Division Two Promotion Race Wide Open After Surrey Lose To Kent

A round-up of all the latest from the LV= County Championship, including wins for Kent and Worcestershire in Division Two.

Kent Surprise Surrey On Final Day At Guildford
The 23rd July may yet go down as a crucial one in the race for promotion from Division Two of the LV= County Championship. Surrey came up short of their target of 303 on the final day at Guildford to the surprise of many, not least the Kent CCC website which wrote of the match being in Surrey’s favour at the close of day three.

It had chosen to focus on the visitors twice letting their more-fancied opponents off the hook on the third day - once with a last-wicket stand of 82 in the Surrey first innings and then with a second innings batting collapse. However, neither of those errors would come back to haunt Kent as Sam Billings and Calum Haggett first took their apparently pivotal overnight seventh-wicket stand to 85 before Stuart Meaker mopped up the tail to finish with seven for 90.

That left Surrey needing 303 in a race against the clock, or at the very least batting out the remainder of the day to secure the draw. As it was, Darren Stevens - that most unlikely and seemingly unthreatening of new-ball bowlers - took five for 68 as they were bowled out for 213. In truth, Stevens’ wickets came exclusively with the older ball in latter spells as he built on impressive bursts from Mitchell Claydon (3-62) and Haggett (2-48). His dismissal of Tillakaratne Dilshan for an aggressive 64-ball 68 turned the match irretrievably in Kent’s favour.

The Division Two promotion race now stands wide open; something that looked unlikely when Worcestershire and Hampshire were romping away at the top earlier in the season. Hampshire have faltered of late, while Surrey’s charge has now been halted and they are just two points ahead of Hampshire in second place. Essex, a further 18 points behind, and even Kent, three further adrift with a game in hand, cannot be discounted if they find late form.

For all that, Worcestershire now seem almost certain to win Division Two after completing a hammering over Gloucestershire at Cheltenham. They now have a 43-point cushion over the dogfight for second place following their eight-wicket win.

It wasn’t completely straightforward thanks to a remarkable last-wicket stand from Gloucestershire’s numbers 10 and 11 Craig Miles and Liam Norwell. Records tumbled as the pair added a club-record 137, both notching career-best scores in the process. Norwell’s 78 was the highest score by a Gloucestershire number 11 in all first-class cricket.

Despite all that, Worcestershire were still left needing only 51 to win in the fourth innings and they soon knocked off the runs.

Steve Magoffin bowls

Steve Magoffin ended with four wickets for Sussex.
Credit: Sussex CCC

Sussex have the upper hand over Warwickshire after three days of their Division One clash at Horsham. They closed 284 runs head of Warwickshire on 204 for four in their second innings.

Ed Joyce and Luke Wells helped the hosts overcome the early loss of Chris Nash to Chris Woakes by adding 58, with Craig Cachopa then hitting his second half-century of his Sussex Championship debut during a third-wicket stand of 109 with his captain. Both men fell to Boyd Rankin before stumps, but Sussex will be eyeing a first-session declaration tomorrow and then victory.

It was Jonathan Trott who stole the headlines in the first part of the day as he moved on from his overnight 62 to register a battling the century. It is his first in first-class cricket since his well-publicised troubles that forced him to return home from Australia last year and must have bought a tear to the eye of any watching friends or England fans who will still hope for an international comeback.

He was finally dismissed for 106 as one of four wickets for Steve Magoffin as Warwickshire were all out for 333 to concede a lead of 80 to Sussex.

Williamson Bowling Suspension Could Hit Yorkshire One-Day Hopes
Yorkshire overseas player Kane Williamson has been suspended from bowling in all first-team cricket after being found to have an illegal bowling action. Williamson was reported for a suspect action whilst playing for New Zealand against the West Indies last month and was sent for biomechanical testing at Cardiff Metropolitan University. That found his off-break delivery to exceed the permitted elbow extension of 15 degrees and he must now undergo remedial work on his action before being retested.

“I note the findings of Dr Craig Ranson and his team at Cardiff Met and will concentrate on changing whatever’s necessary to return to the bowling crease,” Williamson said. “Clearly, the onus is on me to satisfy assessors as to the legality of my action, and I’m aware I have some hard work in front of me to achieve that goal. It’s never nice, going through this sort of process but it will be worth it if I can manage to bowl again at international level.”

Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie said that the club will support Williamson in his efforts to resume bowling. He also assessed the impact that Williamson’s bowling suspension would have on the club’s limited-overs campaigns in an interview with the Yorkshire CCC Audioboo channel.



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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