County cricket finale: Warwicks, Hants and Lancs stay in title hunt – as it happened

Last modified: 04: 01 PM GMT+0

There’s still all to play for with two days remaining in the final round of County Championship Division One games

Belatedly, goodnight!

And with James Vince jut short of his fifty, and Liam Dawson driving Luke Wood through the covers for four, I’m going to have to write up. Hampshire 121-5. Over the other side of the Championship race, Somerset have lost Goldsworthy, 187-5. Keep an eye on things, won’t you?

Updated

“Hello Tanya.” Hello Simon Benton!

“Although division 2 and 3 teams don’t compete for any real glory, will their finishing position affect which division they’ll be in next season? Top three of div 2 in next years div 1, or similar such arrangement?”

The answer is, we don’t know! Meetings and decisions to be held later this month to vote on the 2022 season and then from 2023 onwards.

Somerset are buckling down, 187-4. Well, glory be.

And another! From Simon Cherry “Do you think there is any chance that Lancs win this, Warwicks draw, but then Lancs get points deducted for the state of the wicket and lose the title? 25 down and counting in 2 days…..”

No. (sorry!)

Apologies, I have been distracted by watching James Vince.

A (“slightly tongue in cheek”) note from James Soper.

“I was wondering if you and the other Guardian sports commentators have issues writing Nottinghamshire? I have to admit a personal interest in this, with them being my local team, but I’ve noticed that Notts get very few mentions compared to other teams and I’ve spent a season working out how they’re doing through references to their opposition. Is it just that it’s a longer word and those updates need writing quickly?”

I think Notts did get quite a lot of coverage earlier in the season when they had their miraculous transformation. I hope they’re not too neglected, its always quite hard to keep track on who you’ve mentioned on a blogging day. Alas, I think they are out of the running now for the Championship - would have been a great story.

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Distracting: James Vince. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Tea-time ish scores

Division One

Liverpool Hampshire 143 and 84-5 v Lancashire 141

Trent Bridge Nottinghamshire 296 v Yorkshire 73 and 98-1

Edgbaston Warwickshire 367 v v Somerset 172-4

Division Two

Chelmsford Essex 170 BEAT Northants 81 and 45 by an innings and 44 runs.


Bristol Durham 140 and 125-8 v Gloucestershire 218

The Kia Oval Glamorgan 672-6DEC v Surrey

Division Three

Canterbury Middlesex 147 and 219-3 v Kent 138

Hove Derbyshire 465 v Sussex 158-4

New Road Leicestershire 222 v Worcestershire 287-6

Updated

Hampshire 78-5 after Weatherley is very unlucky to deflect the ball onto his stumps trying to leave Tom Bailey. Bailey crouches down and squeezes both fists. Vince is still there, Dawson joins him. Somerset are three down, Abell gone for 14. Yorkies 79-1 following on, (a run-out).

And a cracking piece from Hove t’other day, definitely worth a read.

This is a good and very timely piece by @richardjhobson about Sussex's extremely young Championship side - and what this might mean for the shaky future of 4-day cricket in England. If you can read one piece, forget the title race reports, read this.https://t.co/WFlgQVlKnJ

— David Hopps (@DavidKHopps) September 21, 2021

Hampshire lead by 68. James Vince is stylishly shooting the breeze.

Class shot from batter James Vince 💪

Hampshire are now 66-4, a lead of 68 runs.

Live stream: https://t.co/K3EBHAbyRf or via the free Hampshire Cricket App 📱 pic.twitter.com/iQY63AYghZ

— Hampshire Cricket (@hantscricket) September 22, 2021

This is getting tasty, tasty. Gubbins plays an immaculate forward defensive shot but, unfortunately, after his stumps are rearranged. Hampshire 24-4 and out walks James Vince. I’m not sure what this fills Hampshire supporters with.

“Danny Briggs is having quite the day at Edgbaston. Not content with his batting heroics in the morning, the left-arm spinner has just picked up the second wicket for Warwickshire and a fine one too. Autumn’s Tom Lammonby was looking in ominous touch and, en route to a 77-ball half-century, had taken a bit of a fancy to Briggs. But the ball after crunching a full toss for four to move to 59, the left-hander danced down the pitch once more only to fire back a sharp caught and bowled chance. Briggs went with two hands but ended up pouching it in one. Somerset are 108 for two with Azhar Ali unbeaten on 28 but suddenly Warwickshire, who were starting to scratch their heads a touch, are buzzing again.”

,
Whaddaday: Danny Briggs, important wicket, county cap and (possible) Championship winning fifty.
Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

A third wicket for “the great” (according to the tannoy) Tom Bailey. Hampshire 15-3. The believers are starting to believe: the first oooh Lancy, Lancy bursts forth from outside the tent. Four slips wait in tantalising anticipation.

Dragging my eyes away from Aigburth for a minute, for a look round the grounds: (hang on, Wells leaps at slip and gets his fingers to an edge from Weatherley, but can’t hold on and it flies through for four.)

Anyway: Durham are 49-5, still trailing Gloucestershire’s first innings by 29, three wickets for Zafar Gohar who is having some match. Mark Stoneman is enjoying his Middlesex renaissance, 60 not out of 115-2 - a lead of 124 on Kent. Yorkies 42-0 following-on; Glamorgan a mighty 565-5 at The Oval- Chris Cooke 152 not out! Sussex 78-4 being darned together by fifty from Ben Brown, but a deficit of 385 casts a deep shadow; Lammonby has gone at Trent Bridge for 55, Somerset 104-2 and Libby and Morris have put Worcestershire in a comfortable position at 188-3, just 34 behind Leicestershire.

“The moral is it can seam all you like,” taps Steve Cox, “but if you prepare a wicket that takes spin then they’ll dock points. Yes I AM a Somerset fan.”

Talking of which...are breezily approaching 100 after losing only one wicket. Lammonby 50, Azhar Ali 24. Easy as pie.

What Lancs-up? Bailey again: Mason Crane bowled neck, crop, fruit and veg. Hampshire 1-2.

BAILS 😍🏰

Game on, in Liverpool.

🌹 #RedRoseTogether pic.twitter.com/LLuEQO3YSC

— Lancashire Cricket (@lancscricket) September 22, 2021

Updated

Third ball wicket! Hampshire 0-1. Holland snaffles to slip for 0 and one in the match. Tom Bailey roars.

It was Bailey who succumbed to Abbas in the end. Abbas kisses the Aigburth turf after his 5-48. And Hampshire have a lead of two.

The tannoy announces with some relish that Yorkshire are all out for 73.

Updated

Yorkshire are not going to inch their way to the Bob Willis Trophy Final. Now 73-9, 223 behind and gulping at a follow on. Here, we watch Abbas v Parkinson.

A worthy partnership of 38 between Croft and Bailey comes to an end when Croft lofts the ball to Dawson at mid-off, who survives the wait as the ball swings back to earth. Lancashire 131-9. And Barker throws off his hat and runs towards the river end. I think he fancies his luck against Parky.

Updated

From James Kettle, a tap on the wrist for Dan Lawrence: “Without wanting to get all mathematical about it, Essex might have lost more than two red ball games if they’d played their last five matches against the top six, rather than mid-level opposition.”

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Second XI champs: Essex Photograph: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo/REX/Shutterstock

A lovely stroll around the ground: the sun came out and now Hampshire are bowling and Mohammad Abbas looks to be limp-free. Hampshire want these wickets, but Lancs have crept up, those stealthy red roses, now only 21 behind. Could the pendulum swing again, especially as Somerset seem to have remembered which way to pick up a bat (37-1).

“Crikey, that morning escalated and Warwickshire’s title bid still lives and breathes thanks to the sheer gumption of Danny Briggs with the bat.
When Liam Norwell walked out to join the No9 in the middle the Bears were 304 for eight from 104.2 overs, needing 46 runs in the next 32 balls to earn a precious fourth batting point. Briggs scooped Josh Davey for four behind square, danced down the pitch to swipe a six next ball, watched Norwell then hole out off Craig Overton but, by chiselling out some ones and twos with the No11, Craig Miles, reached the start of the 110th over needing 11 runs. Jack Brooks was the bowler, Somerset spread the field, but Briggs managed to crash a four through cover, guide another past backward point and then flick a quite glorious six over mid-wicket to get part one of the job done. Breathless stuff.


“Briggs went on to bring up his half-century from 29 balls with another six before Miles was the last man out, handing Overton his fifth. If Warwickshire, 367 all out, go on to win with maximum bowling points and seal the title, he’ll be telling his grandkids about it for years to come. Hell, he might do regardless. And the home side bagged their first wicket before lunch too, Chris Woakes bowling Ben Green for 14 with a beauty that angled in and straightened. Somerset are 36 for one at a break that offers everyone a chance to compute it all.”

Updated

Essex are second division champions!

But they’re not happy. This from Dan Lawrence, stand in captain.

“We didn’t feel great taking a photo next to the Division Two champions board today. It isn’t something we will actually celebrate. We’re a club who want to be winning Division One.

“If you look at our record this year we have only lost two games of red-ball cricket. We’ll probably have the most points in the country. It almost doesn’t feel fair that we’re going to be coming seventh of all the counties as we feel like we are one of the top three teams.”

Geoff May asks, “Has there been any info about the quality of the wicket at Chelmsford? If 30 wickets had gone down at Taunton in just over a day I’d be sure that pitch inspectors would be crawling all over it and issuing points deductions.”

The best I can do is this from Northamptonshire assistant coach John Sadler, who will become head coach next season:

“The pitch wasn’t dangerous, it wasn’t up and down, it just seamed. They bowled very very well and found the edge and sometimes it just happens. We got the toss wrong and thought it would be a better pitch than it was and we hold our hands up, sometimes you get things wrong.”

Lunchtime scores

Division One

Liverpool Hampshire 143 v Lancashire 115-8

Trent Bridge Nottinghamshire 296 v Yorkshire 63-8

Edgbaston Warwickshire 367 v v Somerset 36-1

Division Two

Chelmsford Northants 81 and 45 BEAT Essex 170 by an innings and 44 runs.

Bristol Durham 140 and 17-0 v Gloucestershire 218

The Kia Oval Glamorgan 466-5 v Surrey

Division Three

Canterbury Middlesex 147 and 32-0 v Kent 138

Hove Derbyshire 465 v Sussex 4-1

New Road Leicestershire 222 v Worcestershire 138-1

Wood joins the pavilion wake after a fish, chips n mushy peas 37 off 41 balls. It warmed Aigburth hearts though, and he gets enthusiastic applause . Lancs 93-8.

Mohammad Abbas has just fielded in front of my nose and is slightly limping.. and now flexing his right calf.

Danny Briggs’s is left undefeated for his dreamboy 53 - five fours , three sixes -as Warwickshire are finally dismissed for 367. In reply Somerset are 11-0, somewhat beyond expectation on recent form.

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Danny Briggs: Warwickshire hero Photograph: David Davies/PA

A cold wind blows into the Aigburth tent, and it isn’t just disappointment drifting off the pitch. Luke Wood ( a mighty top-edged pull off Abbas for six and a couple of fours) and Croft (three fours) are rubbing some rouge into Lancashire cheeks. At 77-7 it is relative respectability.

On the counter-attack, @lwood_95 💥

Watch live ➡️ https://t.co/hS3fV3ivvz

🌹 #RedRoseTogether pic.twitter.com/FK51B6NANf

— Lancashire Cricket (@lancscricket) September 22, 2021

Updated

Yorkshire are now four down, but it doesn’t matter how beautifully Luke Fletcher is bowling. Title is going elsewhere. Yorkshire 31-4.

Four, four, SIX!! Danny Briggs making whoppee puts Warwickshire in the driving seat - if they beat Somerset, the Championship is now theirs.

Is there a better opening attack in the country than Barker and Abbas?

Eleven needed off the last over at Warwickshire for that batting point, with nine fielders on the fence! No make that seven off five! Three off three!

Two in two balls for Barker, who is finding the River end to his taste. Lamb lasts three balls before licking down a first class stamp and enveloping it to second slip. Lancashire making a Horlicks of this . But the sun has just shown the first shake of a toe. And Warwicks 15 away from that batting point...

Make that 47-7...

Dane Vilas drives Barker stylishly, but straight to Liam Dawson at cover and Lancashire are 47-6. And yes, in answer to the question BTL, if Warwicks (323-9 and hitting with gusto) can’t pick up another batting point then Hampshire will win, so long as they pick up all their bowling points and beat Lancashire. I hope that’s clear.

Warwickshire eight down, Yorkshire two down, and Croft has just been dropped at first slip off Abbas. A breathless hush etc.

Northants lose by an innings in a day and 30 minutes

Essex 170 beat Northants 81 and 45 by an innings and 44 runs

Five wickets in half an hour. Northants all out for 81 and 45. Ten in the match for Cook. The season is over within half an hour on the second morning at Chelmsford! Essex win by an innings and 44. #EssvNor pic.twitter.com/UGcxXFv5x6

— Andrew Miller (@miller_cricket) September 22, 2021

Updated

We think that Notts, by not picking up that third batting point are now out of it unless Lancashire v Hampshire ends in a draw... which smells unlikely with Lancs 33-5.

Did I mention that Lancashire had lost another? Nightwatchman Blatherwick, equalling his highest score of four, but unequal to Mohammad Abbas. He throws his bat into the air as he trudges off.

Northants, incidentally are 41-9...

“Lively start on a gorgeous sunny September morning at Edgbaston, where Michael Burgess drove his first ball from Craig Overton for four, edged his third behind and was then followed shortly after by Sam Hain, bowled by the headband warrior that is Jack Brooks without adding to his overnight 83. And as I type this, Chris Woakes has proved to be mortal, caught at gully off Overton. Warwickshire in danger of stuffing up their bid for four batting points. They’re 298 for seven from 101 overs, needing 54 runs from the next nine. Tim Bresnan and Danny Briggs are the new men at the crease...”

Ooof, a superb grab at second slip, I think, by Weatherley. Josh Bohannon has to go and Barker has his man. Lancashire 27-4. And there’s been a wicket at Edgbaston too, as Overton picks up Burgess with the third ball of the day. And Notts are all out for 296 - no third batting point for them.

Lancashire have survived the first over from Keith Barker, but here comes Mohammad Abbas, with deep clouds looming overhead.

The fall-out from the ECB’s bone-headed decision on Pakistan continues. Apparently George Dobell gave a scorching interview on Talksport and here, as mentioned BTL, is Heather Knight’s take on the business: she wasn’t consulted.

England women’s captain Heather Knight to #BBCcricket on Pakistan tour: “We found out (yesterday) that the Board had decided to pull us out, and accept that decision. It’s well above our heads and a complicated situation.” 1/2 @bbctms

— Alison Mitchell (@AlisonMitchell) September 21, 2021

So, where are we? Assuming that Warwickshire get 350... Lancashire need to get maximum batting points to go ahead of Warwicks, should both those sides win. They are, as a reminder 25-3.

Tuesday's round-up

Somerset made title-chasing Warwickshire work for every run on the opening day at Edgbaston. The visitors arrived bottom of Division One and with their title ambitions long buried but bowled wholeheartedly all day as the Bears reached 283 for four. Will Rhodes (60) and Dominic Sibley (56) laid a platform for a solid Warwickshire total while Sam Hain (83 not out)and Matt Lamb (44) built on it, but they have work to do in the morning to take the initiative in the title race.

If Warwickshire reach 350 inside 110 overs – for which they need another 67 in 14 overs – and then go on to acquire full bowling points and win, they will be champions unless Lancashire – 25 for three overnight – total 400 and beat Hampshire at Aigburth. The whole title equation could hinge on the events of the first hour of play today.

Elsewhere, Joe Clarke posted his first hundred of the season as title contenders Nottinghamshire recovered from 147 for five to 292 for nine against Yorkshire. Clarke was dropped on 59 and 88 but made the most of his good fortune, hitting 15 fours and a six before falling for 109. Notts lost both openers in consecutive overs an hour into the day. Haseeb Hameed played loosely at a wide delivery from Matt Fisher, while Ben Slater pushed at one from all-rounder George Hill that tickled the edge. Wicketkeeper Harry Duke claimed six catches.

At Bristol, where Gloucestershire edged the opening day against Durham in Division Two, play was suspended temporarily after five balls to allow an air ambulance helicopter to land in order to help in an emergency at a nearby address. The visitors were then bundled out for 140 before the hosts closed 146 for six. PA Media

Tuesday's report

If the scene was serene, the bowlers were not. Spectators unfolded in camping chairs and stretched across green benches as the Liverpool sun dipped towards its 7.13pm nightcap, but no one was leaving early. Mohammad Abbas and Keith Barker were pawing the ground, desperate to put Hampshire back in the game after they had been bowled out for 143.

Barker, trousers hitched up to reveal his patterned socks, a giant of a man, pounded in from the River End. Abbas, slight as a sycamore seed, skin covered from wrist to ankle, slid through from the Pavilion End, the smiling assassin with the effortless action. The pair of them consulted, laughing between balls. It felt like a stretch for Lancashire to survive the 20 overs to stumps. It was.

First Alex Davies, in his penultimate innings for Lancashire before he moves to Warwickshire on a three-year deal, was bowled in Abbas’s third over. Then Luke Wells was lbw for a duck to Barker, who appealed throughout with great gusto.

When George Balderson, who had bowled so neatly for Lancashire earlier in the day and done well to survive Hampshire’s opening salvo, feathered Abbas behind and was snaffled by Alsop behind the stumps, Lancashire had been reduced to 15 for three. Jack Blatherwick was sent out as nightwatchman, and he and Josh Bohannon battled through, surviving various close shaves, lots of team-building encouragement from a vocal Hampshire, and an over of spin from Liam Dawson to inch Lancashire to 25 for three and the close.

It was the final act of what had been a gripping first day in this last and crucial Championship game of the season, with only six and a half points separating the four possible winners: Hampshire, Warwickshire, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire. It also threw the game into the balance after Lancashire had dominated the first two sessions.

Dane Vilas had won the toss on an overcast Aigburth morning and inserted Hampshire on a pitch with a touch of spite. The visitors immediately struggled against accurate Lancashire bowling.

Ian Holland was the first to fall, for one, to a vigorous Tom Bailey, who had galloped on to the pitch with end-of-school enthusiasm. Then the 20-year-old Balderson, who made his debut in the Bob Willis Trophy only last year, found himself bowling at the potential champions. With fire in his belly, he persuaded Tom Alsop, curator of a careful 24, to give second slip a juicy catch. Nick Gubbins departed (for a duck) in the same over and Joe Weatherley soon followed.

A promising partnership started to develop between Dawson and James Vince, before another double strike when the unlucky Dawson was run out after Bailey deflected a classy straight drive on to the non-striker’s stumps. Such was Vince’s hand-on-hip disbelief that he wafted ineffectually four balls later and was caught by Davies to leave Hampshire 71 for six.

Felix Organ and Mason Crane coaxed the tail towards a total that Hampshire could bear to glance at in the mirror before Vilas summoned Matt Parkinson, who sent down 11 chirpy overs, taking three for nine. Balderson finished with three for 21 which included two dropped catches. Lancashire pocketed three bowling points and Hampshire one batting.

So a day that started with musings that the last time Lancashire won the title in a home match was at Blackpool in 1930, and that Hampshire’s last title in 1973 came when they had an opening partnership of Barry Richards and Gordon Greenidge, ended with eyes drifting towards Edgbaston, where Warwickshire’s batsmen were progressing without too much mishap.

Much depends on what happens in the first session and, if Lancashire can escape the clutches of Hampshire’s rampant bowlers. In the words of Mason Crane, speaking at the close: “A club ground in September is never going to be easy and we identified pretty early on that it wasn’t going to be a massive score but we scrapped and fought to the end and the way we bowled at the end was brilliant.

“We’re pretty confident that, if we get a couple of wickets in the morning, we could be looking at a lead and we’re pretty happy with the position we’re in.” The season stretches into yet another day.

Ominously for Lancashire, Mohammad Abbas is looking very flexible in his warm up. This is today’s Hampshire choice, nicely 1999.

Scores on the doors

Division One

Liverpool Hampshire 143, Lancashire 25-3

Trent Bridge Nottinghamshire 292-9 (JM Clarke 109; JDM Evison 58 no) v Yorkshire

Edgbaston Warwickshire 283-4 (SR Hain 83 no; WMH Rhodes 60; DP Sibley 56) v Somerset

Division Two

Chelmsford Northamptonshire 81 (SJ Cook 5-21, JA Porter 4-31), 23-5 (SJ Cook 4-5); Essex 170 (CJ White 4-40; TAI Taylor 4-67)

Bristol Durham 140 (Zafar Gohar 5-50); Gloucestershire 146-6 (GL van Buuren 62)

The Kia Oval Glamorgan 379-4 (DL Lloyd 121; JM Cooke 68) v Surrey

Division Three

Canterbury Middlesex 147 (MD Stoneman 59; DI Stevens 4-21); Kent 82-4.

Hove Derbyshire 371-5 (WL Madsen 111; MJJ Critchley 85; BA Godleman 52) v Sussex

New Road Leicestershire 222 (L Kimber 71); Worcestershire 30-1

Good morning! It’s day two, so let’s throw everything in the air and see where it lands. Skies are grouchy here at Aigburth, but Paul Allot is in shorts. This was yesterday’s sunset:

Sunset at Aigburth last night. pic.twitter.com/ZshjVCv6Zx

— tanya aldred (@tjaldred) September 22, 2021

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Tanya Aldred at Aigburth

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