• Specsavers County Championship 8m

    Div Two: Promotion still in balance

    The Div Two promotion race continued to be a tight affair after closely-fought first days were interrupted by rain

    The Div Two promotion race continued to be a tight affair after closely-fought first days were interrupted by rain

    Kent 302 v Glamorgan 18/1
    Gloucestershire v Derbyshire 104/2
    Leicestershire v Northants - no play due to rain
    Sussex 230/5 v Nottinghamshire
    Worcestershire 90/3 v Durham


    Delray Rawlins and Michael Burgess led a Sussex fight back after promotion-chasing Nottinghamshire had reduced them to 107 for 5 on the first day of the Specsavers County Championship match at Hove.

    The pair, who boast just 18 first-class appearances between them, batted through the final session to take Sussex to 230 for 5 from 66.3 overs when bad light stopped play, adding 123 in 33.1 overs.


    Second-placed Nottinghamshire need 12 points to seal promotion from Division Two and had a measure of control after a three-wicket burst by Steven Mullaney with the new ball.

    The toss was uncontested and when play began at 1pm following morning rain Nottinghamshire’s seamers took advantage of ideal bowling conditions to run through Sussex’s top order under heavy cloud cover with the ball swinging and darting off the seam.

    Mullaney’s victims included Sussex skipper Luke Wells who held his side together with an excellent 46 before he was lbw to one that skidded on in the last over before tea. Mullaney also had Chris Nash (19) to a catch in the gully and trapped Laurie Evans lbw for 1 when Evans missed a straight ball he was working to leg.

    Luke Wood had made the breakthrough in his third over when Harry Finch (10) edged a good out-swinger to Chris Read, who is making the final appearance of his career.


    Phil Salt helped Wells take Sussex to 51 before he drove a slower ball from Brett Hutton to cover for 16. That was the seamer’s 37th victim of the season and made him Nottinghamshire’s leading wicket taker.

    When Wells was out Nottinghamshire were in control and their position would have been even stronger had Rawlins not been badly dropped at mid-wicket by Chet Pujara on nought.

    He took 15 balls to get off the mark but the former England under-19 all-rounder began to play with increasing confidence, hitting Samit Patel’s fourth ball back over his head for six.

    Burgess, who signed his first contract with Sussex last week, was soon into his stride, a couple of square drives off successive balls from Hutton the pick of the nine boundaries he hit in his half-century, which he reached with a slog sweep off Patel for six.

    When bad light stopped play with 8.3 overs remaining, Burgess had progressed to 67 from 94 balls while Rawlins reached his maiden Championship half-century shortly before stumps. So far, he has faced 123 balls and hit seven boundaries and a six. 


    Joe Clarke provided glimpses of his rich potential to steady promotion-chasing Worcestershire's first innings on a truncated opening day of the Championship clash with Durham at New Road.
    The England Lions batsman came to the wicket with Worcestershire perched uneasily on 13-2 after choosing to bat and being given a searching examination by the Durham pace trio of Chris Rushworth, Graham Onions and Mark Wood.
    Clarke commented on his side's aim: "Are we keeping tabs on the other matches? The main thing is to look at this game and hopefully we can be on the good side of it. To finish as champions would be brilliant but we will take it step by step, day by day."
    It was not the start the home side were looking for in pursuit of the maximum six points needed to guarantee a return to Division One next summer when play got underway at 2pm.
    But by the time rain and bad light had led to play being called off for the day at 5.15pm, Clarke had moved onto an unbeaten run-a-ball 46 out of 90-3 from 26 overs after he had wrestled the initiative back from the Durham attack.
    The 21-year-old will be hoping for positive news in the week when the Lions squad for the winter training camp in Australia during November-December is expected to be announced.
    Worcestershire skipper Joe Leach opted to bat first on a new wicket already showing signs of taking spin via Durham debutant, slow left armer Liam Trevaskis.
    But it was the seam bowlers who did the initial damage including Onions who announced today that he is leaving Durham after 14 years after failing to agree a new contract.
    Brett D'Oliveira had a let off before he had scored with Ryan Pringle at third slip spilling a low chance off Onions. Fellow Worcestershire opener Daryl Mitchell went into the game as the second highest run-scorer in Division Two but after making five he edged Rushworth to Keaton Jennings at second slip.
    Tom Fell (1) was bowled by an inswinging delivery from Onions to leave Worcestershire on 13-2 in the 10th over. There was much playing and missing of the new ball and Clarke inside edged Rushworth for four.
    But Clarke and D'Oliveira gradually started to flourish. Clarke reeled off a series of impressive boundaries and the 50 stand with D'Oliveira came up in 11 overs.
    After battling his way to 22, D'Oliveira pushed forward to Jennings and was caught by Paul Collingwood at second slip at 69-3. Clarke continued to play with freedom and collected three boundaries in an over from 18-year-old Trevaskis before the players went for tea and never returned.



    Joe Denly’s 23rd first-class century led a spirited Kent fightback on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match with Division 2 rivals Glamorgan in Canterbury.

    The hosts had lost four wickets and Denly had yet to get off the mark after Glamorgan’s pace attack made a fiery start on a well-grassed pitch, but 31-year-old Denly dug in to post his fourth Championship ton of the summer and lead the hosts to relative riches at 302 all out.

    Denly said at the close of play: "I think we're in a very good position now if we can put the ball in good areas more often than not and challenge the top of off stump, then I'll think we'll create chances. Hopefully we can hang on to our catches too."

    In the 13 overs through to stumps, Glamorgan reached 18 for one to trail by 284 runs going into day two. The visitors, who named seven graduates from the junior Welsh ranks in their starting XI, lost Nick

    Selman in the third over to a catch at the wicket off Adam Milne, but played with spirit thereafter in fast fading light.

    Batting first when Glamorgan opted to bowl after an uncontested toss, Kent were indebted to No3 Denly for contributing over half the home total and for salvaging the innings from the depths of 39 for four.

    Kent lost both openers within the first 37 deliveries of the match. Sean Dickson, prodding outside off against Michael Hogan, edged low to David Lloyd at slip, then, to the very next delivery from Lucas Carey, Daniel Bell-Drummond aimed an expansive drive without moving his feet and feathered one though to the gloves of Chris Cooke.

    The Kentish malaise worsened when skipper Sam Northeast chased a wide, floating away-swinger from Carey to be caught at slip and soon after, Sam Billings’ 14-ball stay ended for 18. Pushing on the back foot to a Rory Smith away-swinger that started on a fourth-stump line and kept swinging, Billings lamely followed to edge to the keeper. The right-hander also stood his ground, forcing umpire Nigel Cowley, officiating in his final game, to raise the trigger finger.

    With Denly becalmed on a single for 45 minutes, the hosts finally raised their 50 in the 19th over, but the interval only served to break Zak Crawley’s concentration and his useful contribution ended in the second over after the resumption. Aiming a leg-side flick against Hogan, he found a leading edge to balloon a simple catch to mid-off.

    Hogan struck again soon after, snaring Darren Stevens lbw with an off-cutter that darted back up the slope while Stevens shouldered arms.


    Denly and Callum Haggett joined forces to add a useful 87 until Haggett fell just before tea, departing lbw after working across the line of a Lloyd in-swinger.

    Denly found another willing ally in Adam Milne who played some eye-catching drives in moving to 33 for his part in an eighth-wicket stand of 57. The Kiwi ought to have gone for 28 when he skied to deep square leg, only to be downed by Connor Brown. The blunder mattered little, however, as Milne soon nicked off to slip against Craig Meschede to spark a secondary collapse.

    Denly posted his 10,000th run in first-class cricket and moved past 150 from 200 balls but, after 300 minutes at the crease, he danced down the pitch to Lloyd aiming an expansive lofted shot only to hear the ‘death rattle’ behind him.

    Kent debutant Grant Stewart got off the mark with a rasping pulled boundary against Smith but, with the new ball available, Hogan returned to have last man Imran Qayyum caught at second slip to end Kent’s innings just after 5pm.

    Hogan finished with four for 44, but Kent also had reason to be pleased with a comeback that ultimately reaped three batting bonus points.


    It was a frustrating day at the Brightside Ground in Bristol as a wet outfield, bad light and early evening rain meant only 26 overs were bowled on the first day of the Specsavers' County Championship game between Gloucestershire and Derbyshire.

    Having failed three inspections and with the sides having had an early lunch, the damp outfield was finally declared playable at 2pm. Derbyshire, having been invited to bat first, made a brisk start to their first innings with Luis Reece, who was dropped on nine by Chris Dent at slip, and Ben Slater looking in decent touch.

    However, having added 65 for the first wicket in 15 overs, Reece was trapped leg before by Matt Taylor for 13. It was the beginning of a decent period for the hosts, who by their own admission, had started the day slowly.


    "The ball did enough for us, but we didn't put it in the right areas," said Gloucestershire captain Phil Mustard.

    "To be honest, I thought we were a bit slow out of the blocks."

    Still, having taken the scalp of Reece, Taylor struck again, two overs later when he bowled Slater for 45 at 74 for 2.

    "There were one or two early chances that went begging, but I felt we got better as the day went on," added Mustard.

    Slater, who batted well, said; "It was difficult to bat when the bowlers put the ball in the right areas.

    "So, we made sure we hit tyhe bad balls and put some runs on the board. For me, it was nice to get a few runs, but would have been nicer to have gone past 50. Myself and Luis did put on 50 plus for the first wicket and we helped to take the shine off the ball for the batsmen behind us.

    "Hopefully, we will get some sun tomorrow and we can sit back and watch the lads get some runs.Having reached 104 for 2 with Wayne Madsen unbeaten on 24 and Alex Hughes 10 not out, the rain began to fall and the skies began to darken."

    The umpires had one or two looks thereafter, but no further play was possible.

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