June 9, 2012

LV= County Championship, Saturday June 9

8pm: Alex Winter closes the first half of the season

8pm: Alex Winter closes the first half of the season

Yes indeed, we're half way there (woooooowwwwoooooo livin' on a pray-eeerrrrrr) and Notts top the Championship by a point to Warwickshire but it's all very tight and plenty to play for. Have a look at the points table. Sussex the winners today by beating Surrey in a last gasp effort at Horsham. Read about that and the other matches on our county homepage.

Here's the Division Two table where there were three bore draws today, one of them declared this morning after heavy rain at Colwyn Bay that could cancel tomorrow's CB40 too.

And on that wet note, I shall bode you farewell for a month or so. T20 kicking off next week so make sure you're back online for our comprehensive coverage and of course tune in for the remainder of the Test match and the upcoming ODI series against West Indies and Australia too. See you soon...

6.00pm: Mark Pennell at Kent v Hampshire

Kent’s last day run chase ran hopelessly out of steam in Tunbridge Wells and the sides have just shook hands on a draw with two of the scheduled 70 overs still remaining.

The hosts reached 220 for six in pursuit of a 70-over victory target of 304. But, with Michael Powell on 9 and Geraint Jones unbeaten with 12, Kent finished 84 runs short and bank only five points to Hampshire’s six.

It marks a disappointing end to a rain-ruined match at this the 100th Tunbridge Wells Cricket Week. Let’s hope for better weather for Sunday’s CB40 clash with Northamptonshire, then Tuesday night’s FLt20 opener on Tuesday.

4.30pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Lancashire

Nottinghamshire are probably looking to escape with a draw now in reality, although the target is down to 140 from 22 overs. To achieve it they need more or less to score at twice the speed they have been doing.

Unfortunately they have lost Adam Voges, who had batted very well to complete his fifth half-century in nine first-class innings against Lancashire but then danced down the pitch to Simon Kerrigan, missed the ball and was stumped. He was looking to get on with it, which was fair enough, but it was completely out of character with what had gone before.

It would have been a 'stupid boy' moment had the Notts captain been called Mainwaring. Not sure if Chris Read passed comment as the two men crossed between middle and pavilion but he may have been thinking along those lines.

Notts are 211-5. James Taylor has his first Championship half-century since moving from Leicester.

3.30pm: Sahil Dutta at Sussex v Surrey

Sussex are closing in on victory at Horsham. Strangely, for a batting team as recklessly positive as they usually are, Surrey have gone in completely the opposite direction. They've barely hit it off the square. Tom Maynard and Rory Hamilton-Brown shared a 16-run stand in almost 13 overs. It was a real struggle for Maynard. He didn't field yesterday after being involved in an incident of some sort the night before. Car accident apparently. I caught sight of him lurking near the pavilion at lunch and he was sporting a nasty-looking black eye.

3.05pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Lancashire

There is a gritty battle going on here as Nottinghamshire try to keep their run-chase alive. Kyle Hogg has bowled pretty consistently all day and Ajmal Shahzad, whose first spell was untidy as he tried for too many wicket balls, has given away considerably fewer cheap runs in his second batch of overs.

It has been hard work for James Taylor and Adam Voges, one of whom has to post something substantial if Notts are to have a realistic chance of chasing down 351 to win. Taylor, who has seen less of the strike than his partner lately, has faced 62 balls in making 23, Voges 72 to get 30 on the board.

The ball has beaten properly the bat three or four times but the Notts pair have been leaving plenty, determined not to take risks. The wicket of Samit Patel gave Lancashire the upper hand just before lunch and Chapple strengthened their grip nine balls after the interval when he trapped Michael Lumb in front.

The hour and 25 minutes since then have been about staying alive for Notts but they need to keep it going until tea to stay in with a chance. Notts 143-4, needing 208 more

1.20pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Lancashire

Nottinghamshire need another 261 runs, Lancashire seven wickets. Therefore advantage Lancs at lunch. Not that the home side don't have the resources to pull it off. Michael Lumb, James Taylor, Adam Voges and Chris Read are all capable of building the fulcrum innings they will need. It is just that Lancashire equally have the wherewithal to bowl them out for a lot fewer than 351.

Glen Chapple and Kyle Hogg have both delivered excellent spells and now Simon Kerrigan, the left-arm spinner, is posing a different threat. A wicket with his fifth ball, which found the edge of Samit Patel's bat and prompted a well-taken catch by Paul Horton at slip, tipped the pre-lunch part of Nottinghamshire's chase in Lancashire's favour.

Until then, it was beginning to look very satisfactory for Nottinghamshire after Patel and Lumb had added 64 in 12 and a half overs, profiting largely from some expensive overs from Ajmal Shahzad and Luke Procter, which leaked runs at six apiece. Patel played one or two lovely shots off his hips, but Notts need more from him than nice little 20s or 30s. Notts 90-3 (25). 65 overs remain.

1.05pm: Mark Pennell at Kent v Hampshire

Kent go into the lunch interval in good shape having cantered to 37 without loss after only seven overs of their last day run-chase. Rob Key has reached 17, his opening partner Sam Northeast went one better as the hosts set about their pursuit of 304 from a minimum of 70 overs.

With two sessions to go and free admission, why not pop along?

12.50pm: Sahil Dutta at Sussex v Surrey

It was Rampswatch this morning at Horsham. He struggled horridly first thing, at one point reaching 9 off 70 balls. But after successive boundaries he rediscovered a smoothness that had been missing. 28 came from 31 deliveries before Monty Panesar trapped him sweeping. He looked surprised at the decision and dejected to walk off. As did the crowd who are enjoying, finally, a lovely, warm day.

12.35pm: Mark Pennell at Kent v Hampshire

As Sherlock Holmes might have put it, the game is afoot!

Nottinghamshire have declared, on 303 for eight, immediately after posting 300 for their third batting bonus point and a double forfeiture quickly followed leaving Kent with a minimum of 70 overs to chase 304 for a last-day win. Liam Dawson batted five hours and 21 minutes for his unbeaten 134 before his captain Jimmy Adams pulled the plug having agreed the run-chase deal with his Kent counterpart Rob Key.

After their first over, Kent have reached eight without loss, and need to jog along at 4.34 per over if they are to pull off their victory.

11.35am: Mark Pennell at Kent v Hampshire

Play is underway on time at The Nevill where there are no signs of collusion between the captains to make a game of this rain-ruined Division 2 clash.

Hampshire added 22 to their overnight total before losing their first wicket, while for their part, Kent took the new ball as soon as it became available in the third over of the day. Mark Davies and Charlie Shreck had a couple of overs each with it, before Shreck gave way to Matt Coles, who duly struck with his third ball of the day from the Railway End. With his score on 20, Dimitri Mascarenhas shouldered arms to an in-ducker and lost his off stump to make it 251 for seven. The weather is set fair and admission is free so, if you’re in the locality, why not pop along and swell the last day crowd.

11.30am: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Lancashire

They're playing here and the forecast is for a dry day under cloudy skies. Happily, the teams have reached a deal to contrive a finish and it needed only four overs of gentle nonsense and a couple of forfeits to set it up.

The upshot was that Nottinghamshire were given a minimum 90 overs to chase 351 to win, which appeared to give the visitors the better chance given conditions likely to help the ball swing.

Indeed, their prospects looked brighter still when Alex Hales edged Glen Chapple's fourth delivery and gave Gareth Cross a catch behind the wicket.

Chasing 350 is a tall order in any circumstances, although this pitch is effectively a second-day one rather than a fourth-day one, which gives Nottinghamshire slightly more of a chance, although you suspect it will need either Michael Lumb or Riki Wessels, the two batsmen currently in, to contribute substantially.

10am: Alex Winter without the umbrella

Yes indeed, if they're going to play cricket at all this week, it's going to be today. Dry, bright and the sunshine poking through the clouds too, so hoping this weather is replicated throughout the land and we can get plenty of play in today.

Five matches still in progress in the County Championship. They will try and get back out in just the first innings of the matches at Colwyn Bay, Tunbridge Wells, Northampton and Nottingham - just goes to show how bad the weather has been this week. In three of those games there is perhaps a slim chance of a contrived result; maybe not at Trent Bridge actually but you never know.

Where a result could come about is at Horsham where Surrey are really under pressure - 188 behind with nine wickets in hand in their second innings. They're going to have to bat all day to save the game. Get up to date with all yesterday's reports on our county homepage.

Test match today too, together with some quality rugby - Wales in Australia and England in South Africa - follow it all over on ESPNscrum but don't stray too far from the only County Championship weekend blog...

**STOP PRESS** Match abandoned at Colwyn Bay! What a disaster in the Principality...

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo