Ambrose bats Warwickshire within sight of title

Rather like someone without an invitation sitting at home while a party rages down the road, the concluding round of the County Championship's Second Division got underway with little to play for and almost no media attention.
The only remaining issue at the start of the day was whether Warwickshire could secure the four points needed to pip Worcestershire to the title. They narrowed the gap as they closed on 270 for 7 against Glamorgan at Edgbaston, Tim Ambrose leading the way with an unbeaten 86 after they lost early wickets. Both openers fell to Adam Shantry in conditions suited to his swing bowling, and after a recovery Tony Frost and Jonathan Trott followed either side of lunch as the batsmen struggled on a green pitch. But from 86 for 4, Ambrose and Jim Troughton added 101 as the sun came out, only for David Harrison to give the visitors renewed hope with a double strike either side of tea. Neil Carter ensured there were no further setbacks, making 42 not out in a stand of 58 with Ambrose before bad light brought an early finish.

Andrew Strauss followed his hundred last week with another, ending a mediocre summer with a bang, as Middlesex cruised to 291 for 1 against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road. If Nicky Boje hoped to exploit late-season moisture when he stuck Middlesex in, his plan backfired spectacularly but he wasn't helped when Billy Godleman was dropped before he had scored. Middlesex's openers saw off the new ball and posted a century stand, only for Godleman to overbalance attempting to sweep Monty Panesar. That was Northamptonshire's last success as Strauss and Owais Shah cut loose in a second-wicket stand of 190. Strauss was on 164, 13 short of his career best, when the umpires took the players from the field shortly after tea.

Leicestershire were bowled into a good position by Garnett Kruger whose 5 for 51 helped dismiss Derbyshire for 194 at Grace Road. In reply, the home side had reached 31 for 1 when bad light stopped play with more than an hour remaining. Kruger got help from an uneven pitch as Derbyshire won the toss and lost two wickets in the first three overs, and from thereon they always struggled. To add to Derbyshire's problems, legspinner Mark Dawson broke a finger when struck by a lifter from Kruger and is unlikely to feature again in the game.

Gloucestershire's hopes of avoiding ending the season without a win faded as Essex laid a solid platform at Bristol, closing on 318 for 5 with Varun Chopra scoring his first hundred since his debut over two years ago. Chopra made 155 before being trapped leg-before by Steve Kirby with the new ball shortly before the close. Essex were made to work hard in the morning after choosing to bat, Anthony Ireland striking twice, but as the day wore on batting became easier and the bowlers wilted. As was the case across the country, bad light forced an early finish.

Gloucs 3rd innings Partnerships

1st3Kadeer AliWTS Porterfield
2nd0Kadeer AliHJH Marshall
3rd43Kadeer AliRJ Woodman
4th138CG TaylorKadeer Ali
5th1CG TaylorDO Brown
6th85SD SnellDO Brown
7th70RKJ DawsonSD Snell
8th30J LewisSD Snell
9th15SP KirbySD Snell