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5.05pm: Paul Edwards at Glamorgan v Kent
Glamorgan 390 Kent 150-6 (48 overs)
In a moment which pleased the home supporters greatly and depressed Kent’s followers considerably, Robert Croft had Sam Northeast lbw for 62 with what turned out to be the ball before tea. Fatally, Northeast was on the back foot when he should have been forward, the ball turned just enough and that was that. Croft is doing what he has done for many long years and it is enough to reduce Kent’s chances of making the tall score they need.
Events got worse for the home team shortly after tea as first Mike Powell and then Brendan Nash were snaffled by fine slip catches off Reed and Croft, both of them before the deficit had been reduced to under 250. This is the sort of passage of play which could pretty much extinguish Kent’s chances. Darren Stevens and Geraint Jones are together now; Kent need them to be there at the close. But they won't be! As I was posting this, Jones drove Croft straight back to the bowler and was out for five. The follow-on beckons...if Glamorgan enforce it.
4.45pm: Jon Culley at Derbyshire v Hampshire
A bleak, wet and windy afternoon made the County Ground sufficiently unpleasant for umpires Mark Benson and Steve Gale to call an early abandonment, with no play possible beyond lunch. It frustrated the Sky team but Wayne Madsen, the Derbyshire captain, was not altogether distraught.
"It was frustrating not to be able to bat on this afternoon but there were signs ball was starting to spin, which will bring our spinners into play for the next innings, and the weather is supposedly set fair for the next couple of days," Madsen said.
"We we will be in a good position if we can get to them and hopefully past them. The key here is to get through the first half-hour or hour without losing wickets but with the ball a little older it might assist us. It will be important to have Usman (Khawaja) there after the first half an hour because he is playing a fantastic innings."
Khawaja will resume on 71 not out, having been joined by Ross Whiteley. Derbyshire are 167-5, trailing by 105. They concede the Division Two lead to Yorkshire overnight but, as Madsen put it, "it's being in a good position to possibly get a result on Friday that matters."
3.30pm: Jon Culley at Derbyshire v Hampshire
It has been a frustrating afternoon for the Derbyshire batsmen, who have been confined to their dressing room since lunch because of persistent rain. While they have been off the field, Yorkshire displaced them at the top of Division Two by virtue of taking their second bowling point at Chelmsford.
At this stage, though, they will quite happily let Yorkshire take the divisional title, so long as Kent don't nip in and steal second place. Derbyshire are at least only 33 runs away from a first batting point, while Kent are some way short yet of the 241 they need to avoid the follow-on.
Rain a little lighter now (although not stopping) and the availability of floodlights means that light will not be an issue when we do get a restart.
3.20pm: Paul Edwards at Glamorgan v KentGlamorgan 390, Kent 110 for two (29 overs)
Following on from George’s conversation with Nigel Hilliard, and with reference to Lancashire, the county I have covered most frequently, I know of a number of supporters who do not much mind relegation on the endearing grounds that it’s a long time since they visited Glamorgan, and if Kent stay in Division Two, that’s another nice trip. From a different perspective you could argue that Sussex and Nottinghamshire’s admittedly brief stays in the second tier didn’t harm them very much.
Countering that, though, there are many supporters from whom the quality of First Divison cricket is all and they see Lancashire’s relegation as proof of the weaknesses in the team. They enjoy the media focus on the top tier and, to state the very obvious, you can’t be county champions in Division Two. (Yes, I know, being county champions is not something Lancashire have been very good at in their recent history.) As for the players, I reckon that for all the attractions of t20, the County Championship is the competition that matters most to the vast majority of them; relegation hurts their professional pride and that is how it should be.
Meanwhile, Bell-Drummond has gone lbw to Allenby (it’s that man again) for 33 and Kent have moved on to 110 for two. They have to bat and bat….
3.10pm: George Dobell at Essex v Yorkshire
Yorkshire have just gone top of the second division. We think - in the press box at Chelmsford - that it is the first time this season they have done so.
The second bowling bonus point came when Adam Wheater, allowing his impatience to get the better of him, and top-edged his attempted pull to mid on. With six wickets down, the follow-on mark of 163 remains an issue.
2.40pm: George Dobell at Essex v Yorkshire
Fascinating conversation with Essex chairman, Nigel Hilliard. Reflecting on the success of former Essex players (such as Chris Wright) who have left the club and gone on to do far better elsewhere, Hilliard underlined Essex’s excellent record of producing players and suggested that Wright, in particular, might still struggle to gain selection into the side. The way Hilliard put it, David Masters would still be preferred as an experienced bowler, while the likes of Reece Topley and Tymal Mills would still be preferred as long-term prospects. Graham Napier, he said, would still be preferred to Tony Palladino, too, who is enjoying a good season with Derbyshire.
The problem with that argument is that Essex remain a middle of the table Division Two side, while Wright and Varun Chopra have gone on to win the County Championship with Warwickshire. But while Hilliard accepted that there was a feel-good factor inherent in winning, he also made the surprising point that, when all is said and done, there is not that much incentive to win in English county cricket. After all, counties receive the same funding from the ECB whichever division they are in.
Meanwhile, on the pitch, Ryan ten Doeschate is batting nicely. He has not made more than 69 this Championship season, but here he has hit Rafiq for two sixes and five fours in his 74-ball half-century. He helped James Foster add 63 for the fifth wicket. Foster contributed just 16, took 48 balls to reach double figures and has just been beaten by one that may have nipped back.
1.40pm: George Dobell at Essex v Yorkshire
Joe Root may have hurt himself here. In diving to stop a firmly driven stroke from Ryan ten Doeschate, he was hit hard on the right forearm. The ball still bounced away to the boundary leaving Root in obvious pain. He is still out on the pitch, but he continues to nurse his arm.
1.25pm: Paul Edwards at Glamorgan v Kent
Glamorgan 390, Kent 55 for one (13 overs) Rain stopped play.
When the story of the Division Two title-race comes to be written, the role of one John Glover may merit a paragraph or two. In his 18th first-class match Glamorgan’s No10 made 55, his highest score, and put on 128 with the excellent Jim Allenby. He has now taken the wicket of Kent skipper Rob Key, who was lbw playing across the line for 14.
Daniel Bell-Drummond came in first wicket down and withstood a verbal assault from Graham Wagg before reaching the break on 17. Sam Northeast is 26 not out. Rain, however, has delayed the restart here. A very heavy shower lasting about ten minutes or so caused full covering to be placed on the square, and although conditions are brighter now, we await news of when a restart will be possible. Given the decent progress made by Yorkshire and Derbyshire this morning, the latest hold-up simply piles up the worries for Key, although his instructions to his top order must be simply to bat as long as possible, not an injunction he, himself, followed. As I write, there is bright sunshine at Cardiff and play will resume at 2.00 if there is no more rain. Five overs will be lost. And now it is drizzling again.
1.25pm: George Dobell at Essex v Yorkshire
If Yorkshire take maximum bowling bonus points - and it looks as if they will - Kent will need to beat Glamorgan to pip them to promotion. And, if Derbyshire fail to gain a second batting bonus point and Yorkshire win, Yorkshire will be promoted as second division champions. Oh, and Yorkshire will go up if they win. All clear?
Essex aren’t batting very well here. Mark Pettini went just before lunch, playing horribly across a straight one, while Tom Westley fell to Azeem Rafiq’s first ball, beaten on the outside edge over compensating for an off break. Right after lunch, Owais Shah fell to a horrid shot: he skipped down the pitch to Rafiq, who reacted by bowling a little wider, leaving Shah to prod at the ball as if offering catching practice. Adam Lyth, at slip, made no mistake.
1.05pm: George Dobell at Essex v Yorkshire
The Lord’s Taverners have just made an historic presentation of a minibus to The Edith Borthwick School (Braintree, Essex), a school for young people with special needs, on the outfield here at Chelmsford. It was the 1,000th minibus presented by The Taverners since they started the scheme in 1975.
They were hoping to make the presentation during the final Test at Lord’s, but concerns about the state of the outfield forced a rethink.
The Taverners reckon their donations are worth £26 million by today’s valuations and are rightly proud of the role they’ve played in providing mobility for youngsters with special needs and disability.
1pm: Jon Culley at Derbyshire v Hampshire
It has been a good morning for Derbyshire, who added 117 in 30 overs for the loss of two wickets, one of whom was the nightwatchman, Tony Palladino, who made profitable use of his 90 minutes at the crease by making 98 before he chipped a ball from Sean Ervine direct to the fielder at mid-on. Dan Redfern, who never looked comfortable, gave Ervine the second wicket when he edged one to second slip.
Derbyshire still have some work to do to achieve parity with Hampshire's 272 but Usman Khawaja is 71 not out at the start of the afternoon session. Derbyshire 167-5.
11.55am: Jon Culley at Derbyshire v Hampshire
So far, so good for Derbyshire, who survived the first half-hour Karl Krikken deemed to be so important and the half-hour after that, plus another 15 minutes, as I write. Tony Palladino has made a half-century for the fifth time in his career, as nightwatchman, in which role he made a hundred against Australia A earlier this year.
The former Essex seamer has made three in the Championship, including two for Derbyshire. He also has a first-class fifty for Namibia against Boland, when his teammates, like today, included one with the surname Groenewald, bizarrely. Derbyshire are 136-3 in the 39th over. Khawaja has a half-century as well now.
11.25am: Paul Edwards at Glamorgan v Kent
Glamorgan 390 for nine (112 overs)
Jim Allenby and John Glover continued to irritate Kent in general and Charlie Shreck in particular this morning (the latter accomplishment is not terribly difficult). They took their ninth-wicket partnership to 128, beating their county's record against these opponents, which was only established this year by Dean Cosker and Mark Wallace at Canterbury. Then Glover, who had made a career-best 55, edged Coles to Tredwell and Kent got their third bowling bonus point with eight balls to spare. The wicket is playing well and this is Glamorgan’s second-highest total of the season. Rob Key will be wondering how he might to contrive to win this game. Scoring 600 and trying to win by an innings probably. Easier said than done.
All of which is making Kent’s task very much more difficult on a day which started promptly despite overnight rain. If anything the showers made the walk through Bute Park this morning even more glorious and the wonderful variety of trees merits further investigation. The incipience of autumn was very plain.
As I write, Shreck is trying to rough up last man Mike Reed - but Reed is giving him the runaround.
11.25am: George Dobell at Essex v Yorkshire
Graham Napier has finished with five wickets - the seventh five-wicket haul of his career and the second of his season - having beaten Patterson’s heave with a slower ball. Yorkshire’s final total of 312 is probably just about par. But the fact that Kent claimed their full quota of bowling bonus points with eight balls to spare underlines the impression that the promotion race remains open.
11am: George Dobell at Essex v Yorkshire
Morning from Chelmsford.
There was a roar of relief and joy here just now when Yorkshire achieved their third batting bonus point. It proved to be a bit of a struggle with Azeem Rafiq falling on 299 leaving the 10th-wicket pair to scrap for the extra run. It took another 13 deliveries to reach it, but that extra point could yet prove vital.
Rafiq registered his first half-century of the season - 120 balls, just the one four - before he fell to an outside edge off the deserving Graham Napier as he attempted a half-hearted drive. It is only the second time Rafiq has passed 50 in his first-class career.
Steven Patterson cut his first ball - a friendly long-hop from Tom Craddock - for four and then edged a decent ball from Reece Topley between second slip and gully for four more.
10.30am: Jon Culley at Derbyshire v Hampshire
Television coverage on Sky should probably be taken as a compliment by Derbyshire, whose matches at the business end of the season don't normally attract much interest from anyone, sadly. But coach Karl Krikken conceded that the national spotlight is adding an extra element to the pressure already on his side as they try to finish the job of winning promotion.
"We try to prepare just the same but with the cameras and all the attention it is totally different," he said last night. "We try to keep the environment in the dressing room and out there the same and keep it very simple."
Krikken admitted, as Derbyshire prepared to resume at 50-3, that a third wicket lost yesterday evening tipped the balance of the opening day slightly in Hampshire's favour. "If we had been two down, I think we would have been fairly happy really," he said. ""Ultimately, we're pleased we're still in it and if we can get through the first half hour in the morning, it's usually a batting paradise against the older ball. This is a massive day for us. Whoever gets the lead in the game has a stranglehold."
There is rain in the area today but none so far in Derby.
10am: Alan Gardner pushes the button
Welcome back, pilgrims. These are nervy times for Derbyshire, who hold the box seat in the Division Two promotion race but saw a promising start against Hampshire metamorphose into a tricky proposition at the start of day two, in part due to James Vince's timely century.
You can find reports on the rest of yesterday's games, including Abdur Rehman's nine-for at Taunton, on our county page. Now, batten down the hatches because it's only going to get more stormy from here on in. As ever, feel free to let your nerves do the jangling below the line ...
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