LVCC REVIEW: Middlesex on top as rain brings eight draws

A rain-soaked eighth round of matches in the LV= County Championship predictably saw all eight games end in draws. Middlesex therefore continue to lead the way in Division One despite not bowling a ball during their match against Sussex. Somerset and Yorkshire remain tied on points with 80 apiece.

Warwickshire v Somerset - LV County Championship

Will Porterfield

Somerset took nine points from their game against Warwickshire at Edgbaston. The match was notable for William Porterfield finally registering his maiden Bears Championship century at the 69th attempt. It had been one of county cricket’s more curious statistics that the left-hander, whilst in good form for his country Ireland, had struggled at the top of the order for Warwickshire. He will hope that the first will open the floodgates for many more to come.

“It is nice to get off in the mark in the championship,” Porterfield said. “It is good to get one under my belt for the Bears because it has been a while. It was a frustrating year last year but this season I am seeing it pretty well and got a few runs in the game at Lancashire and Nottinghamshire. I was disappointed not to kick on in the game at Lancashire. It was trickier at Notts but at Old Trafford that’s when I should have got on and got 100 but it was a bit of a soft dismissal.

“It was nice to see it through and get the century. I am not sure if much has been said about it [the long wait for a championship century for the Bears] in the press but within the changing-rooms not much has been said, to be fair. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about it at all. Now I have got that one out of the way and hopefully there is more to come in pretty quick succession.”

That Porterfield reached three figures was all the more remarkable given that three men had already fallen in the nineties during the contest. Ian Westwood was cruelly deprived of a century by Johann Myburgh when he was just one run short of the landmark. His dismissal ended a second-wicket stand of 163 with Porterfield as Warwickshire finished on 294 for five after a day four washout.

Somerset had earlier had two near-centurions as they racked up 411. Nick Compton made a typically dogged 92 and shared 163 with James Hildreth, who was caught by substitute wicket-keeper Pete McKay for a more aggressive 98, for the fourth-wicket. Jamie Overton then hit a carefree maiden half-century from number 11 and added 69 with his twin Craig (15 not out) for the tenth-wicket.

Andrew Gale

Andrew Gale

There was a moment of controversy on the third day of the Roses match at Headingley. Responding to Lancashire’s impressive 325, Yorkshire were finding the going tough at 132 for three when their captain Andrew Gale was given out caught down the leg-side by umpire Peter Willey. Gale remonstrated with Willey - later admitting to ESPNcricinfo that he should have just walked off - and astonishingly the decision was overturned. Besides Gale, who was left stranded on 95, there was little of note for the Yorkshire batsmen, wiht Kane Williamson - playing in his last Championship match for the county before joining up with New Zealand - one of five wickets for bustling seamer Tom Smith.

Lancashire ended their second innings on 48 for three after gaining an 82-run first innings advantage thanks to half-centuries from Paul Horton and Smith, and a useful seventh-wicket stand of 68 between Glen Chapple (33) and Kyle Hogg (47 not out). Jack Brooks was the pick of the visitors’ bowlers with five for 90, while Liam Plunkett continues to impress and picked up four for 74.

Samit Patel and James Taylor kept their names in the reckoning for an England middle-order spot with impressive contributions for Nottinghamshire as they drew with Durham at Trent Bridge. The pair helped their side recover from 29 for three with a fourth-wicket partnership worth 192. Patel was the first of three wickets for the returning Ben Stokes when on 99, while Taylor fell for 88. An unbeaten 59 from skipper Chris Read took Notts up to 377.

Any hopes of forcing a win were then scotched by a brilliant innings from Gordon Muchall. Benefiting from overseas player Kumar Sangakkara’s departure to join up with the touring Sri Lankans, the 31 year-old hit 158 not out off just 189 balls as Durham ended on 335 for four in reply. Stokes made it a good return from his wrist injury by hitting 61 from number five.

DIVISION ONE LATEST STANDINGS

Teams Mat Won Lost Tied Draw Aban Pts
Middlesex 7 4 2 0 0 1 95
Somerset 6 2 0 0 4 0 80
Yorkshire 6 2 1 0 3 0 80
Notts 6 2 2 0 2 0 74
Sussex 6 2 1 0 2 1 73
Warwickshire 6 2 2 0 2 0 69
Durham 6 0 1 0 5 0 56
Lancashire 6 1 2 0 3 0 54
Northants 5 0 4 0 1 0 22

DIVISION TWO

Daryl Mitchell took his season's tally to 700 runs

Daryl Mitchell took his season’s tally to 700 runs

Hampshire continue to lead the way in Division Two after closest rivals Worcestershire could manage less than 114 overs against Kent. Skipper Daryl Mitchell took his run tally in the Championship to exactly 700 as he finished on 33 in the Pears’ aborted first innings of 67 for none. Kent had earlier been bowled out for 258 as medium-pacer Joe Leach returned career-best figures of five for 36 and Sam Northeast top-scored with 53 for the hosts.

Derbyshire remain rooted to the foot of the table despite an improved batting performance against Gloucestershire. Scott Elstone celebrated his recent contract extension with a battling 63 - his maiden half-century - while David Wainwright hit an unbeaten 54 from number eight as Derbyshire posted 278. Will Gidman was a familiar pick of the visitors’ attack with four for 50 - he has now taken 25 Championship wickets at an average of 13.68 this season - while Benny Howell picked up four for 60. Gloucestershire faced less than 26 overs in their first innings and closed on 66 for four.

Leicestershire escaped with a draw against Glamorgan despite scoring fewer runs in almost two completed innings than the hosts managed in one. A dismal batting display - following on from a skittling for 96 last time out by Hampshire - saw them slip to 34 for five after being asked to bat before rallying only sufficiently to make 109. The Glamorgan seamers all chipped in, with Will Owen and Jim Allenby taking three wickets apiece and new Dad Michael Hogan and loan-signing Tom Helm two each.

Jacques Rudolph then registered his highest score of the season before being caught off Charlie Shreck (3-64) for 88 as Glamorgan responded with 350 for eight declared. The hosts clearly benefited from a re-jigged batting line-up as Chris Cooke hit 58 and Ben Wright 36.

Leicestershire then made a promising start to their second innings as Angus Robson (81) and Ned Eckersley (68) added 129 for the third-wicket. However, Hogan struck three times in quick succession as they slipped to 182 for eight. It was left to Niall O’Brien and Nathan Buck to bat out 21.3 overs which, along with appreciable help from the Wales weather, was enough to secure the five valuable extra points for the draw.

A remarkable opening day at Chelmsford saw Gareth Batty take eight for 68 in his first game back from injury and declare himself more than available to fill England’s vacant spin spot. Following an opening stand of 71 between Tom Westley and Jaik Mickleburgh, Essex subsided to 228 as Batty took eight wickets in a row - including Westley for an excellent 95 - before Zafar Ansari mopped up the innings.

The remainder of the contest was something of a damp squib as only 86 overs were possible on the final three days, leaving Surrey to end on 261 for seven. Arun Harinath made a determined 63 off 231 balls, while Steven Davies, again having handed the gloves to stand-in skipper Gary Wilson, reined in his natural attacking instincts to score 54 off 138 as the scoring was made far from easy by the inexperienced Essex attack.

Debutant Tom Moore took two for 64 after being plucked from the second XI to open the bowling, while Monty Panesar (2-54), Tanveer Sikandar (1-27), Greg Smith (1-45) and Westley (1-16) were the other wicket-takers.

DIVISION TWO LATEST STANDINGS

Teams Mat Won Lost Tied Draw Aban Pts
Hampshire 6 3 0 0 3 0 98
Worcs 6 3 0 0 3 0 94
Glamorgan 6 1 1 0 4 0 63
Essex 6 1 1 0 4 0 61
Kent 6 1 2 0 3 0 57
Surrey 6 1 2 0 3 0 55
Gloucs 6 1 2 0 3 0 54
Leics 5 0 1 0 4 0 46
Derbyshire 5 0 2 0 3 0 33

Daniel Grummitt

Cricket Writer at World Cricket Badger
Daniel first began writing about cricket in 2011, having been a fan of the game ever since his Grandad introduced him to it at the age of 10.

He worked for CricketWorld.com for almost three years, leading their county and domestic cricket coverage and contributing to a book about the 2012 ICC World Twenty20, before joining the hugely ambitious World Cricket Badger early in 2014.

The first Test that he remembers watching was on Channel 4 - back before the ECB marginalised potential future fans by selling the TV rights to Sky Sports - when England beat Pakistan by an innings and nine runs at Lord’s.

Besides a passion for domestic cricket, he also has an unexplainable interest in all things Zimbabwe cricket!

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