May 19, 2012

LV= County Championship, Saturday May 19

7.30pm: Alex Winter's round up

7.30pm: Alex Winter's round up

Round seven all over with not a lot of movement. A whole host of draws around the country. The only winners this week have been Derbyshire, they hammered Glamorgan to move top of Division Two and look in good shape. That lower tier is packed with average squads and finding a way to win matches will be the key, unlike the first division where you expect certain teams to come good given their quality.

In Division One, Warwickshire will be disappointed to have not gone on to beat Lancashire in such a commanding position but they top the table, a couple point ahead of Nottinghamshire. But I reckon Durham can also get involved in the mix.

All the reports available on our county cricket homepage but that's all for now, CB40 action tomorrow and then next week I'll be at Chelmsford watching the Division Two leaders. Other games see Warwickshire visit The Oval and Lancashire host Middlesex, see you next week. Keep it healthy.

6.10pm: David Lloyd at Surrey v Somerset

It’s a draw. Time to shake hands, wander away and think about what might have been. Terrific match and honours just about even in the end with Somerset taking 11 points to Surrey’s 10.

Somerset had the chance for one last blast with a second new ball becoming available five overs from the end. But nothing was going to shift Hamilton-Brown, or Jon Lewis for that matter, and the hosts finished on 239 for seven when a halt was called with two balls remaining.

5.35pm: David Lloyd at Surrey v Somerset

Stalemate – or is it? After three days and two sessions of outstanding entertainment, this match appeared to be drifting gently to a draw as Surrey reached 219 for six with only 12 overs remaining. But then Dockrell struck again.

With Surrey having long since called off the chase, the spinner went back around the wicket to dismiss Gareth Batty, who shaped to cut but was done by the arm ball.

The seventh wicket pair had been together for 34 overs, adding 71, but there is tension in the air again.

5.30pm: Alex Winter around the grounds

It’s been all change in this round of matches with the bat dominating the ball. As such, too many runs have prevented results at Grace Road and Canterbury. In both games the captains tried to arrange a final afternoon chase but in both cases a draw ensued.

The only other live game is at New Road where there is a chase on but Worcester are settling for a draw with too many to get in the final hour. Sussex declared earlier today to leave the hosts 315 to win; they have scored at a good rate, over 3.5 an over, but the task is beyond them now so another stalemate will prevail.

But back to the Oval, can Somerset complete the job or can Surrey pull off the chase...

5.20pm: Jon Culley at Warwickshire v Lancashire

Paul Horton is well into his eighth hour at the crease and the goal of achieving a draw is within touching distance now. It has been a tremendous effort and Gareth Cross deserves enormous credit too.

He is unbeaten on 62 with Horton 130 and Lancashire are 323-5 with nine overs more available to Warwickshire to get the five wickets they need, but given that they have managed only two in the previous 79 today it would be a huge surprise if they were deny Lancashire at this stage.

4.50pm: David Lloyd at Surrey v Somerset

It’s getting tense here and Somerset are growing a bit edgy. Quite rightly, they paired their two best bowlers, Philander and Dockrell, after tea in the hope of achieving a breakthrough and, if not, then drying up the runs.

Well, Hamilton-Brown and Batty stood firm, meaning the visitors had to settle for Plan B. As a result, 10 overs yielded just 13 runs with Dockrell at times bowling outside leg stump.

Neither side want to lose this match, understandably, and for the first time for quite a long time a draw is starting to loom fairly large. With 22 overs left, Surrey want 95 to win. And Somerset require four wickets.

3.50 pm: David Lloyd at Surrey v Somerset

Given the length of their injury list, the sight of Meschede leaving the field for treatment on his right (bowling) shoulder was alarming from a Somerset viewpoint.

Not that the absence of another bowler seemed likely to handicap them too much here once Peter Trego had removed Tom Maynard and Chris Jordan to a brace of lbw decisions.

The Maynard verdict caused umpire Ian Gould to think long and hard – so long and hard, in fact, that the batsman probably thought he was okay. But up went the finger. There was no need for a great deal of weighing up a couple of overs later, however, as Jordan played all around a straight one.

At 148 for six Somerset were in almost complete control. This contest has twisted and turned throughout, though, and Hamilton-Brown and Batty had the Surrey faithful thinking positive thoughts again as they guided their side to 184 for six by tea. That meant 121 runs were required from a minimum of 36 overs.

3.10pm: Jon Culley at Warwickshire v Lancashire

Paul Horton has answered Lancashire's call to shoulder the burden of responsibility with a fine century as his side battles for survival. The opener reached the milestone after batting five and a quarter hours.

It ends a frustrating run for the boy from Sydney via Liverpool, who was out four times in the 90s last season and had not completed a ton since April 2010.

But Lancashire still have another 40 overs to go before they can celebrate escaping with a draw and the new ball is only six overs old. Chris Woakes, moreover, has beaten the bat a few times without finding the edge. Lancs are 243-5, trailling by 117.

2.40pm: Alan Gardner rounds up the rest of the action

The spirit of adventure has been invigorated by necessity in the Championship this season, what with all the play lost to poor weather, and the trend continues in this round, with counties attempting to engineer results at Grace Road (where Essex are chasing 270), Canterbury (Kent set 262) and New Road (Worcestershire in pursuit of 315). All three teams have 60 overs to try and make the gambit pay off.

Lancashire, meanwhile, who are battling manfully to avoid defeat at Warwickshire, have suffered another stroke of bad luck away from the middle, with the news that Junaid Khan won’t be available for their Friends Life t20 campaign. A saying about rain and pouring comes to mind ...

2.40pm: David Lloyd at Surrey v Somerset

Well, the bold Mr Fulton made it down safely but suddenly it looks as though Surrey have a mountain to climb (boom, boom).

The man who has done the damage is George Dockrell. And he’s done it by taking three wickets in the space of 10 balls with some really intelligent left-arm spin bowling.

Surrey were going so well at 96 for one. But then extra bounce and turn did for Jason Roy, who looped catch to short leg from high off the bat and a stand of 89 had been broken. Jacques Rudolph tried to regain control, only to drag an attempted drive to deep mid-wicket. And Zander de Bruyn top-edged a sweep to deep square leg.

The last of those three wickets was not without a bit of drama. Craig Meschede had to dive forward to complete the catch and, in doing, hurt his right shoulder. As Meschede rolled on the ground in pain, no-one was quite sure whether he had held on to the ball. But he had and Surrey were 103 for four.

1.45pm: Myles Hodgson at Yorkshire v Hampshire

Any prospect of a positive result were ended when play was delayed until 12.30 and we lost 24 overs of the day’s allocation, but at least the member’s were able to watch Jonny Bairstow’s maiden Test innings from the Long room.

Out in the middle Hampshire have progressed to 73 for one with the only major incident being Steve Patterson hitting Michael Carberry on the hand and prompting some medical treatment. Other than that, it has been traditional final day fare with the game heading for a draw.

Away from the current match, Yorkshire have confirmed that jet-lagged overseas player Mitchell Starc will make his debut in tomorrow’s CB40 game against Derbyshire at Headingley. He claims to have recovered from a gruelling fortnight, during which time he was forced to return to Australia because of visa problems and made 14 flights in 12 days.

1.15pm: Jon Culley at Warwickshire v Lancashire

Lunch here. Lancashire are showing some backbone. They have had a bit of help from the weather, which shortened the time they have to survive by 12 overs. More to the point, in the sense that they desperately need to have something go right for them after a dreadful start to the season, they have lost only one wicket.

They might claim they should have lost none. Steven Croft was given out caught at second slip in the seventh of the 84 overs left in the day after an 11.45 start but clearly wondered if the ball had hit the ground before Rikki Clarke stuck out a hand to his left. The catch looked clean so that is only explanation as to why the batsman asked the umpires for a ruling after Chris Wright had bowled him a full length ball that certainly came off a very low part of the bat.

Paul Horton, carrying the burden of responsibility after Moore, Brown and Prince were out yesterday afternoon, has stuck to his task exceptionally well so far. He has added only nine runs to his 56 overnight but more importantly has seen off 58 balls.

Jeetan Patel is into the attack but so far there has been no great help from the pitch for him or the seamers. There are 66 overs left for the Lancashire batsmen to survive, assuming they don't actually freeze to death. It is gloomy, overcast and unpleasantly cold.

12.50pm: David Lloyd at Surrey v Somerset

This game is on the edge – and so is Dave Fulton. The former Kent opener turned Sky Sports reporter has taken up the abseil challenge off the OCS Stand and is about to take one small step for live broadcasting, one big step for charity. Good man.

Fulton has never been one to shirk a challenge. He tackled the London Marathon a few weeks ago. And even more commendable (???), he chose to face Wasim Akram in a 1990s Lord’s final wearing a floppy sun hat rather than a helmet.

Back to this contest, Surrey made their attacking intentions clear by opening with Jason Roy, rather than the more conservative Jacques Rudolph. And Philander did not hold back either during an impressive six-over new ball spell that could easily have brought more than the wicket of Steve Davies, who chopped on while trying to force through the off side.

A terrific match deserves a great finish. And with Surrey 60 for one after 15 of a probable 85 overs, we could be getting just that.

11.40am: David Lloyd at Surrey v Somerset

Life is a challenge, whichever way you look it. For example, there is the challenge of the Hammersmith flyover - currently reduced to one narrow lane. To be fair, though, that was an absolute breeze this morning.

Then, and much more important, there is The Soldier Challenge, “a military-styled physical and mental test” that came to the Kia Oval this morning. Recruits of all shapes and ages are being urged to tackle a variety of sponsored tasks across London with the aim of raising money for The Soldiers’ Charity.

The target for a group of fairly nervous looking folk here was to abseil off the roof of the OCS stand.

And finally, turning to cricket, there is the challenge of facing a fired up and highly motivated Stuart Meaker. No, please, after you.

Bowling at high pace and swinging the ball as well, Meaker struck five times yesterday to keep Surrey in this contest. And while his radar was not working at its absolute best early on this morning, he didn’t have to wait too long for victim No 6 with Vernon Philander driving straight into the hands of short extra cover.

With Craig Overton losing his off stump soon after, Meaker had seven wickets for the first time in his career. A couple of balls later, the other Overton (Jamie) was yorked as well to leave Surrey's man of the moment with 8 for 52. Terrific stuff - and 11 in the game for mighty Meaker.

Somerset were still in the box seat, of course. A total of 180 all out gave them a good lead of 304 but all results remained possible with 85 overs remaining.

11.20am: Jon Culley at Warwickshire v Lancashire

They'll have to hurry back now because play will start at 11.45. Wouldn't happen in Manchester...

11.10am: Jon Culley at Warwickshire v Lancashire

Sadly the weather in Birmingham is a bit damp and miserable and the start has been delayed. The Warwickshire boys are making a point that in their opinion everything is fine by warming up on the field and not falling over.

A few of the Lankys, by contrast, have wandered across to the indoor school, clearly expecting nothing to happen anytime soon, which is the kind of thing you do when there is mizzle in the air, you are three wickets down following on and still 238 runs behind.

Andrew McGlashan sets the scene

Morning everyone, apologies for the slightly tardy start. Busy day and all. We’ve reached the final day of another round of Championship matches with plenty of matches still alive although it might need some collusion in a few games to get a result. Captains haven't been afraid of that this season. Lancashire, the defending champions, are trying to cling on at Edgbaston while Somerset’s victory push at The Oval was stalled yesterday although they remain in a very strong position. Enjoy the action.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo