Yorkshire Edge it in Headingley Thriller
You had to go back to June 2018 for Nottinghamshire’s last County Championship win, but in Group 1 they defeated local rivals Derbyshire by a massive 310 runs at the Incora County Ground. Derbyshire chose to field first, a brave decision against Ben Slater and Haseeb Hameed, who had put on two century opening partnerships in the previous game. But there was no repeat as Hameed was out for a duck, though Slater made his second successive century (107). Fynn Hudson-Prentice finished with career-best figures of four for 36 as the visitors scored 256.
Luke Fletcher took five for 28 as Derbyshire fell away to 105 all out in reply. Hameed fell six short of another century after Steven Mullaney decided against enforcing the follow-on, and he was the top scorer in Nottinghamshire’s 318. Hudson-Prentice’s fine match with the ball continued, as he took four for 40. Derbyshire’s target of 470 always looked unlikely, and two early wickets for Stuart Broad on the way to figures of four for 37 made it almost impossible. Ben Aitchison hit 50, his highest score, off just 49 balls, but his side were all out for 159.
Essex batted first at New Road and took full advantage. Alastair Cook (115) and skipper Tom Westley (113) led the way, but there were plenty of useful contributions elsewhere as they piled up a hefty first-innings total of 561 for eight declared. Sam Cook and Simon Harmer each took four wickets to bowl out Worcestershire for 364, and the home side had to follow on. They had reached 129 for two when the match ended in a tame draw.
Durham chose to field first at the Riverside and their bowlers tore through Warwickshire’s line-up, bowling them out for just 87, but even that was something of a recovery as the visitors had been 30 for eight at one point. Ben Raine finished with remarkable figures of 13-8-9-5. After a very moderate start to his Durham career, Will Young hit 124 as he put on 208 for the first wicket with Alex Lees, who went on to make 129 in a 498-minute vigil. Daniel Bedingham for once fell cheaply, for 2, but he is still the summer’s leading run scorer, with 567. The home side ended up declaring on 391 for nine. In their second innings, Warwickshire’s batsmen again struggled, with paceman Brydon Carse taking five for 49 to dismiss them for 177, as Durham secured a comprehensive victory by an innings and 127 runs. Warwickshire (54 points) still top the Group 1 table, just a point ahead of Durham, but just five points separate them from Essex in fifth.
Given their start to the season, there was a shock at The Oval when Hampshire were annihilated. Put in to bat, Hampshire crumbled to 92 all out, with Jordan Clark taking a career-best six for 21. Hashim Amla showed his enduring class in the reply, making 215 before he had to retire hurt; it was his highest score in the Championship. With Ollie Pope (131), who continued his excellent start to the season, he added 257 for the third wicket. Rory Burns was able to declare on 560 for seven, with Scott Currie (in his second game) picking up four for 109. Then it was the turn of Kemar Roach to shine, the West Indies paceman taking eight for 40, the best figures of his long career, as Hampshire were dismissed for 179. Rikki Clarke ended the match with six catches in all. Surrey’s win by an innings and 289 runs was their 14th biggest innings victory, bettered only once since the second world war.
Things were much closer at Taunton, where Middlesex were the visitors and they were put in to bat. Robbie White top-scored with 92 as the away side made 357. Steven Finn took five for 77 to help bowl out Somerset for 268, with Lewis Goldsworthy scoring 39 on his first-class debut. During the innings Jack Brooks became the first Covid-19 substitute when he replaced Lewis Gregory. Craig Overton nipped in with five for 34 and he is now the leading wicket-taker this summer, with 25. His efforts ensured Middlesex made just 117 in their second innings, leaving the home side to chase 207, but when they lost both openers inside the first five overs it was game on. It was still in the balance at the start of the final day, when Somerset resumed on 104 for four, but two quick wickets saw them struggling at 123 for six. Debutant Goldsworthy (41 not out) and Steven Davies then saw them home as they took 25 overs to knock off the runs required.
At the County Ground, Leicestershire were put in to bat and Sam Evans made his second century of the summer (102) before Lewis Hill hit 121 as the visitors reached 421. Daniel Worrall took five for 79, his best figures for Gloucestershire. The hosts replied with 275, despite a county highest score of 41 not out from Josh Shaw. Chris Wright took a career-best seven for 53, with six of his victims trapped in front. Ryan Higgins took five for 62 as Leicestershire made 201 for nine declared in their second innings to set a target of 348 in 82 overs; Higgins now has 24 wickets this season. A fourth-wicket partnership of 224 between Tom Lace (97) and Ian Cockbain (117) turned the tide in favour of the home side, and a breezy 25-ball 33 from Ryan Higgins ensured they got home with four wickets and 22 balls remaining to complete their fourth highest successful Championship run chase. It took Gloucestershire 14 points clear at the top of the table, with Somerset their nearest challengers.
In Group 3, the match at Cardiff was all over inside two days as Glamorgan beat Kent by ten wickets. The visitors were put in to bat, and at 88 for one must have been feeling happy with that, but the last nine wickets tumbled for a further 50 runs as Timm van der Gugten (four for 41) and David Lloyd (a career-best four for 11) struck. Lloyd followed it up with an innings of 62, the highest of the match, as the hosts replied with 197, a lead of 59. Darren Stevens took five for 53 on his 45th birthday. Anything Stevens could do, 39-year-old Michael Hogan could match, and he took five for 28 as Kent collapsed to 74 all out. Lloyd then scored the 19 runs required off eight balls faced.
At Hove, Sussex chose to bat first against Lancashire and made 328. The visitors made just 230 in reply, with debutant Jamie Atkins taking an impressive maiden scalp of Dane Vilas for a duck. Jack Carson picked up four for 51. The wickets were shared all round by Lancashire, as Sussex’s second innings fell away to 154 all out, leaving the away side to chase 253. An opening partnership of 102 by Alex Davies (73) and Keaton Jennings, who went on to see his side home with an unbeaten 91, set Lancashire on their way to a five-wicket win, which kept them top of the table.
After each of the first three innings were completed with the sides making between 200 and 250, it was clearly going to be a tense finish at Headingley – and so it proved. In-form Adam Lyth was out first ball of the match (though he remains Bedingham’s nearest challenger, with 515 runs), before Dom Bess hit 56 to help Yorkshire up to 206, with Wayne Parnell taking five for 64. Northamptonshire hit back with 234. Yorkshire were then struggling at 86 for six, but some lower-order runs took them to 247, with Parnell taking five for 79 to complete match figures of ten for 143.
Chasing 220 for victory, day three ended with the visitors on 94 for four. Wickets fell regularly on the final day, until Ben Sanderson came out to join Parnell, with the final pair needing 14 for victory. Twenty minutes of mounting tension saw Duanne Olivier and skipper Steven Patterson pile the pressure on, as Northamptonshire edged closer. Then Patterson induced the edge from Parnell, and it carried through to keeper Jonathan Tattersall to give Yorkshire the win by 1 run. It was only the third such victory in Yorkshire’s history in 1537 wins, and it was Northamptonshire’s narrowest defeat of the 822 in their history. It was the narrowest County Championship win since Middlesex beat Leicestershire at Uxbridge in September 1995.