• Specsavers County Championship 4m

    The Summer of 2017 - The Championship

    We look back at the highlights of the season in the Specsavers County Championship.

    Don't be sad because it's over. Be glad that it happened. A long summer of cricket comes to an end, so why not relive it again! 

    Maybe not so much in real-time, even if it would take us neatly into the 2018 summer, but here are eleven standout moments from an incredible Specsavers County Championship season.


    Simon Harmer's off-spin took 72-wickets. In another season, he'd be the standout bowler in the country, let alone his county. But Jamie Porter's 75 wickets came at a ridiculous average of 16. He took five five-wicket hauls in the season and also managed to nab 12-95 against Somerset. Having led the line in Essex's promotion in 2016, he has again done so with distinction in 2017. 


    On first glance this isn't the sort of unplayable delivery that gets you selected for an Ashes tour but the Hampshire leg-spinner has made a big name for himself this summer.


    There were a number of contenders but for Matt Coles' 'slug' lives particulaly long in the memory. Sam Billings certainly thought so.


    Middlesex's Steven Finn was the final victim of a remarkable Simon Harmer 9-wicket haul as Essex beat the champions in the final over of the match under the lights. The pink ball day-night round was the first of it's kind in the Specsavers County Championship and the drama at Chemsford, as the clock approached 9pm, perhaps pointed to the sides contrasting futures in Division One.

    Highlights - Essex v Middlesex Day 4

    The final day saw Division One leaders Essex pushing for a victory against the title holders Middlesex.


    With a Champions Trophy winners medal in the bag Pakistani left-arm quickie Mohammad Amir linked up with Essex for a stint in the Championship. His first match - with the pink Duke - showed glimpses of what he could do but his second appearance, at Scarborough, delivered two five-fors as the home team was trounced in two days.

    Mohammad Amir takes 10 wickets!

    Pakistan international Amir took 10 wickets for 72 runs in the match as leaders Essex blew Yorkshire away at Scarborough


    The umpires may have been scratching their heads when they noted the name Ryan Sidebottom on the Warwickshire team sheet. It wasn't in fact Yorkshire's veteran left-armer but a 28-year-old Australian seamer plucked from the Birmingham league. Sadly an injury meant the pair didn't get to play against each other at Headingley. The Yorkshire end of season do did something to make amends.


    Form is temporary, class is permanent – and, unfortunately, Kumar Sangakkara is human. With human principles, such as a life outside of cricket. It's a shame he is, truth be told. In his last summer of professional cricket, he scored the most runs and notched eight centuries in the process. Not to mention a handy average of 106.5.


    2017 was a vintage year for the elder stateman of cricket, Chris Read, Kumar Sangakkara and Ryan Sidebottom all called time aged 39. Life and cricket does continue after forty, as demonstated by Kent stalwart 41-year-old Darren Stevens (822 runs and 63 wickets), Paul Collingwood - also 41 - scored 1,087 runs at a shade under 50 for Durham and Lancashire's Shiv Chanderpaul - now 43 - quietly got on with the business of scoring 831 runs at 52 with three hundreds. Marcus Trescothick (41) showed you can teach a dog new tricks at slip in the final game. Perhaps he was just tired?

    25 YEARS ON

    Promotion came in 2016. It was overdue. Essex, for a while, had been a Division One team in waiting. They discussed challenging for the title but many said they would just need to make do with steering clear of relegation. What followed was a remarkable campaign in which they won 10 out of their 14 matches, winning the Championship with two rounds to spare.


    Three teams had a shout of winning the County Championship on the final day of the 2016 season. As the climax to 2017 approached those same three, Yorkshire, Somerset and defending champions Middlesex, were scrapping it out along with Hampshire. As the final day approached it was simple; Hampshire needed a draw to send Middlesex down along with Warwickshire who endured a tough season in red ball cricket.


    For many observers Nottinghamshire were nailed on as the runaway winners of Division Two. Stuart Broad and James Pattinson up front, plus England's Jake Ball in support, made for a mouthwatering bowling attack early season. With the two white ball trophies already in the Trent Bridge trophy cabinat a third looked a formality, but Worcestershire had other ideas, beating them by eight wickets at Trent Bridge a week after they won the NatWest T20 Blast. Four straight wins followed and Worcestershire had the title in the bag. Northamptonshire almost crashed the party, a late surge taking them within sight of a promotion place, but 124 from Chris Read in his farewell appearence helped ensure a Nottinghamshire draw at Sussex and the runners-up spot.

    Highlights - Nottinghamshire v Worcestershire Day 4

    A measured century from Daryl Mitchell helped Worcestershire to become the first side to defeat Nottinghamshire in this season.


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