Mark Stoneman were out in successive overs. Burns was superbly caught at long leg for 13, hooking at Craig Overton, and Stoneman edged behind for 24 off Tim Groenewald.
Come for the stunning one-handed catch...— County Championship (@CountyChamp) September 22, 2017
...stay for the umpire diving to the ground 👐😂 pic.twitter.com/qY7Mh14mZm
Sangakkara, however, applauded all the way to the middle as he walked in to play his final innings at the Oval, steadied Surrey’s ship in a stand of 34 with Patel before the latter was bowled for 17 swinging at Bess’s off spin. He and Foakes then added 53 to put the result beyond doubt.
It could have been 73/4, though, if Foakes had been caught at slip off Bess from his first ball, but it flew away for a streaky four and, after that, Foakes and Sangakkara made sure there would be no more slip-ups. When victory was all but assured, both batsmen decided to have some fun with Foakes lofting Bess straight for six and hitting six fours, while Sangakkara gave the Surrey faithful a few final silky strokes through the covers and off his pads to enjoy before his dismissal.