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Recent Match Report – Sussex vs Gloucestershire, County Championship Division Two, 1st Innings

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Gloucestershire 146 for 3 (Dent 59, Roderick 51*) trail Sussex 351 for 8 dec by 205 runs

Gloucestershire pair Chris Dent and Gareth Roderick both made half-centuries between the showers but their Specsavers County Championship match against Sussex is heading towards a draw.

Only 49 overs in two sessions were possible on the third day at Arundel Castle, with Gloucestershire reaching 146 for 3 in reply to Sussex’s 351 for 8. With just a day left a stalemate looks certain, which would at least keep Sussex in the top three promotion places in Division Two.

Umpires Ian Blackwell and Neil Bainton took the players off again at 5pm because of light drizzle and play was abandoned at 5.40pm. So far, 123 overs have been lost to rain during the match.

Dent made 851 runs and was Gloucestershire’s leading run scorer in the Championship last season but his 59 on a slow pitch was only his second half-century of the season.

After the early loss of Miles Hammond, Dent shared stands of 60 with James Bracey and Roderick, who was unbeaten on 51 when the rain returned an hour after play had resumed at 4pm following a three-hour delay.

Dent will have been disappointed with his dismissal. On a slow pitch he had survived one escape when he was dropped at third slip by Luke Wells off Ollie Robinson. He had moved onto 59 when he chased a ball from Chris Jordan down the leg side and Sussex wicketkeeper Ben Brown dived to his right to pull off a good catch. Dent faced 141 balls and hit eight fours.

Roderick did the bulk of the scoring in the hour after the resumption and his 88-ball half-century included six boundaries.

Earlier, Sussex had declared on their overnight score of 351 for 8 after rain had wiped out two sessions on the second day. Robinson was a handful with the new ball and was rewarded in his second over when he moved one away from Hammond who edged to third slip where Danny Briggs took a good catch.

Robinson’s progress was being monitored by England scout Geoff Arnold, with a view to a possible call-up for England Lions’ match against Australia A next month.

He would have been celebrating again in his second spell had Wells held on when Dent was on 46. Instead, David Wiese took the second wicket when Bracey, who had played well for his 21, chased a wide delivery and slapped it into Briggs’s hands at point.



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Recent Match Report – Kent vs Somerset, Twenty20 Cup (England), South Group

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There was a time not so long ago when Kent would have virtually lost this match before they started such was their dearth of key batting personnel. But signs are growing that these days Kent cricket is made of sterner stuff. They posted a reasonably competitive score and then delighted in the sight of Imran Qayyum, their left-arm spinner, having the night of his life.

Somerset’s pursuit of 166 for victory was abruptly stilled in a remarkable sequence in which they lost six wickets for 20 runs in 25 balls and Qayyum was involved in all of them with five wickets and a run out. His return of 5 for 21 was a reward for his perseverance in a career where he failed to make the grade with three counties and only made his debut for Kent at 23.

Somerset are second in the Championship, won the Royal London Cup, and took their opening match in the Blast with a confident run chase against Glamorgan in Cardiff. There has even been talk of a treble. But when they succumbed to a 41-run defeat it represented their 11th successive loss in T20 at Canterbury. Whatever it is, it can’t be the noise of the crowd; they are a bit guilty cheering and hollering in Kent.

Qayyum showed good changes of pace on a wicket offering a little turn. His first wicket silenced the batsman who seemed most capable of strutting to victory – the highly-talented and long-limbed Tom Banton out for 28 when he holed out at long off for 28. There were two wickets in his second over: Peter Trego sweeping to deep backward square where Jordan Cox, an 18-year-old debutant, held a slick catch, diving forward, and produced a quicker, flatter one to bowl James Hildreth.

The run out of Tom Lammonby, another debutant, followed in the next over when Lammonby pushed the ball gently into the leg side, but did not share the enthusiasm of his captain, Tom Abell for a second run, Qayyum dashing from backward square to slide and return the ball to the wicketkeeper.

Before Somerset could digest the consequences of that there were two more wickets in the spinner’s next over as Roelof van der Merwe fell to a leading edge and Abell chopped a ball down by his feet and Ollie Robinson stumped him with alacrity.

With Somerset 74 for 7 after 11, the match was as good as won, but the Overton twins cobbled together a decent response before their partnership of 31 ended in the sort of comical fashion that might have come straight out of the script of Stan and Ollie. It will certainly go straight into Overton folklore.

The malarkey began when Mohammad Nabi held an excellent catch at deep midwicket, balancing balletically on his right foot a tiny distance from the rope. The only question for the umpires was whether he had touched the rope (he hadn’t), which in other words meant it was either six or out. That salient fact seemed lost on the Overtons. One of them imagined a chance to keep running, the other responded enthusiastically to the idea and they dashed three of the more pointless runs in cricket history while everybody else stood around and awaited the TV replays.

Qayyum had been the star performer, but there is pace, too, in this Kent attack in the presence of Adam Milne and Hardus Viljoen and that will serve them well. Viljoen took the vital wicket of Pakistan’s Babar Azam.

The Wurzels, Somerset’s “Scrumpy and Western” band, had penned a 30-second ditty to mark the arrival of Azam in the West Country. “With a gurt big strick I’ll knock ’em down,” the lyrcis predicted. It didn’t pan out like that: he made 7, showing one moment of quality when he whipped Hardus Viljoen over mid-on before the next ball cleaned him up like a Combine Harvester rushing through a wheat field.

Injuries had cut deep into Kent’s batting resources. The captain, Sam Billings, will be out for another fortnight after dislocating his shoulder in April, the regular stand-in captain, Joe Denly, was away on a training weekend with the England Test squad ahead of the Ireland Test and Heino Kuhn, who had been identified as the next captain in line, was absent because of concussion protocols having been hit in the neck by Fidel Edwards during last week’s Championship draw with Hampshire.

But Daniel Bell-Drummond, captain No. 4, was blessed by a skilful and confident T20 debut by Robinson, who struck 53 from 49 balls and, at 20, looked entirely at home until he became one of three victims to van der Merwe. When Billings returns, it will not immediately be to take the gloves, so Robinson has the chance to prosper and his fluent straight six against Jerome Taylor was one of the shots of the night.

Alongside him in a third-wicket stand of 61 in 37 balls, Nabi made light of Kent’s batting losses. He relished his opportunity to bat at No 4, including four sixes in his 34. Max Waller got him, the ball after he had been launched into the pavilion, but he had settled Kent into the contest. Twenty runs light was the common assumption, but Qayyum changed that in a matter of minutes.



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Recent Match Report – Derbyshire vs Yorkshire, Twenty20 Cup (England), North Group

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Derbyshire 166 for 5 (Godleman 70*) beat Yorkshire 164 for 8 (Thompson 50, Watt 4-19) by five wickets

Yorkshire’s David Willey runs in to bowl to Billy Godleman. The ball is speared down leg side and races away for five wides. On the instant a deep-throated cheer comes up from most of the supporters who ring Queen’s Park. Chesterfield’s festival, once threatened, always cherished, has ended in a five-wicket victory for the home side over one of their traditional rivals.

The atmosphere is festal; the air, almost tropical earlier in the day, has freshened towards evening. A jazz band will play in the beer tent later and you can be assured plenty of ale will be supped to celebrate Derbyshire beginning their Vitality Blast campaign with a win. Godleman, whose unbeaten 70 has anchored his side’s innings, is applauded back to the pavilion. Home supporters are grateful their side had five balls to spare. English cricket has had enough of ties.

Visiting supporters rightly bemoan the absence of Matthew Fisher who has had to leave the field in the third over of Derbyshire’s innings with a dislocated right shoulder. Fisher’s left-arm pace bowling might have made 164 an even more competitive total. As it is, Yorkshire have had to bowl 11 overs of spin, not necessarily a problem on a used pitch, but a limitation on Tom Kohler-Cadmore’s options. None of which worries the children who are playing games on other used wickets or the supporters enjoying the sun and wondering if Dominic Cork’s arrival as T20 coach will help their side reach their first T20 Finals Day.

Yet Cork is not the first man to be interviewed when the players emerge from the pavilion and nor does Godleman win the man of the match award. That honour falls to Mark Watt, a 22-year-old slow left-armer from Edinburgh, whose four wickets for 19 runs ensured Yorkshire’s array of T20 hitters never launched an uninhibited assault on the shorter boundaries around the tree-lined ground.

“Meet George Stephenson” suggested one flyer outside the restaurant at Queen’s Park this lunchtime. “Meet a medieval surgeon,” urged another as the custodians of Chesterfield’s museum placed even greater faith in the power of time travel or the credulousness of the town’s tourists. We will never know how many of the five-and-a-half thousand souls who crammed into one of England most famous outgrounds took the tourist board up on their offers. But to judge from the folk queueing up for the post-match signing session quite a few people were interested in meeting Watt.

One could see their point. Victories over Yorkshire are treasured occasions in these parts and Watt’s wickets on his Derbyshire debut did more than anything to set up his side’s triumph. Nor were Watt’s victims death-over donations. Brought into the attack in the sixth over from the Pavilion End, he removed Willey, Harry Brook, Gary Ballance and Nicholas Pooran to leave Yorkshire on 77 for 6 after 11.3 overs of their innings.

At that point Watt’s accuracy and subtle changes of length and pace looked to have done enough to ensure his team would be chasing a low total. Ballance, bowled when reverse-sweeping, and Pooran, hitting the seventh ball of his Yorkshire career straight to long-off, had given him all the assistance he needed.

But the visitors were rescued by Jordan Thompson, whose maiden first-team fifty included five crowd-scattering sixes. Thompson put on 66 in less than seven overs with Jonny Tattersall before he skied Logan van Beek to wicketkeeper Daryn Smit in the penultimate over. Tattersall’s canny 39 off 31 balls and Fisher’s big six in the final over saw Yorkshire to 164, a plainly defendable total on a used pitch. Fisher’s day, however, was about to get very much worse when he dived to prevent a boundary and stood up clutching his shoulder.

In time, of course, so did Yorkshire’s, although Dom Bess’s removal of Luis Reece and Wayne Madsen, both leg before wicket, kept the result in doubt. Yet at no point in Derbyshire’s innings did they lose control of their pursuit and scoring eight runs an over is a familiar task for batsmen as experienced as Godleman. Leus du Plooy helped when he got inside the line of Bess’s final over and whacked two sixes to the right of the Norway maple. Du Plooy was caught at short third man off Thompson for 30 but Matthew Critchley maintained the momentum towards what is Derbyshire’s fifth successive T20 win over Yorkshire.

And maybe visiting supporters sporting their Leeds and Sheffield United shirts should not have been too surprised. Yorkshire have not won a T20 game at Chesterfield since 2014 and home fans clearly arrived ready to drink deeply whatever the outcome. Even the school bus was a bar. Well, it is the end of term.



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Recent Match Report – England Women vs Australia Women Only Test 2019

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England Women 199 for 6 (Jones 64, Sciver 62*) trail Australia Women 420 for 9 dec (Mooney 51) by 221 runs

Maiden Test fifties from Amy Jones and Nat Sciver staved off the threat of England being run through on the third afternoon in Taunton, but the prospect of Australia retaining the Ashes just past the midpoint of the series moved a step closer to reality. Needing the win to reduce the points deficit before three T20Is, England were never able to force the pace and limped to the close still more than 200 runs in arrears on first innings.

Having declared shortly before lunch and immediately seen Ellyse Perry dispatch Tammy Beaumont – bowled neck and crop by the 13th ball of the innings – Australia subsequently strengthened their grip on the contest during two hard-fought sessions. Sophie Molineux bowled unstintingly on debut to claim 3 for 71, and although Sciver remained unbeaten England’s hopes of mounting a victory push had all but gone.

Australia had to work hard for their gains on a still-docile surface, but were able to glance at a scoreboard hugely in their favour whenever they needed pepping up. Although Jones and Heather Knight played positively to add 79 in 21.1 overs for the second wicket, England thereafter opted for survival in preference to do-or-die heroics.

At 132 for 5, there seemed a possibility of England being asked to follow on before the day was out. Sciver and Katherine Brunt combined for a dogged 57-run stand that pushed the score towards respectability but Ashleigh Gardner broke through in the final hour, as Brunt saw the ball ricochet back into her stumps via an inside edge.

Since winning the toss and negotiating safe passage through the first day, Australia have seemed the only team likely to push for a win. Their chances on the final day may rest with the second new ball, and the possibility of finishing England off quickly and then being able to dictate terms.

While there had been some turn on offer for England’s spinners, none was able to harness conditions as effectively as Molineux. Her first wicket in Tests was that of Knight, trapped plumb in front attempting to sweep, and she was then given a gift when Jones undid nearly three hours of hard work by lofting straight to mid-off.

Jones had played assertively, crunching 12 fours in her 140-ball stay at the crease. Aside from her dismissal, her only error of judgement came when attempting to steal a quick single into the covers, as Nicole Bolton swooped to run out Georgia Elwiss with a direct hit.

Molineux also claimed the wicket of Sarah Taylor, who appeared less than chuffed at being given out lbw by umpire Alex Wharf. UltraEdge, however, proved that the ball had brushed pad first, before thudding the middle of the bat.

Sciver married substance and technique to prevent an outright collapse, playing increasing watchfully after reaching an 88-ball half-century during an extended evening session. There was even an appearance of the “Natmeg”, her signature shot from the 2017 World Cup, but she could not wrest control from Australia on her own and the day ended with four close catchers around the bat as Anya Shrubsole walked off with 1 from 36 balls.

The only minor issue for Meg Lanning to deal with in the field was a slightly erratic display by debutant quick Tayla Vlaeminck. The 20-year-old started with a no-ball and then sent down five wides during a nervy three-over spell but showed good pace and improved on her second showing.

Two days after being put into the field, England likely arrived in the morning hoping to be put out of their misery – but Australia were content to further strengthen their position, possibly in the expectation of only batting once. Beth Mooney reached a maiden Test fifty and Australia added 79 to their overnight total before declaring shortly before lunch and allowing Perry her window of opportunity.

England’s initial efforts were rewarded, with Brunt removing Jess Jonassen via a slice to gully and several half-chances created. However, Molineux also gave a good account of herself with the bat, helping to add 52 with Mooney as England’s standards in the field slipped again.

Back-to-back fours from Mooney brought up Australia’s 400, before Molineux was removed by Sophie Ecclestone, bowled playing across the line by a delivery that turned a fraction. Mooney went to a composed half-century in Ecclestone’s next over, and when she fell, caught via a leading edge off the bowling of Sciver, Lanning did call her players in.

With a ten-minute mini-session in prospect, England were immediately pushed back on to the ropes, as Perry produced a ripping delivery to remove Beaumont in her second over. Curving in and seaming away to crash into off stump, it left Beaumont groping at thin air and England fearing the worst.



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