Essex retain top spot in Division One with stunning win against Kent
Wickets clatter at Canterbury as championship leaders take the spoils.
Essex retained their place as leaders of Specsavers County Championship Division One following a remarkable three-wicket win against Kent at Canterbury.
Sam Cook returned a career-best seven for 23 as Kent were shot out for just 40 – their lowest-ever total against Essex – before Essex edged home.
At the start of a a day in which 26 wickets fell, Essex lost nine wickets in the morning session for 82 runs to put Kent into what appeared to be a strong position, but they were then bowled out inside 19 overs.
When Kent took the field hoping to defend a target of 153, they lost wickets at regular intervals before experienced seventh-wicket partners Adam Wheater and Simon Harmer steadied the Essex ship with a crucial stand worth 57.
Somerset closed day three on eight without loss against Warwickshire after bad light stopped play, needing a further 250 runs to secure what might have looked an unlikely victory earlier in the day.
Resuming on 167 for five in reply to the Bears’ 419, the visitors reached 303, which included Steve Davies’ maiden first-class century, before showing their Championship-winning credentials as Tom Abell finished with career-best figures of four for 39 to help bowl out the hosts for just 146 in 50.4 overs.
Yorkshire took control against relegation-threatened Nottinghamshire at Scarborough, and they should secure a fifth win in 11 matches on Wednesday after restricting their opponents to 135 for four in pursuit of 387.
A nudge to the England selectors from Ollie Pope, who made a high-class 176 not out, a Scott Borthwick hundred and 90 from Aaron Finch put Surrey in the ascendancy on day three against Hampshire at the Kia Oval.
The day ended with the hosts leading by 123 runs with five first-innings wickets still in hand on 490 for five, with Pope, in his first championship appearance following shoulder surgery earlier in the year, batting for 350 minutes and facing 292 balls.
Lancashire extended their lead at the top of Division Two after crushing Glamorgan by an innings and 150 runs with a day to spare at Colwyn Bay.
After Lancashire’s first innings ended on 545, Glamorgan saw Nick Selman eventually fall for 18 and Charlie Hemphrey (14), David Lloyd (5) and Billy Root (0) all depart in quick succession.
Despite Chris Cooke’s 41, Glamorgan could not recover and were dismissed for 138, with Tom Bailey and Saqib Mahmood each taking three wickets.
Sussex, meanwhile, overcame a determined recovery by Middlesex to beat them by seven wickets at Hove.
Middlesex had conceded a first-innings advantage of 234, but some rearguard batting in their second innings saw them reach a total of 378, setting a brittle Sussex batting line-up 145 to win.
Sussex slipped to 44 for three, but an unbroken century partnership between Alex Carey (69) and Luke Wells (48) proved decisive.
Northamptonshire pushed themselves into the promotion places after crushing Worcestershire by 10 wickets at Wantage Road.
Needing to take another six wickets in Worcestershire’s second innings on day three, Northants bowled them out for 223 just after lunch, and it left only 34 for victory.
Derbyshire’s batsmen fought back strongly to frustrate promotion-chasing Gloucestershire at Derby, with the home team closing on 305 for three, to lead by 86.
Billy Godleman top-scored with 86, Wayne Madsen made 69 and Tom Lace an unbeaten 69 to raise the home side’s hopes of pulling off an unlikely victory on the final day.
Brydon Carse produced career-best figures to put Durham in control of their clash against Leicestershire, although the visitors mustered a resilient response after being forced to follow-on at Emirates Riverside.
Carse ended with six for 63 as Leicestershire were all out for 236, and after following on 308 runs behind, they ended day three on 153 for three.