Surrey continued their unbeaten run at the top of the County Championship after a high-scoring draw at The Oval. Having chosen to field first, Kent must have regretted the decision as the home side piled up a mammoth total of 673 for seven declared – it was two more than they had managed against the same opposition at Beckenham in May. Four batters made centuries: Hashim Amla (124, his first of the summer), Ben Geddes (124, a career-best), Sam Curran (126, his maiden century, after four fifties in his other five innings this summer, in just 62 balls) and Will Jacks (103 not out). The runs came at an Englandesque 5.20 per over. In reply, Kent were bowled out for 331, despite 102 from Daniel Bell-Drummond, with 19-year-old Tom Lawes taking four for 51 on his Championship debut. Kent made a better fist of it in their second innings, finishing on 361 for four, with Bell-Drummond scoring another century (107 not out) to see his side to safety, in a match where 1365 runs were scored at an average of 65.
At Bristol struggling Gloucestershire chose to bat first against Lancashire and were grateful for an innings of 110 from Chris Dent to see them up to 337 all out, while Zafar Gohar made 62, his highest score for the county. The visitors replied with 402, with plenty of useful contributions throughout the order. A weather-interrupted final day ensured the match ended in a draw with the hosts on 176 for three.
There was another draw at Northampton where the home side batted first and Rob Keogh’s 130 was the centrepiece of their hefty total of 451. In reply Warwickshire fell slightly short, making 405, with Dom Sibley scoring his second century of the summer (102) and Nathan McAndrew adding his highest score for the county (59 not out). In the second innings, South African Ryan Rickelton made 103 on his debut in England while Luke Procter made a career-best 144 not out as the pair added 226 for the third wicket. As the game headed for a draw, there was just enough time for Michael Burgess to take his maiden senior wicket (Rob Keogh) after 140 games in all formats.
There was a three-day thriller at Chelmsford, where spin increasingly dominated. Essex chose to bat first and were very grateful to a late flurry from Shane Snater (71) that took them up to 238. Hampshire’s reply was cut short at 163, as Simon Harmer skittled through them, taking eight for 46 in just 14.2 overs. Liam Dawson had his best UK figures, seven for 68 (to give him ten for 139 in the match), to bowl out Essex for 223, including 60 from Adam Rossington (his best score for the county), leaving the visitors to chase 299. At 126 for one, things were looking good for them, but they subsided to 162 for six. The lower order fought back, but Harmer was not to be denied, having bowled throughout the innings, as he took seven for 161 to give him career-best match figures of 15 for 207 (the eighth best figures in Essex’s history, and the best since 1968). Hampshire were all out for 286, beaten by 12 runs.
In the Second Division, Sussex recorded their first win of the season at Hove, beating Derbyshire by five wickets. Few would have thought that a likely outcome as the visitors made 551 for eight declared in their first innings, with Wayne Madsen making 176 and Anuj Dal hitting a career-best 146 not out. Oliver Carter did not concede a bye. At the start of the game, Shan Masood became the first batter to reach 1000 runs this summer. In reply, Mohammad Rizwan hit his maiden century for Sussex (130), but they were bowled out for 337. Billy Godleman decided against enforcing the follow-on, but Derbyshire then struggled up to 127 for seven declared, with Jack Brooks picking up five for 46, to set a target of 342. Ali Orr’s career-best 141 gave them early momentum, and Rizwan saw his side home with an unbeaten 76.
The top two sides met at Trent Bridge, where the home side made the most of the decision to bat first, piling up 551 for eight declared. Haseeb Hameed hit 101 then Lyndon James made a career-best 155. John Simpson did not concede a bye. James Pattinson then led the way with the ball, taking four for 65 as Middlesex replied with 376, and were forced to follow on. A 201 partnership by Mark Stoneman (109 not out) and Sam Robson (108) saw the away side to safety, despite all eleven of the Nottinghamshire side having a bowl. Nottinghamshire ended the game 11 points clear of Middlesex.
At Worcester, Glamorgan chose to field first and dismissed the home side for 271, but it could have been even better had Ed Barnard not made 131. Joe Leach then blew away Glamorgan, taking a career-best six for 44 as the visitors were tumbled out for 139. Michael Neser took four wickets to help bowl out Worcestershire for 199, leaving Glamorgan to chase 332. Colin Ingram hit 102 to set the away side on their way, then Billy Root finished it off with an unbeaten 99 as his side won by three wickets.
uspect the biggest debates will come with the batters. Good luck!