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Saturday 29 September 2018 09:20, UK
The County Championship relegation and promotion issues are almost settled. Check out this round's team of the week before the final set of matches start on Monday...
The Middlesex opener scored his first century for 15 months as he helped the Division Two side earn their sixth first-class victory of the season. The former England opener struck 134, sharing a 132-run fourth-wicket partnership with Max Holden, and became the first Middlesex player to hit three figures since May 6. Robson also helped his side earn four batting points for just the second time this season, as they passed 400 runs in their first innings.
In a week when England's selectors were deliberating on who to name as Alastair Cook's successor at the top of the order, another former Test opener scored his first hundred in over a year. Lyth brought up a maiden County Championship century of the season, helping to ease Yorkshire's relegation woes in the process. Despite seeing their Division One match against Hampshire drawn due to the weather, the White Rose county need just two points against already-relegated Worcestershire in the final round of games to ensure they remain in the top flight.
A season-defining partnership that included Bell saw Warwickshire promoted back to Division One at the first time of asking. Bell has played a huge part in a successful red-ball season for the Bears and the 36-year-old scored his fifth first-class century of the season against fellow promotion-hopefuls Sussex. Bell also became his team's first player to pass 1,000 runs in Division Two this season in the process.
Bell's all-important partnership, that saw Warwickshire return to Division One, was shared with former England teammate Trott. The pair, who spent many years batting alongside each other on the international circuit, shared a 220-run third-wicket stand as Trott brought up just his second three-figure score of the season. In his final season before retirement, the 37-year-old needs 73 in his last match to reach 1,000 Championship runs for the season.
In a week full of aesthetically pleasing centuries, Bopara's was no different as his unbeaten 133 provided the backbone of Essex's 450+ score in their only innings against Worcestershire. The 33-year-old shared a 117-run sixth-wicket partnership with Adam Wheater (66 not out) and put his side in a commanding position that allowed the bowlers to push for victory.
Sussex's hopes of promotion may have ended after they failed to pick up maximum batting bonus points but, while Brown was batting, it looked as though the promotion race would head into the final week of matches. The wicketkeeper-batsman shared an exceptional 195-run sixth-wicket partnership with David Wiese (93) as the Sharks recovered from falling to 87-5. But the 29-year-old fell one run short of his hundred as he was caught in the slips off Jeetan Patel.
Kent's veteran seamer was at the forefront of delightful scenes at Canterbury as his 21st first-class five-wicket haul sealed an emphatic innings and 172-run victory over Glamorgan. The victory ensured a return to the Division One for the first time in eight years for the Spitfires, as they notched up their 10th win in the competition this season.
Alongside Stevens, New Zealand pace bowler Henry has been the star for Kent this season. The 26-year-old is the leading wicket-taker in Division Two, having grabbed 74 wickets in 10 matches - picking up a further eight in the win over Glamorgan this week.
In a challenging week for spinners, with the weather turning rapidly worse, Harmer helped seal Worcestershire's fate as he mopped up the Pears' tail and took his wickets tally for the season past 50. His two wickets in two balls, which included bowling Dillon Pennington for a first-ball duck, wrapped up Essex's victory inside three days, and leaves last year's Division One winners in with a chance of clinching second spot in the table.
An explosive first-innings spell saw Porter demolish Worcestershire's batting line-up in their first innings at Chelmsford, as he picked up 7-41 in 10 overs, his best figures this season. Four scalps in the second innings, including bowling Joe Clarke with the third ball on the final morning of the match, brought the 25-year-old yet another 10-wicket haul, as he continues to push his case for an England cap.
A sensational performance from Abbas earned him plaudits all the way back home in Pakistan as his 10-wicket innings haul saw Durham twice bowled out for under 70 runs in two sessions. The 28-year-old took five wickets in both innings as a destructive show of line, length, swing and seam blew away their opponents at Grace Road.
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