County cricket: Essex v Hampshire, Yorkshire v Leicestershire plus rain – live

Key events

Middlesex and Kent locked in an apparent battle to steal the last relegation spot. Middx 99-7 against Warwickshire; Somerset 127-1 against Kent, at four an over. Kent are onto their fifth bowler already.

Ben Raine, broad of backside and shoulder, trots in. Roderick drives his second ball for four. A big lbw shout to his last. And Worcestershire survive the first over of the day. At the Diglis End, Fernando gives the ball a thorough polish on his trouser leg.

A sobering interview with Kemar Roach on the future of Test cricket.

As the grass gets a final trim, an announcement for the Christmas Carvery at New Road. Just three months away.

Worcestershire are the unlucky losers of the toss. Play to start in ten mins.

Worcestershire’s promotions since two Divisions came into fruition: 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2017,

A wicket at Grace Road! Lyth the man to go to Scott Currie. Yorks 58-1.

Right in front of the press box, Vishwa Fernando has just been given his Durham cap.

Play will start here at New Road at 3.45 with 36 overs to be attempted. Full physical jerks in process now: stretches, football, sidesteps, medicine balls.

Someone spots shadows on the grass where the players are knocking up with a football.

Fifty for Tom Lammonby!

At a quick trip-trap: 59 balls. He’s lost Abell, a wicket for Bhuiyan, for 20. Somerset 75-1.

And at Grace Road, Lyth and Bean looking confident against some wayward Leicestershire bowling. 41-0.

The rain has now reached Chelmsford, where they’ve taken an early tea with Essex 140-5. Matthew Critchley 25 not out. Tea at Lord’s too: 74-5. And the Oval, Northants 82-2.

Play abandoned for the day at Derby

The rain ruins any chances for Sussex to make any amends .

This is the most promising things have looked for a while at New Road. Nearly all the covers off, and the umpires due to inspect at 3pm. Pity the poor captain who loses the toss. Five hardy souls have just parked themselves on the top row of the Basil D’Oliveira stand.

Another game enters the fray: Yorkshire are having a bat at Grace Road after Leicestershire won the toss and sent them in. Currently 9-0.

Gary Naylor’s always very readable and useful round-up of events:

Lancs coach Mark Chilton on Tom Hartley, called up for England’s ODI matches against Ireland to replace the injured Craig Overton. Hartley has only played three List A games, but a fistful of T20s.

“One of our key objectives is to try and improve players and get them to a level where they get picked for international and franchise teams. It’s really good reward for his efforts and we’re delighted for him.

“He made an impact in the white ball game at the start of his Lancashire career, but he’s always had a real ambition to keep developing his red ball cricket, and he’s continually worked on that.

“What I’ve seen from Tom is gradual improvement across his whole game.

“He’s a tall spinner and his qualities in short format cricket are being able to bowl the ball into the pitch, hit the top of the stumps a lot, and cramp batters for room (to play their shots).

“In red ball cricket it’s about adding the subtleties and variations of pace and flight into his style. He’s not quite a traditional up-and-down type of spinner, because he’s coming from a good height and if he can get some drift and drop on the ball, and a few more revs, that’s what he’s continually working on with the coaches.

“The other aspect of his game is his batting and to see where he is now, again he’s made continual gradual improvement and that’s what we are trying to do, create an environment where players carry on getting better and see how far they can go.”

The indefatigable ground staff pick up the damp covers again at New Road, skies slightly more hopeful, possibly, in a good light. Before today, the word was that the pitch would “do a bit”. We’ll have to wait and see if that holds. A further inspection at three o’clock.

Lammonby and Abell whizzing along at Taunton, at almost six an over. Would it be awful to suppose that it won’t last for long? Kent should be energised by the scorecard from Lord’s – Middlesex 74-5.

James Vince swallows an edge from Dan Lawrence, in his penultimate game for Essex. Some turn from Dawson, which is good news for Hampshire, but also Essex, with Harmer lurking in the cupboard. Essex 96-4.

And if anyone is passing New Road, the PA announcer has just told the bucket seats that the ladies pavilion with its delicious cakes will be open at 2.30.

Play now only at Chelmsford and Taunton – where Kent have won the toss and inserted Somerset. Good luck to the south-west boys on a emerald square.

Fifty and out for Tom Westley, as he nudges Kyle Abbot to James Vince. Hants 82-3.

At Chelmsford, Tom Westley and Dan Lawrence going nicely, 77-2, as the covers come back on at New Road.

Covers coming off at New Road, and the Durham players are out on the grass with a football. A man walks past a couple of old friends, “I thought I was the only mad one.” “Not there are half a dozen of us.”

Play abandoned for the day at Old Trafford

Relentless rain.

I love New Road. Poppies and marigolds (I think) growing wild under the scoreboard, hawthorn berries for the birds, a car parking space for the tea ladies, benches by the pear tree.

Anorak zipped up, I’m going to do a round of a damp New Road. Back shortly.

Lunchtime scores


Chelmsford: Essex 69-2 v Hampshire

Old Trafford: Lancashire v Nottinghamshire start delayed

Lord’s: Middlesex 65-5 v Warwickshire

Taunton: Somerset v Kent start delayed

The Oval: Surrey v Northamptonshire 72-2


The County Ground: Derbyshire v Sussex start delayed

Grace Road: Leicestershire v Yorkshire start delayed

New Road: Worcestershire v Durham start delayed

And as warm dinner arrives in the press box, news from Lord’s where Middlesex are now 56 for five. Time for some de Caires magic with the bat to go with his riches with the ball.

A nice rainy-day read by Ali on CCLive favourite, and England call-up, Sam Hain:

And the New Road public address tells us that the bridge has actually reopened, unexploded ordinance somehow dealt with. On the pitch, the ground staff stand and look at the covers.

And things are looking even gloomier for Middlesex at Lord’s, where Ryan Higgins has heard the tumble of bails behind his boots. Middx 54-4.

And news reaches the press box that the police have closed off the bridge over the Severn leading to New Road because of an unexploded World War Two device.

A second wicket at The Oval, Procter pushes at a bouncy one and is snaffled at second slip by Jamie Overton (back on the pitch). Super bowling by Tom Lawes. Quite the challenge for Karun Nair wandering in at No.4. Northants 51-2.

Middlesex’s top order going through the customary motions: 37-3. A wicket each for Chris Rushworth, Oliver Hannon-Dalby and Craig Miles, Stoneman, Robson and Davies back in their tracksuits.

At The Oval, Jamie Overton has hobbled off injured, over completed by Rory Burns. Don’t give up the day job Rory. Northants, rather surprisingly, have only lost one wicket. Emilio Gay caught off Jordan Clark for 16. Northants 48-1.

News from Grace Road, where they will toss at 12.15 and take lunch. Play will/should/might start at 12.55 and there is free entry to celebrate Leicester’s win the in One-day trophy. And if you want a photo of the cup, make your way to the club shop.

Promotion-wise: Leicestershire’s hopes will be dashed, and Worcestershire will go up, if Worcestershire beat Durham, claim at least two bonus points, and claim three more points in total than Leicestershire. I think (please advise if I’m wrong) that in the last 20 years, Worcestershire have been promoted six times.

They’re slowly dragging the covers off at New Road. I’m going to quickly write something up for tomorrow while keeping an eye on things at The Oval, Lord’s and Chelmsford. Do keep chatting below the line as well.

Rain now at Chelmsford, and the little men scurry back into the weather house.

Northants having a torrid time against Kemar Roach at The Oval, but are still intact, 17-0. Surrey captain Rory Burns is now shorn after cutting his ponytail off for charity.

Saudi bosses look to sugar-coat their new tournament with the nicest men in English cricket:

EXC: England stars Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes held talks with Saudi chiefs about being ambassadors for Kingdom’s new T20 competition.

More England players set to be approached @MailSport

— Isaan Khan (@IsaanKhan_) September 18, 2023

An early wicket, and it is Sir Alastair – could it be, could it be his penultimate game – bowled for a three ball duck. Essex 6-1.

Make that three, on at Lord’s as well, where Middlesex haven’t yet lost a wicket.

No play anywhere in fact, except in the big two Division One games, at The Oval and Chelmsford.

It’s now raining at New Road, the leaves on the old horse chestnut yellowing by the hospitality tent.

Delays, delays … at New Road, Old Trafford, the County Ground and Grace Road.

The lanterns were lit crossing the bridge to New Road, which wasn’t a great sign. Sure enough the covers are on and the wind screams over the ground.

Weather watch


Cloud and rain quickly spreading in from the west through the morning, though after a spell of rain, drier with some bright spells for southern parts of the UK. Windy with a risk of coastal gales. Met Office.

Background to Sussex’s promotion-ending penalty points:



Chelmsford: Essex v Hampshire

Old Trafford: Lancashire v Nottinghamshire

Lord’s: Middlesex v Warwickshire

Taunton: Somerset v Kent

The Oval: Surrey v Northamptonshire


The County Ground: Derbyshire v Sussex

Grace Road: Leicestershire v Yorkshire

New Road: Worcestershire v Durham


Good morning! The bells have been peeling damply over New Road this morning, the roof tops wet, the hills pulling on their cobweb cardigans through the mist. Welcome to mid-September and the penultimate round of this year’s County Championship, with every team on the field except Glamorgan and Gloucestershire.

I’m at New Road today, to watch what seems likely to be the two clubs promoted to Division One next season. Second-placed Worcestershire’s hopes look sunnier thanks to Sussex being landed with an automatic 12-point deduction after picking up four fixed-penalties in the season. Jack Carlson (level two penalty breach) and Tom Haines (level one penalty breach) have both been dropped by Sussex for today’s match against Derbyshire, while Cheteshwar Pujara receives an automatic one-match suspension as the captain on the field. Ari Karvelas has also been withdrawn, pending an investigation. A sad end to what has been an encouraging season at Hove, and which leaves them down in fifth place, 30 points behind Worcestershire.

Durham need just five points at New Road to secure the Division Two title, while Leicestershire, new magnificent one-day cup Champions, can keep the pressure on Worcestershire if they can turn over Yorkshire at Grace Road.

In Division One, Surrey can win the title this round if they turn over cellar dwellers Northamptonshire and Essex lose against Hampshire; while Northants fate will be sealed if either Middlesex or Kent – divided by just two points in eighth and ninth – win. Relegation, promotion, a chance for the title -what more could you ask for? Play starts at 10.30am. Don’t forget your anorak.


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