COUNTY ROUND-UP: Wins for Middlesex, Leics, Gloucs and Durham

There were wins for Leicestershire, Gloucestershire, Middlesex and Durham ahead of the opening round of LV= County Championship matches on Sunday.

Leicestershire declared on their overnight 339 for four at Fenner’s to set Cambridge MCCU an impossible 503 to win. They were all out for just 158 as Atif Sheikh took three for 42, Ollie Freckingham followed up his first innings five-fer with two for 23 and Jigar Naik chipped in with two for 29. Alex Blofield top-scored for the students from number seven with an unbeaten 30.

Durham moved onto 260 for seven in their second innings before declaring to leave Durham MCCU 550 for victory at Chester-le-Street. An opening stand of 62 between Charlie MacDonell and Robert Gibson gave brief hope of survival but Chris Rushworth and Scott Borthwick shared seven wickets and they were bowled out for 170. Borthwick ended with four for 61 to cap a match that began with him hitting a century on day one, while Rushworth finished with match figures of five for 57.

Cardiff MCCU managed considerably better in their second innings than they did in their first against Gloucestershire but still slumped to a heavy defeat. Most of their batsmen got starts with eight reaching double figures but none passing Sean Griffiths’ 34 as they were all out for 245. The regular wickets were down to a combination of the home side’s seam attack. Liam Norwell and Craig Miles took three wickets apiece, while Benny Howell and David Payne each contributed a brace.

Middlesex escaped with a seven-wicket win against Oxford MCCU in a match that was closer than the final margin suggests. Oxford’s last-wicket pair of Jack McIver (41) and Jack Grundy (21) lifted their second innings total to 218 in the morning session to leave Middlesex – who had made just 193 in their first innings – needing 150 to win. They lost both openers relatively early, but Dawid Malan anchored the innings and ended on 60. He put on 63 with skipper Nick Compton (39) for the third-wicket and an unbroken 56 with Paul Stirling (19 not out) for the fourth.

Brendan Taylor marked his Nottinghamshire debut with a century as their match against a spirited Loughborough MCCU ended in a draw at Trent Bridge. The two sides had both made 308 in their first innings, but Notts hit back in their second and raced to 361 for three before declaring. Taylor and Riki Wessels took their opening partnership to 115 before Alex Hales (83) and James Taylor (62) hit aggressive half-centuries. Chris Read chipped in with an undefeated 41-ball 46. Loughborough were set a hypothetical 362 for victory and finished on 86 for two in the 25th over. Opener Mark Best made 42, while Harry Gurney and Steven Mullaney were the hosts’ wicket-takers.

Yorkshire enjoyed a better final day against Leeds/Bradford MCCU. Resuming on 126 for six in their second innings, a series of contributions lifted them to 293. Richard Pyrah (40) and Tim Bresnan (38) advanced their seventh-wicket partnership to 77, with Steven Patterson (30), Karl Carver (16) and Jack Brooks (38) then further demoralising the visitors. Leeds/Bradford MCCU’s eventual target of 421 was never going to be challenged and they limped to 48 for four after 33 overs before stumps. Carver ended with figures of 10-8-6-2, with Brooks and Bresnan each chipping in with a wicket.

News In Brief:
Glamorgan have made their expected move into the loan market to cover for the injured Michael Hogan, who will be out until at least the start of May with a hamstring injury. They have signed Nottinghamshire seam bowler Andy Carter on a month-long deal to cover the LV= County Championship fixtures against Leicestershire, Surrey and Derbyshire.

Derbyshire have appointed Wes Durston as their captain for this season’s NatWest T20 Blast. Durston has also signed a contract extension until the end of the 2016 season.

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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