On a hot September Sunday, sun stolen from a dreary August, the County Championship returned. To a bubbling Oval hum and an audience of shirt sleeves on pale blue seats, Ben Foakes petted a deft hundred for Surrey, his third ton of the first-class summer. Foakes and Cameron Steel (69 runs) added an unbeaten 152 for the fifth wicket, keeping out Warwickshire’s second new ball, and bolstering earlier half‑centuries from Dom Sibley (Birkenstocks) and Jamie Smith (kickback mules).
The hosts finished the day on 339-4. Surrey, eyes on a second consecutive title, go into the final month of the season top of the table, leading second-placed Essex by 17 points. Warwickshire must win at the Oval for an even theoretical tilt at the title. Liam Dawson, having a season to remember for Hampshire, hit an unbeaten 109 against Somerset under the eye of the England selector Luke Wright. It was a stodgy surface, with Somerset bowling 24 maidens in the day.
Sam Whiteman bashed a boisterous 79 in his final game before he returns to Australia, but the Division One wooden spoonists Northamptonshire threw a couple of run-outs into the mix and yet again failed to reach 250. Ben Sanderson and Jack White plucked out Lancashire’s openers before stumps.
In Division Two, Durham continued to storm towards promotion, dismissing Sussex for 266 despite an opening stand of 110 between Toms Clark and Haines. Matt Parkinson was Durham’s gamechanger, snatching four for 58 and a sprinting, sprawling catch. Ben Raine collected his 50th wicket of the season.
In the promotion battle at New Road, an unbeaten 74 from Brett D’Oliveira coaxed Worcestershire out of the doldrums despite three wickets apiece for Glamorgan’s James Harris and Jamie McIlroy. Tom Scriven’s four for 30 helped Leicestershire to bowl out Gloucestershire for 159.
Anuj Dal grabbed five wickets on a slow pitch at Scarborough, where Yorkshire were rustled out for less than 300 by Derbyshire. A sleepy crowd watched the 22‑year‑old James Wharton make 58, thoughts running to the future with Yorkshire bottom of the table after their 48‑point deduction by the CDC committee.
The Rose Bowl: Hampshire 282-7 v Somerset
The County Ground: Northants 232 v Lancashire 54-2
The Oval: Surrey 339-4 v Warwickshire
Chester-le-Street: Durham 6-0 v Sussex 266
Grace Road: Leicestershire 103-2 v Gloucestershire 159
New Road: Worcestershire 284 v Glamorgan 3-0
Scarborough: Yorkshire 297 v Derbyshire 47-1
Hundreds for Liam Dawson and Ben Foakes the highlight of the Championship’s first day back. We’ll be back tomorrow, have a lovely evening!
Time to write my round-up, I’ll leave you with Lancs 30-1; Hampshire 214-7, and Dawson hot on Foakes’ tail on 87. In Div 2: Sussex have squandered their good start – 266-9, Leicestershire 51-1 after reducing Glosto 159 all out; Worcs 278-8 and Yorkshire all out just short of 300 – but Derbys already a wicket down. Do chat on BTL.
And with an alarmed scamper, Foakes ticks over to three figures. Pulls off his helmet, accepts a hug from Steel and smiles. Inevitable and glorious. Surrey 322-4.
I’m not sure if they’ve turned up the good vibes on the Surrey stream but there is a gorgeous late-afternoon hum. Shirt sleeves and naked torsos on pale blue bucket seats. Foakes, on 95, survives a humdinger swinging in from Hanon-Dalby. The next is driven on the front foot to the rope, buttoned down shirt sleeves hitched just so.
A limp start for Lancs, as Wells is lbw for eight to Ben Sanderson, 11-1.
The new ball does the trick for Somerset. Fuller lbw for 27 to Jack Brooks. Hampshire 226-7 and Liam Dawson (76) is joined by Keith Barker.
To The Oval, where Cameron Steel has collected fifty and Ben Foakes teeters on 95. Surrey 310-4.
And a sensational flouce by Tom Alsop! Raine the first to fifty wickets in Division Two – with just Brett Hutton ahead of him in Division One.
Northants all out for 232, with wickets divided between the five Lancashire bowlers, Jack White the final wicket for 16. You’d expect Lancashire to squash that total under their batting boots.
Hampshire 214-6 – Dawson still there (68) but Ben Brown Gregory’s second wicket for 4.
And Foakes glides, with perfect teeth and hair, to 86 not out at The Oval – such a fabulous place to watch Championship cricket.Surrey 287-4.
Ben Foakes moving serenely towards three figures –73 not out in Surrey’s 265-4. Will he end up the forgotten cricketer of his generation? Often a wicketkeeper’s burden.
Northants implementing their 2023 strategy and imploding: a second run out as Taylor ambles down the pitch during an LBW appeal- both to Vilas. Northants 212-8.
Glamorgan successfully scratch their itch: breaking Worcestershire’s seventh-wicket stand of 101 as Kiran Carlson catches van Beek off his own bowling.
Fifteen minutes in the September sun, such a stolen pleasure. We’re back underway in the final session – where Tom Alsop has picked up fifty for Somerset, and Liam Dawson fifty for Hampshire. I heard BBC local radio comms – Kevan James I think – say that Dawson was in the form of his life.
The Rose Bowl: Hampshire 164-5 v Somerset
The County Ground: Northants 201-7 v Lancashire
The Oval: Surrey 224-4 v Warwickshire
Chester-le-Street: Durham v Sussex 196-4
Grace Road: Leicestershire v Gloucestershire 143-6
New Road: Worcestershire 202-6 v Glamorgan
Scarborough: Yorkshire 209-6 v Derbyshire
Timm VDG limps off at New Road, with D’Oliveira and van Beek having added 77 for the seventh wicket. Worcs 187-6. Yorks 200-5 at the seaside, three for Dal. A few good starts but only Wharton passed fifty. Gloucestershire 134-6 at Grace Road, a third for Scriven and Sussex 196-4 in the north-east. Tea-time scores approaching.
Surrey the first team to pass 200 – the run-out of Dom Sibley for 65 , bringing in the rather more speedy Cameron Steel. Surrey 218-4.
BBL: Harry Brook (Melbourne Stars), Tom Curran (Sydney Sixers), Chris Jordan (Hobart Hurricanes), Alex Hales (Sydney Thunder), Jamie Overton (Adelaide Strikers), Sam Hain (HH), James Vince (SS), Sam Billings (Brisbane Heat), Zak Crawley (Perth Scorchers), Laurie Evans (Perth Scorchers), Paul Walter (BH), Adam Hose (AS), Rehan Ahmed (SS).
WBBL: Alice Capsey (Melbourne Stars), Heather Knight (ST), Danni Wyatt (Perth Scorchers), MAia Bouchier (MS), Bryony Smith (HH), Dani Gibson (AS), Lauren Bell (ST), Bess Heath (BH),
Gubbins gone now, done by a quicker one by Bashir, one short of his half century. Hants 135-5. Pity the fool who predicted them for the title.
A third for Parky – Clark, Pujara, and now young James Coles. Sussex 156-4.
Last year Pujara played eight Championship games for Sussex, scoring 1094 runs at 109.4. This year, Pujara has played 7 games (including this one) with 856 runs at an average of 61.
Carse added to the squad for the four ODIs v New Zealand after a good show in the T20s.
Time to go round the grounds. In Division One, two fragile batting line-ups meet at the Rose Bowl: Hampshire 115-4, with Vince (34) and Prest (0) joinging Albert and Middleton back in the pavilion. Gubbins still there on 36. Two wickets for Brooks.
Bottom of the Div One pile Northants just about keeping Lancs at bay, not helped by the run-out of Emilio Gay for 35. Whiteman still there on 65, Saif Zaib one not out. Northants 137-4.
At The Oval, a nicely-purring crowd can enjoy the contrasting styles of Dom Sibley and Ben Foakes, Surrey 163-3 v Warwickshire.
A misfield gives Sibley his fourth fifty of the season, a leisurely affair.
If you want to follow Harry Brook’s mission to blast his way into England’s World Cup squad, Taha Hashim is your man. OBO coverage of England v New Zealand here:
My hunch would have been on a Jamie Smith century today, but no. Stumps splayed by Ed Barnard for 60 (72 balls). Big bad Dom is 45 not out off 131. Surrey 137-3.
Apologies HPG for this news, but Parky, catcher-extraordinaire, now takes a wicket with his first ball. Clark joins Haines back in the pavilion: Sussex 136-2.
Some Somerset supporter thoughts on this?
I wonder if Banton was – it feels ridiculous writing this – born a few years too early. Just too soon to be a white-ball/T20 franchise specialist and thus caught between two stools.
Events at Chester le Street ! Fifty for Tom Clark, but he has lost his fellow Tom, Haines, to a splendid, sprinting, sprawling catch off Ben Raine. Sussex 113-1.
Maybe Parky can throw off his reputation as a dodgy fielder with a move of counties.
Another debut to document today – bowler Luke Charlesworth (younger brother of Ben) at Gloucestershire, down to bat No. 11.
A heath robinson lunch here as the cupboards were not helpful – noodles with tomato paste and a side of kimchi (forced down for health reasons rather than pleasure).
And as the afternoon session begins around the grounds, leaders Surrey are looking ominous against chasing Warwicks; and third placed Hampshire even against Somerset. In the Div Two first v fourth clash – Sussex are lording over Durham (who could possibly clinch promotion this round – I think – pls check my maths), while Glamorgan hold the upper hand in the chasing-pack match at New Road.
Just going to make a quick sandwich – back shortly! Some Sunday lunchtime reading:
The Rose Bowl: Hampshire 90-2 v Somerset
The County Ground: Northants 85-3 v Lancashire
The Oval: Surrey 111-2 v Warwickshire
Chester-le-Street: Durham v Sussex 100-0
Grace Road: Leicestershire v Gloucestershire 73-1
New Road: Worcestershire 72-3 v Glamorgan
Scarborough: Yorkshire 98-2 v Derbyshire
A shout out to Warwickshire who are putting on a Go Green game at today’s T20 between England and New Zealand. The club have already pledged to be carbon Net Zero by 2030 and are a member of BASIS. They’ve improved recycling, reducing waste by a third, installed hundreds of low-energy LED lights and prepare 95 per cent of food on site to reduced waste.
During today’s game, no red meat will be served in hospitality, spectators will be encouraged to refill their bottles at the refill stations, there will be more cycle racks at Edgbaston, better signage from the city centre as well as free shuttle buses from Birmingham New Street, compostable food packaging. All energy will be from renewable resources.
Importantly, Warwickshire have partnered with Drax and National Express West Midlands, who have helped forecast the game’s carbon footprint, identified opportunities to reduce it, and then will measure the actual footprint after the game and produce a report.
Jamie Smith tarting up his portfolio:
A first-class debut for Glamorgan’s Ben Kellaway, 19 years old and also studying Biology at Cardiff. Yet to bowl – good luck!
In Division Two, it’s a batters’ morning. Oh, except at New Road.
Sussex flying against Durham- 70-0 with lunch still 40 minutes away. Gloucestershire have just lost Charlesworth for 32 to Scriven, 60-1 against Leicestershire. And Lyth and Bean have knocked up 59 for wooden spoonists Yorkshire at Scarborough against third from bottom Derbyshire. Actually bin that, Lyth has just fallen for 32.
And Worcestershire’s batting is being pegged up only by Roderick, 27 not out. Libby, Azhar, Haynes all back in the pavilion for a song. Worcs 43-3.
With an hour gone, time to trip around the grounds:
In Division One, Jamie Smith hitting his straps at The Oval, four fours in his 24 off 18 balls – Surrey 55 for 2 against Warwickshire. Dom Sibley a sedentary five not out. At the Rosebowl, Hampshire 46-1 after losing Middleton for 0 against Somerset. And Northants 56-1 v Lancashire, Gay and Whiteman full of boundaries.
This is worth five minutes of your time:
Runaway leaders Surrey in a spot of bother at The Oval – 32-2 against Warwickshire with Burns and Patel back in the pavilion, wickets for Rushworth and Barnard. Smith and Sibley the men in, and no space in the XI for new signing Sai Sudharsan. Surrey currently without Gus Atkinson, Tom Latham, Ollie Pope, Will Jacks and Sam Curran.
Some housekeeping, as it happened after the last round of games: Yorkshire docked 48 points in this year’s Championship, and fined £400,000 (£300,000 of which is suspended for two years) as well as being docked four points in this year’s T20 Blast competition, by the ECB’s Cricket Discipline Commission as a result of the Azeem Rafiq affair.
The mighty Bazballing Durham look uncatchable at the top of Division Two, but Toms Haines and Clark are holding them off so far at Chester-le-Street. Sussex 31-0. The Durham side includes Matt Parkinson, but Sussex are without Ollie Robinson.
And another lovely tribute to Palfreyman from Chops here:
While the CC was on holiday, Dane Vilas announced his retirement after seven seasons with Lancashire – arriving on a Kolpak deal in 2017 (becoming an overseas player in 2021) and taking over the captaincy for four years in 2019.
The nuts and bolts haven’t looked so smooth this year, so it doesn’t come as a huge surprise, but what a fantastic innings at Old Trafford. Vilas will play in the SA20 league at the start of next year..
“It has been an extremely difficult decision to call time on my County Cricket career and one that I have thought long and hard about,” he said. “However, I feel that the end of this season is the right time for me and for my family.
“I have enjoyed a fantastic career, from making my First-Class debut for Gauteng in 2006, to the honour and pride of playing Test Match Cricket for South Africa, before moving to the UK in 2017 to take on a new challenge and making Emirates Old Trafford my home for the last seven seasons.
“It was one of the greatest honours of my career to be named captain of the Red Rose, to lead a brilliant group of players for four seasons and to represent our Members and supporters – who have all been amazing to me, and my family, throughout my time at the Club.”
And a couple more into the wicket pot – an early breakthrough for Lancashire with the dismissal of Hassan Azad lbw to Tom Bailey after a 17-ball one (Northants 14-1); and Jake Libby a victim of Glamorgan and van der Gugten – Worcs 16-1.
Just one wicket in the first 15 minutes of the day – Fletcha Middleton snaffled by Andy Umeeed at slips off Jack Brooks, Hampshire 16-1 after James Vince won the toss and chose to bat – one of only two captains to plump for a first dig.
Two sad pieces of news this morning. The death of former Zimbabwe international Heath Streak at just 49 from colon cancer:
And the passing of BTL regular Ravi Nair, known here as Palfreyman. A lovely tribute here from Mes:
Some of you will remember Palfreyman (‘Palf’), an inveterate BTLer for many seasons.
Beyond the bounds of this parish he was simply Ravi Nair.
I’m afraid that Ravi very sadly passed away on 28th July.
He was an absolutely lovely human.
A Surrey fan, Harlequins for rugby – I can forgive him for both of those now.
He (dis)graced the airwaves of Guerilla Cricket. He would want me to say “disgraced”. But I need to put the brackets in. I’ve seen Ravi commentating on Guerilla Cricket, posting on Twitter and sending me messages – all seemingly at the same time. He was “multiplatform”.
Many of us have known Ravi for years. Some here will have known Ravi even longer than I have. I can only say that I have seen the photographic evidence of the Mandarin Brandy Night, which was before my time as a BTLer. I will leave it to others to tell the inside story of the night that led to one of the longest running gags we have here.
On a very personal note, he corresponded by post with my two daughters from his home in Mumbai. Though he would always call it Bombay. And he would always want people to know that he was British. His letters were always a joy for my daughters to receive, and we all referred to him – only half-jokingly – as Uncle Ravi.
He had a cat – Fuzzy (short for Farzana). It seems that the neighbours in Ravi’s apartment block have been feeding her. Ravi ran a Twitter account for Fuzzy as well.
We shared a love of music as well, and with others here, exchanged our favourite songs, often around themes (alternative Christmas songs is a perennial favourite). Ravi always came up with some wonderful Bollywood numbers for whichever theme we were riffing on.
He came up with this tune for one of our themes. It’s stuck in my head. So, play it loud. For Ravi.
Ravi was also a lover of heavy metal music – Iron Maiden in particular. He was a proper headbanger. So, here is a little ditty that seems appropriate. Ravi would laugh, I’m sure, to know that I’m posting that song…
The plan is to have a CC Live awayday at The Oval on 19 September, and to raise a glass (or more) to Ravi’s memory. I will try and sneak some Mandarin Brandy past the Mexican border guards (no promises…), and Culinary Arts is trying to sort out for donations to be made to an animal sanctuary run by a Guerilla Cricket listener.
Once you have listened to ‘My Name is Lakhan’ and Iron Maiden, I can think of no better tribute to play for any cricket fan than to listen to this.
You all know why. And Ravi would love it.
We’ll miss you, Ravi.
With belated haste, summer has arrived, flip flops trailing out of her unbuckled case. The Met Office five day crystal-ball reading: “Mostly dry and settled with some very warm sunshine.”
1 Durham (11) 174
2 Worcestershire (11) 134
3 Glamorgan (11) 120
4 Sussex (11) 113
5 Leicestershire (10) 111
6 Derbyshire (10) 82
7 Gloucestershire (11) 81
8 Yorkshire (10) 50
1 Surrey (11) 183
2 Essex (11) 166
3 Hampshire (11) 135
4 Warwickshire (10) 127
5 Somerset (11) 125
6 Nottinghamshire (11) 114
7 Lancashire (10) 112
8 Middlesex (10) 84
9 Kent (11) 81
10 Northants (10) 59
The Rose Bowl: Hampshire v Somerset
The County Ground: Northants v Lancashire
The Oval: Surrey v Warwickshire
Chester-le-Street: Durham v Sussex
Grace Road: Leicestershire v Gloucestershire
New Road: Worcestershire v Glamorgan
Scarborough: Yorkshire v Derbyshire
Good morning! As the conkers drop around you boots, welcome back to the autumn version of CCLive! Four rounds, 32 games, a pennant and a teeth grind of promotion and relegation are waiting.
I was supposed to be at Scarborough today, but the train strikes and Sunday services drew a line through that – so let’s just sniff the sea fret and aggressive seagulls. Seven games start today – with Essex v Middlesex joining the party tomorrow – and a handful of new names thrown into the Championship pot, like Jayant Yadav at Middlesex and Sai Sudharsan at Surrey . Play starts at 10.30am.