Roundup: Hampshire win leaves Essex hopes in ruins

An outrageous Hampshire run-chase at Chelmsford, steered by James Vince and Liam Dawson, stamped a great boot through Essex’s chances of challenging for the County Championship title.

Defeat, with five balls to spare, leaves Essex 20 points behind Surrey with one game left. Essex had chased quick morning runs – Sir Alastair Cook out for an ungainly 16 – setting Hampshire 267.

This looked unlikely at 32 for four when Dawson and Vince came together, Simon Harmer fizzing in from the River End. But the pair intelligently harvested 184 for the fifth wicket, taking Hampshire close enough for their teammates to do the rest.

Meanwhile, at the Oval, Rory Burns (71) and Dom Sibley (67) pulled out their best tweed jackets and batted out the day, after Surrey followed on for the first time in 2023. When the rain came just after tea, the pavilion stood in happy applause for their openers. Northamptonshire, who fought to the last, will be playing Division Two cricket next year.

The battle for the other relegation place goes into the final round with Kent surviving at Taunton, but not without palpitations. Left just a day to bat in a rain-affected match, after Somerset declared overnight, they were soon 31 for four, taken to respectability only by 73 from Joe Denly and some stoicism from the late middle order. Denly’s exit precipitated three wickets for a song. Eventually bowled out for 235, Tom Abell four for 52, they followed on, but survived.

Middlesex were not so lucky, despite a second century of the year from Sam Robson, a seven-hour sterling effort, and go into the final strait one point behind Kent.

Worcestershire will need a maximum of three points against Yorkshire next week to guarantee promotion, Scott Borthwick’s hundred the highlight of their damp draw with Durham. Their nearest rivals, Leicestershire, were thwarted by Yorkshire and the rain, and seem likely to lose a bonus point for a slow over-rate.

Till Tuesday

They’ve shut up shop at The Oval, quiet now after every run Hampshire scored was roared on from the Surrey dressing-room. With just a round to go, the reigning champions supper happily, 20 points ahead – though they must now face crusher-of-dreams Hampshire.

Essex are heartbroken, though not mathematically out of it; Durham champions; Northants relegated; Worcestershire nearly there and a scrap to end all scraps about to be unleashed between Middlesex and Kent to avoid the final relegation spot. We’ll be back next Tuesday for it all, in the final round of another brilliant campaign. Until then, good evening!

Liam Dawson raises his bat
Crusher of dreams: Liam Dawson Photograph: Steven Paston/PA

Division Two Table

1 Durham 209

2 Worcestershire 162

3 Leicestershire 140

4 Glamorgan 131

5 Sussex 130

6 Derbyshire 104

7 Gloucestershire 95

8 Yorkshire 89

Division One Table

1 Surrey 213

2 Essex 193

3 Hampshire 173

4 Warwickshire 170

5 Lancashire 152

6 Somerset 140

7 Nottinghamshire 129

8 Kent 99

9 Middlesex 98

10 Northamptonshire 74

Warwickshire beat Middlesex by 8 wickets!

With nine balls to spare…

Hampshire beat Essex by 3 wickets with five balls to spare!

Essex go into the last round 20 points behind Surrey.

Two to win from the last over…

Vince is out!

Vince mis-hits, Dan Lawrence is a safe pair of hands. Brilliant innings and a partnership of 184 with Liam Dawson.

54 needed off ten. Rain on the way.

An outrageous six from James Vince leaves Hampshire just 61 to chase.

A drop by Alastair Cook at first slip!!!! Dawson on 50.

Which leaves Dawson and Vince spoiling Essex’s dreams at Chelmsford. Hampshire 149-4, need 118 off 21. Harmer suddenly almost toothless.

I must write up but will be back with updated tables and events from Chelmsford as they happen. Do ruminate BTL.

Middlesex supporters, worry not. The rain at The Oval looks terminal and it’s coming your way…

Somerset draw with Kent

Taunton: Somerset 404-4dec v Kent 235 and 44-2.

Kent live to fight another round.

Derbyshire draw with Sussex

The County Ground: Derbyshire 229-6 DRAW with Sussex 100 and 84-3

A damp game helps Sussex clinch a draw.

Worcestershire draw with Durham

A damp squib of a game but Champions Durham go up, Worcestershire are nearly there….

New Road: Worcestershire 313-9 DRAW WITH Durham 371-4

Desperate mopping up at Grace Road

….because Leicestershire are behind the over-rate so want to get on and bowl four quick overs. Inspection at 4.40.

Warwickshire need 58 to win!

Middlesex 251 all out, Robson carrying his bat for 107. But, but, it is raining…

Surrey draw with Northants who are RELEGATED

The Oval: Surrey 185 and 142-0 following-on DRAW WITH Northamptonshire 357

And that is that.


Bad light and rain stops play at The Oval

Is that it? The pavilion thinks so – a huge round of applause for Burns and Sibley as they make their way up the steps.

Muyeye and Compton: implacable: 30-0.

Middlesex are nine down. Robson, magnificent, watching the carnage, not out 107. The lead 57.

Fifty for James Vince!

A run a ball, easy as you like. Do you remember a similarly important Vince innings against Lancs at Aighburth in 2021? Lancs snuck that game by one wicket .. At Chelmsford, 31 overs left, Hampshire 118 for four, partnership of 86 between Dawson and Vince.

James Vince has moved to 50 in just 45 balls, and Hampshire have a chance of beating Essex here#LVCountyChamp

— LV= Insurance County Championship (@CountyChamp) September 22, 2023


Kent are wicketless following on. Have my doubts it will remain that way, but just a session to survive so surely etc etc.

Middlesex have lost their eighth wicket: Tom Helm for a hard-fought two. 30-ish overs left. Robson still there.

Hampshire are still four down, 164 needed and could yet spoil the last-week fun.

Time for a last walk round the ground before the penultimate last push.

Tea time scores


Chelmsford: Essex 447-9 dec and 153-8 v Hampshire 334 and 89-4 Hants need 178 to win

Old Trafford: Lancashire 272-7 DRAW WITH Nottinghamshire

Lord’s: Middlesex 121 and 241-7 v Warwickshire 315

Taunton: Somerset 404-4dec v Kent 235 Kent trail by 169

The Oval: Surrey 185 and 91-0 following-on v Northamptonshire 357 Surrey trail by 81


The County Ground: Derbyshire 229-6 v Sussex 100 and 81-3 Sussex trail by 48

Grace Road: Leicestershire 233 v Yorkshire 155 and 225-4 rain

New Road: Worcestershire 313-9 v Durham 324-3

James Vince isn’t hanging around.

Fifty for Rory Burns

With an inch through the slips, that’s Burns’ fifty. He briefly lifts his bat in acknowledgment of warm applause, one of his most important innings of the season.

A hundred for Sam Robson!

Keeping his head while all about him etc: a magnificent stoical hundred in Middlesex’s 238-7. Helm, at the other end, a steady 2 off 18 balls.

A smiling Robson in a Middlesex jumper
Fighting the good fight: Sam Robson Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

James Vince is hungry. (Hants 51-4)

Vincey 😤

HAM: 45/4 (12.2)

📺 Live Stream ➡️

— Hampshire Cricket (@hantscricket) September 22, 2023

And I may, possibly, have spoken just a tiny bit too soon about Kent, who have just lost three wickets for 0. Now 200-9, Hogan batting with a runner and three wickets to Tom Abell. Still 203 behind Somerset.

Middlesex slip sadly seven down. Robson still there on 98. Kent stoically still six down – things looking up in the Canterbury direction.

Four down at Chelmsford: if Surrey draw and Essex win, Surrey will take a four-point lead into the final round. Vince still there though. Harmer 3-11.

This is happening, relentlessly, from the River End.

🤞 There's wicket number 2️⃣!

— Essex Cricket (@EssexCricket) September 22, 2023


Oh, Simon Harmer! Two in the over! Middleton and Gubbins. Hants 23-3. His 900th first-class wicket.

Northants persuade the umpires to change the balls, and immediately there is a big lbw appeal against Sibley. Next ball, a second, slightly less vocally. The third passes safely by.

Lancashire draw with Nottinghamshire

Old Trafford: Lancashire 272-7 DRAW with Nottinghamshire

Lancashire six points, Nottinghamshire seven.

A final dousing of rain puts the game out of its misery. Only 84.1 overs bowled in the entire match with the first two days washed out.

Ouff. Middlesex lose a wicket, though not the big one, Simpson caught off Briggs. Enter de Caires. Robson still there on a 232 ball 94. Kent still six down.

Hampshire slowly counting out their pennies: 23-1 and Harmer is on.

Let’s trot round the grounds that aren’t Chelmsford or The Oval

In Division One: it is raining, possibly terminally this time, at Old Trafford, but a debut unbeaten fifty . An excellent effort by Middlesex in their second innings at Lord’s, Robson (93) aided now by Simpson (13) have put on 22; last man Ryan Higgins an 83-ball 57. They’ve crept a lead but lots of stonemwalling to do, even with the light fading by six.

Joe Denly another one holding his side together, 55 not out in Kent’s otherwise dismal 164-6 against Somerset.

Essex start the charge! Albert caught athletically with one diving glove by Rossington for seven off Cook.

😉 S P E C T A C U L A R

🦅 #FlyLikeAnEagle

— Essex Cricket (@EssexCricket) September 22, 2023


An email drifts slowly in, like a browning leaf, from Rob Knap.

“Sat in a café on the edge of Europe, willing the Pears on to get a few more bowling points. Meanwhile tracking Yorkshire’s progress against Leicestershire with hope… The current CC set up might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but as a Worcs look like they might snatch promotion, it’s yet another exciting end to the season!

“And this is after about half the team (on paper the better half) signed up for East Mids rivals this summer. I think this would be the most impressive/improbable of all our promotions. (Typed that, now worried that fate is tempted…)

“Thanks for all your coverage! I always tune in.”

A pleasure! And yes, we tried to the maths earlier and I think that if Leics lose, Worcs go up but otherwise it mathematically goes into the next round. Corrections on an (email) postcard please, if this is wrong…

Hampshire chasing 267 to win

Essex declared on 153-8, Lawrence 53, four wickets each for Abbott and Abbas. Now the fun begins: Porter and Cook, then Harmer-time.

And in the dead game at Old Trafford, where is still raining, Matty Hurst in unbeaten on his debut. And Lancs have signed ex Worcestershire fast bowler Mitchell Stanley on a one-year contract.

Just strolled round The Oval, I think it just might be the best place to watch county cricket. Certainly the best stadium, mightly yet homely. On a late September afternoon, the sun still strong enough to warm up the concrete structure of the stands, a good crowd in, shading their eyes, warming their legs, eating their sandwiches. Some hoardings packed up, others being built for a gin and rum festival. Surrey 22-0 on a somnolent afternoon. Meanwhile in Chelmsford…

Lunchtime scores


Chelmsford: Essex 447-9 dec and 112-3 v Hampshire 334

Old Trafford: Lancashire 272-7 v Nottinghamshire rain stopped play

Lord’s: Middlesex 121 and 181-3 v Warwickshire 315

Taunton: Somerset 404-4dec v Kent 110-5

The Oval: Surrey 185 and 15-0 following-on v Northamptonshire 357


The County Ground: Derbyshire 229-6 v Sussex 100

Grace Road: Leicestershire 233 v Yorkshire 155 and 209-4

New Road: Worcestershire 313-9 v Durham 114-2

Lawrence and Westley have now raced to a partnership of 77 in 11 overs. But Surrey solid as we enter the final over of the day.

What a shot that is from Dan Lawrence!

The @EssexCricket batter whips a Mohammad Abbas delivery away#LVCountyChamp

— LV= Insurance County Championship (@CountyChamp) September 22, 2023

Kent’s doleful side are five down. But Middlesex, who still trail Warwickshire by 28, only three. And here at The Oval, a be dark-glassed Rob Keogh is spinning the ball from the Vauxhall End.

Thanks to BBC radio for the reminder that it was a year ago today that Surrey beat Yorkshire to win the Championship.

And if you want to know what you were all doing a year ago, here are your comments to peruse.

Chelmsford taylor-made for Dan Lawrence in farewell bang-crash mode. Vivid memories of what he did to Lancashire at Blackpool. Essex 77-2, Lawrence a 23-ball 30 and counting.

A head shot of Dan Lawrence
Kitchen sink and kettle too: Dan Lawrence Photograph: Alex Davidson/ECB/Getty Images


I’ve got to be honest, I’m not feeling a Surrey collapse here. Just slow, careful, relentless, accumulation. Surrey 11-0.

Worcestershire, greedy for wickets, have added the prolific Lees to their grab-bag, for yet another half-century. Durham 93-2.

I have days like these:

A wicket for Jaydev. ☝

— Sussex Cricket (@SussexCCC) September 22, 2023

Derbyshire have stepped on the accelerator this morning, 190-4, a lead of 90. They must fancy rolling over Sussex again mid-afternoon. Sean Hunt 3-53.

Sir Alastair is no longer batting. Trying to up the ante at Chelmsford, hooks and edges Abbas to Ben Brown for 16. Essex 41-2, a lead of 154. I reckon 250 would be enough against Hampshire.

An old cricketer leaves the crease. Alastair Cook, caught behind for 16 in potentially his final innings at Chelmsford. This post will look daft when he signs a new deal for 2024… #EssvHam #countycricket

— Andrew Miller (@miller_cricket) September 22, 2023


Lyth and Masood both out at Grace Road, the Yorkshire lead 72, six wickets in hand.

Surrey calmly managing their first follow-on of the year. Burns and Sibley, born for this day.

Essex pondering along at three an over against Abbott and Abbas. Rossington gone for a three-ball duck. They’re keeping a sharp eye on proceedings at The Oval.

They are showing Surrey wickets on the big screen at Essex. Meanwhile Rossington is out to open alongside Cook. It’s ON… #EssvHam

— Andrew Miller (@miller_cricket) September 22, 2023

And with Northants having to win this to avoid relegation, here we go again at The Oval. Taylor at the Vauxhall end, long legs, piston arms. Surrey 0-0.

Surrey follow-on!

Ooooh Betty! On a perfect September day, Surrey miss the safety net and are all out 185. Four for White, two for Procter. Foakes unbeaten on 42. The light roller goes up and down, a man in a jumper brushes the pitch.

I can’t spin all these plates – another wicket at The Oval, I didn’t see it as I was looking up pictures of Alastair Cook, but a friendly replays shows a nibble to first slip. Surrey now 180-9, 177 behind. But Ben Foakes could easily spoil Northants party.

And Kent are four down.

Sir Alastair is batting for, what could be, the last time at Chelmsford.

Cook walks out to bat on a sunny day
Into the distance: Alastair Cook Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

And lo, a second wicket at Taunton, Muyeye joins the pavilion huddle. One for the soon-to-be-gone Jack Brooks. At Grace Road, Yorkshire have lost the nightwatchman, Ben Coad, but things not looking too pretty for Leicestershire: Masood and Lyth are both immovable force and unstoppable object.

While at Chelmsford, Hampshire are all out. A sixth for Simon Harmer, as Prest tries to hit him out of the ground and is stumped. Essex bat again with a lead of 113.

Silence from the crowd as Dan Worrall is caught behind for 0. Surrey 165-8 and still 43 short of the follow-on. Northants all, except bowler and one fielder, resplendent in their read caps, very busy clapping and shouting encouragement.

Also adding spice: Kyle Abbot chops on at Chelmsford, Hampshire nine down. And, Kent, inserted after Somerset declared overnight, have already lost Ben Compton. Surely even Kent can’t be out twice in one day…

And, to keep things spicy, an early wicket at The Oval where Overton is swallowed at second slip off White for 51.

Paul Farbrace reads the riot act

Not too happy after Sussex’s lame 100 all out against Derbyshire:

“Appalling is the simple word really. We batted poorly, lacked fight, desire. It’s not a 100 all out pitch, but there’s only so many things you can keep saying.

“I’m getting fed up with performances like that, it’s not good enough .The top five gave their wickets away, yes it was a good toss to win but we haven’t shown enough fight.

“People have missed out on this selection so it creates an opportunity and no one has taken the opportunity which is incredibly frustrating. You want people to show fight, desire and sell their wicket dearly and we’re just not doing that.

“It’s frustrating, it’s annoying and it’s a very quiet dressing room tonight. We got what we deserved today.”

Bright sunlight at The Oval, short stout shadows. A rush through the gates as people rushed to get their seats for the start of play, on this the last day of the season in south London.

Sue Redfern to make history

Sue Redfern, firm but fair trailblazer, will make history next week when she becomes the first female umpire to stand in a men’s first-class match in England and Wales .

Redfern has been appointed to umpire the Championship match between Glamorgan and Derbyshire at Sophia Gardens, starting next Tuesday.

With 21 England playing caps under her belt, Redfern has smashed through the umpiring glass season. She made history two years ago, also at Cardiff, when she was the fourth official at a home England men’s match –against Sri Lanka, and was the first female umpire to stand in a Blast match earlier this summer.

She has also umpired at the 2022 Commonwealth Games as well as three Women’s T20 World Cups and two Women’s World Cups.

“I have worked hard to earn this opportunity, said Refern, “and I look forward to taking the next step in my career by umpiring a men’s first-class match.

“That has been an ambition of mine for a long time and, while it is a new challenge that will test me, I know that I am ready for it.

“Umpiring has become such a fulfilling part of my life and while my focus is on being the best umpire I can be, I hope my journey can also be an inspiration to others.

“When I started umpiring I had to balance other work commitments with my umpiring, but it is now a career I can solely focus on. I am proud of the steps I have taken and that I am proving that opportunities now exist in umpiring for anyone if they’re willing to work hard and dedicate themselves.”

sue redfern in a hat
History maker: Sue Redfern. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images


Scores on the doors


Chelmsford: Essex 447-9 dec v Hampshire 322-8

Old Trafford: Lancashire 225-6 v Nottinghamshire

Lord’s: Middlesex 121 and 96-1 v Warwickshire 315

Taunton: Somerset 404-4 v Kent

The Oval: Surrey 158-6 v Northamptonshire 357


The County Ground: Derbyshire 79-1 v Sussex 100

Grace Road: Leicestershire 233 v Yorkshire 155 and 113-1

New Road: Worcestershire 313=9 v Durham 10-0


Good morning! The sun is out, the sky is blue, and with just five days to go everything is still up for grabs – except one thing. Durham are Division Two champions!

The moment we we secured the Division 2 title 😃#ForTheNorth

— Durham Cricket (@DurhamCricket) September 21, 2023


Tanya Aldred at the Kia Oval

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