• Specsavers County Championship 2m

    Top five: Specsavers County Championship 28 Sept

    There's heartbreak for Middlesex and joy for Somerset, Worcs and Notts on a nerve-shredding final day of the Championship season

    The Specsavers County Championship, we heart you. Once again, it gave us drama right to the very last ball of the season...


    Somehow, Somerset pulled it off. Looking dead and buried a few weeks back, they strung together a sequence of four wins from their last seven games to see them survive by a solitary point. Most of the damage had been done prior to the final day but it was fitting that spin wizard Jack Leach played a prominent role in polishing off the job, finishing with second innings figures of 5/57 and kickstarting the party with the final wicket. That was cue for a whole lot of celebrating and, we can only assume, a whole lot of cider drinking.


    You could cut the tension over Edgbaston with a knife all day long, until that is, precisely 5.41pm when already relegated Warwickshire admitted defeat in their pursuit of victory and shook hands with Hampshire pair Kyle Abbott and Ian Holland out in the middle. Holland had batted 90 balls for his unbeaten 21 but James Vince, fresh from his unexpected Ashes call-up on Wednesday, took the sting out of the game with 30 from 124 deliveries. A special final day #digin award to Liam Dawson too, who batted 94 balls for just nine!  


    Hands up who saw this coming? A year on from that crazy day at Lord's where Middlesex ended a 23-year wait to land the Division One title they slipped out of the top flight by a single point, the two they were docked for a slow over rate at Surrey ultimately costing them. They had a chance to save themselves in Somerset but succumbed on a Taunton turner. The side that finished three places above them in fouth - Yorkshire - ended up with just two more points than them. 


    What a season for Worcestershire. With Notts looking nailed on as Division Two champions three-quarters of the season in, the Pears timed their late push perfectly, victory at Trent Bridge a few weeks back the key moment. They bowled Durham out for 232 on the last day with India star Ravi Ashwin underlining his importance in their late surge by taking 5/95 in the second innings. And, of course, skipper Joe Leach got in on the act to finish with 69 wickets for the season. New Road rejoiced.


    Worcestershire's promotion partners are Notts, and given their early season form, no-one could quibble with their instant return to Division One. After Chris Read and Billy Root's heroics on Wednesday, today was all about finishing the job and as it turned out, they weren't even required to bat again down at Hove. A fitting way for club legend Read to bow out after a long and distinguished career.

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