GM's County Round-Up 8

This week saw the County Championship move past the halfway mark of the season with the last round of fixtures before the Vitality Blast T20 tournament beginning. It was an extremely important week for England hopefuls, with only one more round of matches before the first Test Match against India in August.


At Old Trafford, a high-scoring draw between Lancashire and Hampshire featured a trio of GM hundreds. The first of which was awarded to Hampshire captain James Vince who won the toss and elected to make first use of an excellent batting track.

As usual the free-flowing Vince did not disappoint, hitting boundaries with ease to bring up his second County Championship hundred of the year, moving past the 600-run mark for the in the process. Vince made 103, including 15 fours and a six, before losing his wicket with the score 187/3. Some middle and lower order resistance allowed his side to eventually reach 451 all out, despite Kyle Abbott’s three wickets.

Lancashire’s reply got off to a tricky start, reaching 70 for the loss of three wickets. However, Alex Davies remained stoic at the top of the order when he was joined by Dane Vilas, the two proceeded to add 138 runs for the fourth wicket, with Davies reaching his first Championship hundred of the year. Davies eventually fell for 115, but Vilas was ably supported by the all-rounder Jordan Clark as he reached his second ton of the year in a partnership worth 112. The score line read 320/5 when Vilas was eventually dismissed for a terrific 134. Clark, however, quickly began to run out of partners, before he was run out by Vince for 82. Two balls later the Lancashire innings was over, finishing 411 all out, 40 runs behind.AlexDavies

That left just a day in the match to force a result, however the pitch proved too good for any dramatic collapses, despite Clark’s efforts of 2/18. The draw means that both sides may be forced in a relegation battle as the two sides below them in the table have a game in hand.

An even higher-scoring match took place in Chelmsford as Essex hosted Somerset in a day/night game. Essex batted first and racked-up an enormous total of 517/5d thanks in no small part to Ryan ten Doeschate’s 173*, including a partnership worth 294. Dom Bess bowled a marathon spell of 35 overs on the trot (49 in total) to take 2/132, whilst Lewis Gregory toiled away to remove Tom Westley for 21.

The Somerset innings, whilst not featuring anything like the mammoth innings from ten Doeschate, was punctuated by a series of starts and 50’s, with nobody in the top six making less than 39. George Bartlett contributed 42 runs batting at number three, whilst Gregory and Bess provided some lower order resistance, making 22 and 35 respectively as Somerset finished 407 all out.

Essex’s second innings got off to a terrible start, losing Westley in the second over, and Gregory picking up a wicket just seven balls later to leave the hosts 1/2. Essex spent most of the morning on day 4 consolidating the early wickets, eventually declaring on 208/7d, with Bess picking up 3/81.Tendo

That left Somerset needing 319 from 50 overs, which at 64/1 after 10.2 overs looked rather doable. However, a flurry of wickets meant that they slipped to 116/5, forcing attention to turn from chasing a win to securing a draw. Gregory batted with superb concentration to help his captain guide his side to safety, finishing 15* from 90 balls.

The only result in Division One came from Scarborough as Yorkshire hosted high-flying Surrey. Yorkshire batted first but lost Alex Lees in just the second over. Adam Lyth followed in the twentieth over but by that point had 42 runs of Yorkshire's 51 to his name. A succession of middle order wickets suggested they might post a score well under-par, but their lower order allowed Yorkshire to reach 342 all out.

Rory Burns continued his outstanding season by making 59 at the top of the order, but bar Ollie Pope – who finished 69* - Surrey’s collapse at the end of the innings meant that they finished 75 runs behind Yorkshire, 267 all out.

Yorkshire would have been hoping to press home their advantage, but once again lost Lees early and Lyth shortly afterwards to leave them 8/1 in under five overs. The collapse didn’t stop there, however, as Surrey raced through the hosts batsmen to leave them reeling on 70/6. Despite the bowlers chipping in with some valuable runs, eventually Yorkshire finished 152 all out, a lead of 227.

Burns was the mainstay of Surrey's second innings but he fell agonisingly close to a third hundred of the season, caught by Lees for 97. However, the platform he laid down proved enough to get Surrey over the line as they finished 229/3 to extend their lead at the top of the table.

The final game in Division One took place at Trent Bridge as Nottinghamshire hosted Worcestershire. Notts surrendered their place at the top of Division One to Surrey a couple of rounds ago and were looking to close the gap, particularly as Surrey have a game in hand.

Worcester elected to field first, a decision they may have been ruing as they were unable to make a breakthrough until the 50th over. At 164/1, Samit Patel strolled out to the middle hoping to kick-start his Championship campaign, which he duly did by making his highest score of the season, making 76 before being bowled. Patel was involved in a partnership worth 146, but his wicket sparked a collapse of 4 wickets for just two runs. Normal order was resumed shortly afterwards though and the home side were afforded the luxury of declaring on 499/9.

With plenty of runs on the board, the Notts bowlers were set loose on a Worcester sided rooted firmly at the bottom of the table. Harry Gurney did the early lifting, removing both openers after a solid start before Luke Fletcher got in on the act, picking up numbers three and four. A further two wickets from Gurney meant he finished with figures of 4/97 to restrict Worcester to just 287 all out, with Fletcher finishing with 2/54.

Notts decided against enforcing the follow-on, hoping to quickly set Worcester a target whilst leaving enough time in the game to force a result. They did the first part of the equation well enough, scoring at 4.5 runs an over to reach 249/4d, with Patel making 71, to set Worcester an improbably 461 runs to win.

Once again, Gurney took the first wicket but unlike in the first innings, the middle order held steadfast to frustrate and deny Notts from breaking through. Gurney finished with figures of 3/91 and Fletcher 3/54 but even 115 overs wasn’t enough to secure victory as Worcester batted out the entirety of day 4 to finish 368/8, earning somewhat of an unlikely draw.


In Division Two, Warwickshire continued their run of form with a convincing win against Durham at Chester-le-Street. Bating first, Jonathan Trott entered the fray with the innings precariously placed at 52/2. Trott looked in supreme control throughout his innings to finish with a superb 170*, his first hundred of the campaign, as his side 

Durham’s reply got off to a good start, with Cameron Steel reaching his second fifty of the year, but two quick wickets for two runs stifled the early good work as the innings repeatedly stopped and started as the hosts struggled their way to 297 all out.finished 424 all out.

Another 53 runs from Trott in the second innings allowed his side to declare on 185/9, setting Durham a target of 313 to win. Steel was unable to re-create his efforts in the first innings, this time falling in the sixth over as Durham stumbled throughout, but despite some fireworks from their bowlers, they were only able to reach 226 all out .


In Cardiff, Ben Duckett’s first hundred of the year saw Northants leapfrog Glamorgan to eighth in the table. Batting first, Northants reached 281 all out thanks to their middle order digging them out of early trouble.

Glamorgan’s first innings saw them reach 254 all out, despite Nathan Buck’s 3/77, but the real turning point in the match was Duckett’s blistering 133 from 154 balls, including 22 boundaries, in Northant’s second innings. His efforts allowed his side to declare on 406/9, setting Glamorgan an unlikely target of 434. Nathan Buck took another two wickets, including the 200th of his career, as Northants ripped through Glamorgan to bowl them out for 200.

Elsewhere, Derbyshire hosted Leicestershire in a mid-table clash with both sides looking to remain within touching distance of the leaders. Having been asked to bat first, Billy Slater (46) and Wayne Madsen (80), who passed 14,000 runs in all forms of cricket along the way, were the star performers as Derby struggled their way to 245 all out.

Despite a fantastic start to their reply, Leicestershire came up against a fired up Duanne Olivier and Hardus Viljoen who restricted the visitors’ from 105/1 to 297 all out. Olivier picked up 2/85 whilst Viljoen took 3/59.

However, the game was lost in the second innings as Derby’s top order were reduced to 47/4 inside twenty overs. Only two batsman passed 13 runs for the home side as they were bowled out for 184. Chasing only 133, Olivier (2/37) and Viljoen (2/48) once again did their best to drag their side into the game, however they received little support as Leicester chased the total down in less than thirty overs.