A very happy retirement to Simon Kerrigan, destined to be remembered in quizzes for that nightmarish Test debut at The Oval in 2013, but so much better than that.
Handle Jofra Archer with care:
Scores on the doors
Southampton: Hampshire 219 and 1-0 v Surrey 207
Canterbury: Kent 345-4 v Lancashire 327
County Ground: Northamptonshire 369 v Essex 125-4
Trent Bridge: Nottinghamshire 92-2 v Middlesex 366
Edgbaston: Warwickshire 112-3 v Somerset 215
Chester-le-Street: Durham 457-8dec v Leicestershire 96-6
Sophia Gardens: Glamorgan 22-0 v Derbyshire 450-8dec
Hove: Sussex 202 and 256-3 v Gloucestershire 195
Headingley: Yorkshire 24-0 v Worcestershire 398
And so the wait to crown the season’s county champions goes on, as the excellence of Hampshire’s Liam Dawson kept a firm lid on Surrey.
To tie down the title yesterday, Surrey needed to make 300 runs, thereby collecting two batting points – in fact they were bowled out for 207, with not a single batting point. Dawson, with five for 44, made the ball spit and fizz, while Mohammad Abbas finished with three.
Surrey’s batting faltered as it did against Northamptonshire at the Oval last week, with only Sai Sudharsan and Jordan Clark making more than 25. Sudharsan moved to his first half-century for Surrey, patient and stylish in just his second match.
It was possible for Surrey to have won if second-placed Essex had fallen in a heap against Northamptonshire, but Tom Westley and Paul Walter ensured that the dream of maximum batting points remained at least a theoretical achievement. But theoretical it looked, after Ben Sanderson removed Alastair Cook, Nick Browne and Dan Lawrence in nine miserly overs.
Six years to the day that they were last promoted, Worcestershire secured second spot and will join Durham in Division One next season. A team that regularly travels between the two divisions, Worcestershire’s golden moment came when Josh Baker dabbed Matt Milnes through the covers for two, to sporting applause from Yorkshire. Joe Denly’s first century of the year kept Kent’s hopes of avoiding relegation alive against Lancashire; Ryan Higgins did the same for Middlesex against Nottinghamshire, knitting the innings together with 107.
Good morning! The sweet chestnut trees outside my window muffle the noise of the traffic on the dual carriageway outside the Rose Bowl, as Surrey stiffen their sinews for the final push. Today, surely, the Championship is theirs. Essex may have other plans, but they’ll have to pull out the superhero suits quickly to do it. And the trapdoor still awaits either Middlesex or Kent. We will follow it all here – for the penultimate time this season. Play starts at 10.30am.