Surrey hold an eight-point lead over Hampshire with two matches remaining; Warwickshire draw with Somerset in relegation clash; Middlesex thrash Glamorgan in Division Two to move 12 points clear of rivals, as Worcestershire draw against Sussex
Thursday 15 September 2022 21:48, UK
Surrey's LV= Insurance County Championship title ambitions were left frustrated after a first century of the season from Saif Zaib helped Northamptonshire earn a draw at Wantage Road.
Left-hander Zaib - restored to Championship duties for the first time since May - struck 124 which was supported by Ricardo Vasconcelos (79) and Lizaad Williams (30) as the hosts were eventually bowled out for 426, with Dan Worrall taking 3-69.
Surrey were set a target of 345 in 39 overs, but declined to take up the chase as the match headed towards a stalemate, closing on 48 for one, as Ryan Patel was unbeaten at 32. Although Surrey return to the top of the table as a result, their lead over Hampshire is a slender eight points with two matches left.
Warwickshire and Somerset's relegation battle at Edgbaston ended in a hard-fought draw, where both sides threatened a late victory during a tense final session.
Somerset's declaration at 340-7 set a target of 364 in 82 overs, with Warwickshire eventually closing on 256-6 after bad light brought an end to proceedings on what had been a placid pitch.
George Bartlett had earlier reached his sixth first-class century with 111 after Somerset had resumed the final morning on 277-4, already 300 ahead. Warwickshire, though, were able to navigate the rest of the final day, as Sam Hain made an unbeaten 52, while Dom Sibley (54) and Alex Davies (58) both added half-centuries.
In Division Two, Middlesex swept aside Glamorgan by 10 wickets at Lord's and leapfrogged their opponents in the battle to secure promotion.
Middlesex needed less than an hour on the final morning to seal a comprehensive victory, which puts them 12 points clear of Glamorgan with two matches to play.
Seamer Toby Roland-Jones finished with figures of 5-61 as Glamorgan were bowled out for 220 in their second innings, with Surrey openers Mark Stoneman (20no) and Sam Robson (25no) knocking off the 45 runs needed for victory in only 5.2 overs.
An unbeaten century from Tom Alsop helped Sussex secure a draw against Worcestershire, inflicting a potentially fatal setback to the visitor's own promotion ambitions.
Alsop's 137no - his fourth Championship hundred of the season - and valuable contributions from Oli Carter (55) and Ali Orr (48) took Sussex to 312-6, a lead of 92, when the players shook hands with 13 overs remaining. Worcestershire picked up 14 points, but they are 28 behind second-placed Middlesex heading into the final two games.
Durham needed only 37 minutes to wrap up a seven-wicket victory over Leicestershire at the County Ground. Michael Jones, who fell three runs short of a century in the first innings, added a 58-ball fifty before Durham, chasing 105, completed their win.
Nic Maddinson finished unbeaten on 31 while England pace bowler Matty Potts took 13 wickets in the match, including 7-49 during Leicestershire's second innings.