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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Tanya Aldred at Old Trafford

County cricket: Nottinghamshire slow up Kent’s push to escape the drop

James Coles acknowledges the crowd on reaching his half-century for Sussex against Leicestershire.
James Coles acknowledges the crowd on reaching his half-century for Sussex against Leicestershire. Photograph: John Mallett/ProSports/Shutterstock

Tanya's county roundup

Autumn blew across the County Championship, shortening sessions at Old Trafford, wiping out the day at Edgbaston. But at Canterbury, where Kent are chasing crucial survival points and Nottinghamshire risk being drawn into the mix, the game moved on swiftly.

After an early wobble, Nottinghamshire made a good fist of their second innings after being asked to follow on. Reduced to 78 for five by Joey Evison and Michael Hogan, plus a balletic one-handed catch by Zak Crawley, Joe Clarke and Lyndon James then put on an unbeaten 99 to reduce the deficit to just four runs.

It wasn’t good news for fellow members of the relegation pack, Middlesex, thwarted first by the weather and then by Lancashire’s batting at a soggy Old Trafford. The soon-to-retire Dane Vilas hit 124 and Luke Wells a feisty 97 as Middlesex’s spinners were put to the sword. The Lancashire lead was 136 when the rain came.

At Hove, the Division Two promotion hopefuls Leicestershire set off on the unlikely pursuit of 499 after Sussex declared five balls after lunch. The pursuit was made marginally less unlikely by stumps with Colin Ackermann unbeaten on 103, and Leicester needing another 278 for an incredible victory.

The Derbyshire captain, Leus du Plooy, zipped to a fifth century of a super season on a wet day at Bristol; the 22-year-old leg-spinner Ed Middleton picked up his first Championship wicket when Mark Watt charged down the pitch.

At Sophia Gardens, Glamorgan were forced to follow on after Yorkshire’s Matt Revis pocketed a career-best five for 50. Sam Northeast (45) and Eddie Byrom (52) had reduced the deficit to 107 by stumps.

The weather rather sticking its boot into proceedings today, but we go into day four with all six games still in play and precious relegation/promotion points to be collected – Kent chasing a precious win at Canterbury, and Leicestershire an improbable one at Hove. Thanks for hanging around on a soggy afternoon, we’ll be back with thoughts on the “investable pyramid” Colin Ackermann and more tomorrow morning. Till then, good night!

Close of play scores

Canterbury: Kent 446 v Nottinghamshire 265 and 177-5

Old Trafford: Lancashire 330-5 v Middlesex 194

Edgbaston: Warwickshire 142-4 v Northamptonshire 250 no play today


Sophia Gardens: Glamorgan 273 and 120-2 v Yorkshire 500

Bristol: Gloucestershire 377 v Derbyshire 398-9

Hove: Sussex 262 and 344-9dec v Leicestershire 108 and 221-3

Off again at OT, and this time probably terminal.

A hundred for Colin Ackermann and fifty for George Bell!

At Old Trafford, George Bell picks up his third fifty of the season and nearly gets his arm wrenched off in an enthusiastic Vilas congratulation. While at Hove, Ackermann duly collects his century.

And as the light starts to darken again, and I must leave to write up, Dane Vilas is lbw for 124. BTL remains open, as ever.

With thanks to Ken Grime, those Dane hundreds for Lancs in full:

244 Lancashire v Hampshire19-Jun-17

235*Lancashire v Somerset 04-May-18

134 Lancashire v Hampshire25-Jun-18

107*Lancashire v Worcestershire29-Aug-18

132*Lancashire v Sussex13-Jul-19

266 Lancashire v Glamorgan 18-Aug-19

189 Lancashire v Sussex08-Apr-21

124 Lancashire v Kent14-Apr-22

109 Lancashire v Gloucestershire21-Apr-22


121 and counting v Middlesex 12 Sept 23

Some interesting little gems playing out away from OT:Notts have put on 59 for the 6th wicket and are in sight of eating up the deficit at Canterbury – though Kent still clear favourites.

Glamorgan making a decent stab of the follow-on, Byrom and Northeast well set – 94-2 trail Yorks by 133.

Bad light still at Bristol but at Hove, Leicestershire are batting as if they haven’t ruled out chasing 499. Ackermann 98 not out, Amin 39. Leics 193-3 -306 needed.

A hundred for Dane Vilas!

A huge valedictory roar from the Lancashire dressing room, and a big hug from little George Bell. Vilas pulls off his helmet, raises his bat, smiles, and gently kisses the badge before returning to his work. Lancs 293-4.

Dane Vilas nearly gets himself run out on 93 after attempting a crazy single. Turns, slips, then hurls himself back in the crease with the zest of a man without many more innings left.

A washout at Edgbaston

Play called off for the day without a ball bowled, and Division Two beckons for Northants.

A hundred for Leus du Plooy!

I go to make a cup of tea, and it is suddenly much lighter, so we resume. As they do at Bristol on this on-off day, and where Leus du Plooy has made his century.

On and, one over later, off again at OT. The light, to be fair, is filthy. Lancs 248-4.

Rain at The County Ground for the second women’s ODI, John Ashdown holding fort amongst the puddles:

Tea-time-ish scores

Canterbury: Kent 446 v Nottinghamshire 265 and 87-5

Old Trafford: Lancashire 245-4 v Middlesex 194

Edgbaston: Warwickshire 142-4 v Northamptonshire 250 rain - no play yet today


Sophia Gardens: Glamorgan 273 and 35-2 v Yorkshire 500

Bristol: Gloucestershire 377 v Derbyshire 394-8 – bad light stopped play

Hove: Sussex 262 and 344-9dec v Leicestershire 108 and 113-3

And a fourth, nay a fifth, wicket at Canterbury: Notts 84-5 and still 95 behind Kent. Notts flirting- just flirting – with the relegation zone here. And their last game is against Middlesex at Trent Bridge, which could be fruity.

And at the other end of the country, Middlesex’s rivals to miss the drop are thriving: a third wicket at Canterbury – with Notts still 105 behind. Both the men who were set, Mullaney and Slater, gone to Evison – Clarke and Montgomery must rebuild.

Nooooo! Luke Wells goes three short of his century, dancing down the pitch and comprehensively out - both caught and stumped - off Yadav just missing out on what would have been his second century for Lancashire of the year.

While Dane Vilas and Luke Wells tuck into Middlesex, an interesting read on The Cricketer website if you have a login.

The piece suggests that the ECB want to axe the Hundred and plump for an expanded 39-team T-20 to be played alongside The Blast. The teams would be part owned by the ECB and part by private investors and don’t ask me what they would be called or how they will fit it into the schedule.

A tight match at Bristol, but the teams will have to hurry things along to get a result. Leus du Plooy a merry 74 not out in Glos’ 321-7, with four wickets for Zafar Gohar.

Raining still at Edgbaston'; while at Sophia Gardens, Ben Coad is running through the Glamorgan tail – 265-9.

A headshot of Ben Coad
Three for 17: Ben Coad. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Notts are still one-down following-on at Canterbury, Slater 37 not out, though they’re currently off for rain. No such luck for Leicestershire, with Lewis Hill following Sol Budinger back to the pavilion: 25-2.

With the low-fi haze of the floodlights visible from the Quadrant roundabout, my hopes were not high. But there is play at OT and around the ground a scattering of people have taken their seats. Lancs 140-3.

Oh Leicestershire, not like this. Mission 499 already in trouble: 15-1, Undakat the wicket-taker.

Right, I’m jumping on my bike, hope to be at OT before the light meters come out…

Leicestershire need 499 to win

After a rather bizarre Sussex post-lunch declaration, just five post-prandial balls, time for Leicestershire to bat themselves back into promotion contention…

Rain check

If there is no more rain at OT, play will resume at 2pm

Lunchtime-ish scores

Canterbury: Kent 446 v Nottinghamshire 265 and 20-1

Old Trafford: Lancashire 132-3 v Middlesex 194 rain- no play yet today

Edgbaston: Warwickshire 142-4 v Northamptonshire 250 rain - no play yet today


Sophia Gardens: Glamorgan 198-7 v Yorkshire 500

Bristol: Gloucestershire 377 v Derbyshire 261-6 rain – no play yet today

Hove: Sussex 262 and 336-8 v Leicestershire 108

A breakthrough at Canterbury! HH must trudge back, bowled Michael Hogan for 7, two stumps flat on the turf. Notts 19-1.


An early lunch being taken at Old Trafford with an inspection at 1.15pm

Notts all out 265 and must follow on

Gilchrist grabs the final wicket, five catches for Leaning, four wickets for Nijjar, three for Chahal. Kent on the charge!

Prospects of play still looking grim at Edgbaston, but some news that I missed yesterday – many congratulations to OHD – that’s some total.

No century for Coles at Hove, a third wicket for Scriven. The Sussex lead over Leicestershire now 433 – and yet they press on. At Canterbury, Notts are 37 runs from hitting the follow-on target, Fernando and Hutton enjoying a good heave-ho at the spinners.


A fourth wicket for Nijjar! Notts 229-8 – the Kent lead 217.

Not a single wicket to fall yet in the three games up and running: at Hove, Canterbury and Sophia Gardens. But young James Coles has picked up another half century (Sussex 252-5, a lead of 406 and a declaration imminent-ish looking at the forecast?). A half century too for Kiran Carlson in what has been a superb season (Glam 155-6) and Notts crawling along at 226-8.

As play starts at Canterbury and Hove, a small apology, this is going to be a light-touch blog for the first hour. Please feel free to fill in the gaps BTL.

Or maybe Mike Brearley with a side dish of Paul Allott:

If you’re waiting for the weather to relent, a fascinating read on cricket bats:

And confirmation of the rain’s spoilsport antics: a delayed start with no end in sight at OT and Edgbaston, play will start at 1045 at Bristol and 11am at Cardiff. Excellent news all round then for Kent – who can keep the pressure on Middlesex at Canterbury; and Sussex, in with an outside chance of promotion.

The Met Office suggests that what starts in Manchester, is heading your way:

“Rain and showers moving southeast. Feeling fresher from the northwest (can confirm this): Outbreaks of rain, which will be heavy at times, will continue to push southeast across England. Elsewhere mostly dry with sunny spells. Feeling cooler, away from the very far southeast, where still warm and humid with thunderstorms possible.”

It’s wet at Old Trafford.
It’s wet at Old Trafford. Photograph: Barry Mitchell/Shutterstock


Monday's report

In a manner most ill-suited to the fearless way in which they have played their cricket throughout 2023, Durham were promoted to Division One with a whimper – and without even picking up a bat. The moment came just before lunch at Hove, as Leicestershire were dismissed for 108 by Sussex, collecting not a single batting point in the process, which left them unable to catch Durham – who now need just five points from their last two games to go up as champions.

Durham strode into the season determined to play attacking cricket, and stuck to their word: winning six games and gathering maximum batting points seven times. “We’re not going to Division One just to survive,” said head coach Ryan Campbell. “We’re going to try to win the thing [title].”

It was apt that on the day of Durham’s promotion for the first time since 2016, the ECB handed out sanctions to Middlesex for financial mismanagement.

By ECB decree, Durham were relegated to Division Two in 2016 because of financial irregularities, despite finishing fourth, and were docked a further 48 points the following year.

This time, the errant club is Middlesex, reprimanded for poor governance and financial mismanagement. The club has agreed to a financial plan, to be overseen quarterly by the ECB, which requires them to bring in a year-on year-profit and limits spending. The ECB will also reduce payments to the club by £150,000 – £100,000 suspended until October 2025 – and impose points penalties equivalent to maximum points for one win in each competition, also suspended till October 2025.

On the pitch, Middlesex had a slightly brighter day, after Sam Robson’s 86 inched them to a first innings 194 at Old Trafford. Lancashire started their innings brightly until Josh De Caires took the ball. At his first Championship outing at his dad’s home ground, he duped Keaton Jennings lbw first ball, before bowling Phil Salt in his next over. When Jayant Yadav bowled Josh Bohannon with a ripper, Lancashire had lost three for 16 before the light closed in.

Scores on the doors


Canterbury: Kent 446 v Nottinghamshire 219-8

Old Trafford: Lancashire 132-3 v Middlesex 194

Edgbaston: Warwickshire 142-4 v Northamptonshire 250


Sophia Gardens: Glamorgan 150-6 v Yorkshire 500

Bristol: Gloucestershire 377 v Derbyshire 261-6

Hove: Sussex 262 and 234-5 v Leicestershire 108


Good morning from a soggy, soggy, soggy Manchester. The heavens opened last night and the rain continued into this morning. Unless they can work magic at OT, Josh De Caires will have to wait a while to pick up a third wicket, as autumn spreads her clothes – at least in the north.


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