September 14, 2012

LV= County Championship, Friday September 14

3pm: Jon Culley at Derbyshire v Hampshire

3pm: Jon Culley at Derbyshire v Hampshire

Derbyshire are Division Two champions, winning by six wickets with Usman Khawaja 72 not out and man of the moment Ross Whiteley 38 not out, having hit five sixes, winning it with a slog sweep for six off Liam Dawson.

2.15pm: Jon Culley at Derbyshire v Hampshire

Derbyshire's momentous day has attracted a fairly healthy crowd to the County Ground, where nails would be being bitten were the scoreboard not rolling round at enough of a lick to suggest that the win Derbyshire need to be sure of clinching the title is only a matter of time.

Three wickets have fallen in the chase for 196 to win but Usman Khawaja has taken every opportunity that has come his way in a 51-ball half century that came up with his seventh four. He has also lofted Liam Dawson for six over long-on.

Another four followed and at 130-3, they need only 66 more to cut short Yorkshire's celebrations in Chelmsford. Not sure where the trophy is now but presumably on the way here.

2.05pm: George Dobell at Essex v Yorkshire

Yorkshire have won by 239 runs here. The last four wickets fell for 13 runs in 21 balls, with Rafiq ending with career-best figures in an innings and a match and Pattenson taking the final two wickets in successive balls. It is the first time Yorkshire have won three Championship games in a row since 2005.

Now all they can do is wait. If Derbyshire fail to win, Yorkshire will be promoted as Division Two champions.

1.45pm: George Dobell at Essex v Yorkshire

Yorkshire are rushing towards victory here with the wickets of Essex captain, James Foster, Adam Wheater and Graham Naiper. Playing forward to the ever impressive Rafiq, Foster popped a catch off bat and pad to Phil Jaques at short-leg before Wheater was caught behind as he attempted a reverse sweep - an odd choice of shot in the circumstances - and Napier prodded to short-leg. Rafiq, bowling with a six-three legside field and gaining impressive turn, has now taken eight wickets in the match to add to his 128 runs. This the first five-for of his first-class career.

Essex have taken a blow off the field, too. Adam Wheater has just cleared the long-on boundary at the River End where a fellow sitting with his wife, in attempting to catch the ball, managed only to deflect it on to her head. I can assure you there was no laughter whatsoever in the Press Box. The woman is having a check-up in the medical centre, but seems in pretty good spirits. Well, pretty good for a woman who has just been hit on the head by a hard ball.

12.40pm: Jon Culley at Derbyshire v Hampshire

Derbyshire were looking very well set until a couple of overs ago but 45-0 has become 45-2 after David Griffiths found the edge of Paul Borrington's bat and Jimmy Adams took a good catch at first slip and then Wayne Madsen was bowled reaching forward for a ball from Liam Dawson that zipped through and bowled him off his thigh pad. Lunch now. Another 151 to get with 64 overs left. Covers on for the moment. A few dark clouds about.

11.55am: George Dobell at Essex v Yorkshire

By the way, do please keep the season awards coming. I intend to nick the best of them and pass them off as my own next week.

11.55am: George Dobell at Essex v Yorkshire

If Yorkshire win this - and unless the weather intervenes, they surely will - they will have won three championship games in a row for the first time since 2005.

They are well on the way to victory here after two wickets in three balls. A brilliant catch from Gary Ballance - diving swiftly to his right at leg slip to cling on to a low chance - ended Mark Pettini’s season after the batsman glanced a sharply turning off-break off his hips, before Ryan ten Doeschate attempted an ambitious pull to his second ball and lobbed a catch to mid-on.

11.45am: Jon Culley at Derbyshire v Hampshire

Derbyshire have one remaining task to take the Division Two title for 2012, which is to score 196 to win from a minimum of 77 overs after Hampshire were bowled out for 198.

Hampshire added 56 to their overnight scored in 62 minutes. The last four wickets fell in 36 balls, the last two in four. Ross Whiteley, 24 yesterday, continued his outstanding performance in this match by adding a fine, diving catch at cover to see off last man David Griffiths to his running out of Bilal Shafayat, his 57 not out and his two wickets.

11.35am: George Dobell at Essex v Yorkshire

Morning from Chelmsford.

It’s quite dark here so both the weather and Derbyshire may yet conspire to keep Yorkshire from the top of the table, but that’s a bit of a detail. The fact is that Yorkshire will be in Division One next season. Going up as champions is a bonus. Yorkshire have only dismissed the nightwatchman, Tom Craddock, so far today. He poked on to point as if providing catching practise.

Robert Brook - the eminent statistician and co-founder of the association of cricket statisticians (ACS) - tells me that Nottinghamshire’s second innings total of 469-8 is the largest total Warwickshire have conceded that did not contain a century.

As it’s the last day of out county blog, some thank-yous are also in order. Thanks to everyone who has followed or commented and to all those who have contributed. Hopefully this is just the start of our improved county coverage and we can extend it significantly in future years. The one thing it has shown is that there are many people out there with a passion for the county game. We’re grateful, too, for the excellent quality of many of the comments, too. Thanks and winter well.

11.30am: Jon Culley at Derbyshire v Hampshire

The one over bowled by very occasional off-spinner Michael Carberry during Derbyshire's innings yesterday might have appeared to be a moment of randomness on the part of Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams. In fact, it may be part of a cunning plan.

With Dimitri Mascarenhas injured and Danny Briggs already in Sri Lanka, Hampshire are likely to have to press Carberry into service in tomorrow's CB40 final at Lord's, at least in a back-up capacity, alongside Simon Katich, to supplement the efforts of Liam Dawson in the spin-bowling department.

Carberry bowled one over and stunned Tom Poynton, who was caught at leg slip. It was the 14th first-class wicket of his career. He has taken five in List A games, although two of those have been this season.

Hampshire are hoping Mascarenhas, who struggled through Twenty20 finals day on painkillers despite a torn tendon, will be fit for the Champions League in October. Bilal Shafayat, incidentally, has been named in the squad for that competition, even though he is still seeking a contract for next season.

The former Nottinghamshire batsman has made a good case for getting one in the second innings here with a carefully constructed 81, although it has just ended rather farcically -- run out after setting off for an improbable single to midwicket and turning back too late as Ross Whiteley swooped.

With Chris Wood gone to a superb catch by Paul Borrington at mid-off, Hampshire are 187-8, leading by 184. Borrington dropped what appeared to be a sitter offered by David Balcombe, denying Wes Durston another wicket, although it may have swirled in the wind, in his defence.

10.15am: The final day

So here we are, the final day of the 2012 County Championship. It hasn’t quite been the thriller of the previous two years, but we go into today with Derbyshire and Yorkshire vying for the Division Two title after both were promoted yesterday after Kent lost.

Derbyshire’s rise back to Division One is a terrific story, while Jason Gillespie has brought real steel to the Yorkshire team which is an excellent blend of youth and experience.

At this time of the year it’s also customary to hand out a few awards. There are the obvious ones like batsman of the year, bowler of the year etc but we’ll leave you all to come up with few off-beat ideas. Have your say below.

We hope you’ve enjoyed County Cricket Live this season. And, don’t worry, before you know it we’ll be in April again.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo