County Championship: Hampshire's title charge stalled by rivals Lancashire as Warwickshire start well
County Championship finale begins as Hampshire are skittled for 143 before taking three quick Lancashire wickets; Warwickshire still in hunt on 283-4 vs Somerset; Notts still in with a chance of the title, 292-9 vs Yorkshire
Last Updated: 21/09/21 8:52pm
Hampshire's bid to secure a first County Championship title since 1973 got off to a poor start on the first day of the final round of fixtures as they were bowled out for just 143 by Lancashire.
The visitors took the field at Aigburth in the knowledge that victory, coupled with at least five bonus points, would secure the crown whatever their three remaining rivals could manage.
But that possibility was taken out of their hands by one of those rivals as Lancashire, who began the day four points adrift in third, capitalised on a winning call at the toss by claiming the maximum three bowling points and denying Hampshire even a single batting point.
The leaders' seamers did claw back some of the damage before the close, Mohammad Abbas and Keith Barker each getting on the board before stumps as Lancashire closed on 25-3.
Dane Vilas' hosts had earlier shared the wickets, George Balderson (3-21) and Tom Bailey removing Hampshire's top five between them before Matt Parkinson's wrist spin (3-9) accounted for the tail. Lancashire v Hampshire scorecard
Warwickshire were the closest challengers to Hampshire before play, three-and-a-half points behind, and contributions from the majority of their top-order batters kept them squarely in the hunt as they reached stumps against Somerset on 283-4.
Rob Yates' fourth-over departure proved a false dawn for Division One's bottom side as two century stands - the first between Dom Sibley and Will Rhodes and the second shared by Sam Hain and Matthew Lamb - bagged two batting points with the promise of more to come on Wednesday morning. The maximum of five appears out of reach, but another 67 runs in the first 14 overs of play on day two would take them to 350 and four points.
That prospect will depend in no small part on the continued presence of the fluent Hain, whose unbeaten 83 has featured 13 boundaries to date. Warwickshire v Somerset scorecard
Nottinghamshire came into the week as the outsiders of the four contenders and will resume against Yorkshire on Wednesday on 292-9, needing their final pair to muster a further eight runs for a third batting point.
It took Joe Clarke's (109) first Championship ton of the season to get them that far, a 97 partnership with teenage all-rounder Joey Evison (58 no) helping rescue the home side from a perilous-looking 147-5.
Adam Lyth twice gave Clarke a reprieve in the field, but Yorkshire's 20-year-old wicketkeeper Harry Duke proved a safer pair of hands as he held six catches. Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire scorecard
Essex welcomed Northamptonshire to Chelmsford knowing four bonus points would secure the Division Two title, with Gloucestershire the only side in with a notional chance of overhauling their 21-point lead.
They picked up three with the ball on a day when 25 wickets fell - nine of them to Simon Cook, whose 5-21 in the first innings featured four lbw decisions and, along with Jamie Porter's 4-31, helped skittle Northants for 81.
Essex fell short of a title-clinching bonus point with the bat as they succumbed for 170 in reply, Tom Taylor and Jake White sharing eight wickets evenly, but the value of an 89 lead increased as the visitors then slipped to 23-5 at the second time of asking. Cook will resume with the ball in the morning with figures of 5.5-3-5-4.
There were emotional scenes before play as the retiring Ryan ten Doeschate was given the chance to address the crowd.
There was plenty of action, too, in Bristol, where Gloucestershire dismissed Durham for 140 before eclipsing the visitors' score as they closed on 146-6.
The arrival of an air ambulance briefly halted proceedings in the morning, but when play resumed Pakistan slow left-armer Zafar Gohar followed up a six-for on his previous appearance with 5-50, Durham top-scorer Alex Lees (40) among his victims.
Graeme van Buuren chipped in with three wickets and then gave a demonstration of his all-round ability as he struck a 77-ball 62 in the home side's response.
A flat pitch meant The Oval witnessed nothing like the same flow of wickets, and Glamorgan opener David Lloyd was able to rack up his highest first-class score of 121 as the visitors closed on 379-4 against Surrey.
There was a maiden first-class fifty for Joe Cooke (68) but Rikki Clarke, who retires after this game, went wicketless in his 13 overs.
Another retiring stalwart, Worcestershire's Daryl Mitchell, registered just 8 as his side reached 30-1 in response to Leicestershire's 222 all out at New Road.
Jake Libby passed 1,000 first-class runs for the year on his way to 16 not out, while captain Joe Leach earlier took three wickets to help secure maximum bowling points despite Louis Kimber's 71.
Leaders Middlesex lost their last eight wickets for just 26 runs to collapse to 147 all out against Kent, who made 82-4 in reply.
Darren Stevens got one through the defences of Mark Stoneman (59) to kick-off the tumble of wickets, finishing up with 4-21 himself before fellow old-stager Tim Murtagh took two in the Kent reply.
The winners at Canterbury will finish top.
Elsewhere, a first century of the season for Wayne Madsen (111) and 85 for Matt Critchley took Derbyshire to 371-5 against Sussex.