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24-27 September 2008



LATEST ACTION AS IT HAPPENS (all times BST)
606: DEBATE
e-mail tms@bbc.co.uk (with 'For Mark Mitchener' in the subject), text 81111 (with "CRICKET" as the first word) or use 606. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Mark Mitchener

1610: While the celebrations will continue long into the night for Durham, with the title decided it's time to wrap things up here. Thanks to Pranav and Sam for the live text duties on the first couple of days, thanks to Martyn Hindley and Simon Mann of Five Live for sending us all their updates over the last few days - and thank you if you've stuck with us.

You can continue the debate on 606 - and do join us for the India-Australia Test series, when some of us will be getting up at stupid o'clock to bring you live text commentary on that exciting series. Until then, take care of yourselves and reflect on an exciting end to the season.

Durham
"We've been drinking for every [Notts] wicket, so the guys are pretty inebriated by now"
Durham captain Dale Benkenstein on the team bus

Durham
1600: While the champagne flows, here's the table for Durham fans to enjoy. Hampshire finish third. Sussex and Yorkshire are still playing to decide sixth and seventh place (teams having finished in bold):

Durham 190 (champions)
Notts 182
Hampshire 178
Somerset 174
Lancashire 170
Sussex 155
Yorkshire 155
Kent 154 (relegated)
Surrey 124 (relegated)

Wicket falls
Notts
1555: Another big shout from Tahir against Shreck - it's very close, but ump Kettleborough says no. Next ball, Shreck has a big heave-ho, Michael Carberry takes the catch at cover and it's all over for Notts - DURHAM ARE COUNTY CHAMPIONS. Well done them. Hampshire complete their victory by 203 runs.

Wicket falls
Notts
1549: More catching practice for Dimitri Mascarenhas as Patto misjudges a leg-break from Tahir and skies it to Dimi at mid-on for his fourth catch of the innings. Notts are 236-9, and with last man Charlie Shreck coming in, Durham have the champagne in their hands in their coach on the A2 and are shaking it up, ready to uncork it at a moment's notice.

That's 50
Sussex
1547: Patto is off his "pair", slog-sweeping Dawson for four. Meanwhile, at Hove, Robin Martin-Jenkins has reached fifty - Sussex are 370-8, "net" 177-8 against Yorkshire.

Get involved on 606
"Can people stop going on about that Durham-Kent match? Show some respect to the independent panel of inspectors who looked at the pitch, spoke to the umpires and accepted that there was little wrong with it and it was possible for batsman to just perform pathetically, which was the case. Home and away, the Durham batsmen have struggled this year but the bowlers have been fantastic and formed the bedrock of our success"
Ajm050 on 606
Join the debate on 606

1543: Chris Read is punching a few lusty blows over the infield, but Hampshire won't be too bothered and will keep the close catchers in.

1540: With the cricket drawing to a close, there's still a veritable plethora of live text commentaries here on BBC Sport this afternoon. As well as Stevo's football and Fletch's cricket I mentioned earlier, any petrolheads among you may wish to check out our live coverage of qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix, with Caroline Cheese.
Live - Singapore GP qualifying, with Caroline Cheese

Wicket falls
Notts
1538: Ealham may have avoided his "pair", but the bearded Adams lasts just two deliveries before he's trapped lbw by Tahir. Shafayat walks off too, not having been needed to do much running. Notts are 210-8, and with the lumbering figure of Darren Pattinson rocking up to the crease, I think Durham can start to get the champagne out of the fridge.

Wicket falls
Notts
1534: An early wicket after tea as Mark Ealham comes down the crease to Liam Dawson, gets a leading edge and it skies up to Michael Carberry in the covers for a simple catch. He departs for one, and Notts are 210-7. New batsman Andre Adams is hobbling a little, and is accompanied by Bilal Shafayat who will act as his runner.

BBC Radio 5 Live
1530: "I think that the people who have kept faith with this day of cricket could be rewarded with some fireworks in the final session of the season if not the result that most were hoping for. Chris Read and Mark Ealham have no cause for preserving their wickets for four immaterial draw points so it may be hard hat time!"
BBC Radio 5 Live's Martyn Hindley at Trent Bridge

1529: Hampshire skipper Dimitri Mascarenhas leads his team back out at Trent Bridge after tea. He's been a talisman for his side so far in this innings, with four wickets and three catches.

Hants
Notts
1513: Tea is taken at Trent Bridge with Notts 207-6 against Hampshire, needing an unlikely 235 more runs from 32 overs to deprive Durham of the County Championship title.

Wicket falls
Sussex
1510: Another wicket at Hove - Ollie Rayner is caught behind for 22, Sussex are 362-8 - "net" 169-8 - at tea. Yorkshire might still fancy wrapping up the season with a win.

"Have the moaning Notts fans forgotten that Colly can't play for Durham either?"
David, Newcastle, in the TMS inbox

Paul Newman, pictured in 1989
1504: Some sad news away from the world of sport - legendary film actor Paul Newman has died at the age of 83. Best film? For me, it was "The Sting". RIP Paul.

Wicket falls
Notts
1500: Hampshire think they have another wicket as Bilal Shafayat flicks Tahir to mid-on where Mascarenhas takes a low catch. Shafayat isn't sure it's carried, but the umpires confer and Shafayat departs for 48. Notts have slumped to 191-6. Mark Ealham is the new batsman, and he's on a pair too.

1456: New batsman is the Notts captain Chris Read, and he makes the silly-point fielder leap for safety as he blasts Tahir for a four through the covers.

"Yorkshire are staying up! That's made my week!"
Josh Lynas in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
Notts
1450: Imran Tahir screams an lbw appeal against Shafayat as he hides his bat behind his pad, but umpire Richard Kettleborough ruled that the ball pitched just outside leg stump. But next over, Samit Patel dances down the track to Dawson, hoists him over mid-on but Captain Dimi runs back to take a great catch over his head, and Patel departs for 77. Notts are 182-5, and they'll cheer when they hear about that wicket on the Durham team bus.

BBC Radio 5 Live
"Patel's sudden attack on Imran Tahir has Trent Bridge buzzing again. Twice the leggie is thrashed back over his head in one over - once for four and once for a maximum - a few bodies appear to be drifting INTO rather than OUT OF the ground as the afternoon chase gathers momentum"
BBC Radio 5 Live's Martyn Hindley at Trent Bridge

Notts
1443: Bilal Shafayat takes the attack to Tahir, hoisting him back over his head and into the TV gantry for six. He has 43 now, Notts have moved on to 176-4 - the run rate is down to 4.89 per over. Hampshire respond by bringing on their second spinner - teenage slow-left-armer Liam Dawson, fresh from his maiden first-class century this morning.

Lancs
"Congratulations to Durham. However, there surely must be questions over the ECB's decision to allow Harmison to play for Durham yet deprive Lancashire and Notts of their bowlers. Has the integrity of the Championship been compromised? Don't get me wrong, if Lancashire cannot win the title then I would rather Durham won it than anybody else but how must Notts fans feel being deprived of Broad and Siders for such an imprtant run-in yet see their closest rivals be allowed to play Harmison?"
G-Man in Wigan, in the TMS inbox

Sussex
"Very like the final day last year, when Sussex had to wait all day to see whether Lancs would reach an improbable target in the fourth innings. The difference is that Lancs had passed 300 before they lost their fourth wicket! I don't think Durham will have to sweat quite as much as we did. Assuming the unthinkable doesn't happen, Durham will be worthy winners. Hats off to them"
Charlie, lifelong Sussex member, in the TMS inbox

Notts
1436: A forlorn figure on the Notts balcony - the flaxen-haired England seamer Stuart Broad, watching his side's title chances slowly slip away. Having reached 158-4, they need 284 off 42 overs - almost a tall order for a Pro40 game, but with four wickets down already.

Notts
"Two pieces of news which show cricket has a long way to go if it wants to make the most of its popularity: Notts refuse to sell Polly [1306] a ticket although she is prepared to travel 2.5 hours by train to buy one... and the ECB pays Vaughan thousands for a central contract, but then do not take him to India"
Jim (still annoyed Broad cannot play, and hoping for a batting miracle at Trent Bridge) in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
Sussex
1430: A wicket at Hove - Murray Goodwin becomes Adil Rashid's sixth victim of the innings. Sussex are 328-7, "net" 135-7. Meanwhile, at Trent Bridge, Patel gives a half-chance of a return catch to Tahir, who gets a hand to it but can't hold on. Patel then slog-sweeps just wide of the diving Tremlett in front of the relatively short square-leg boundary.

Text in your views on 81111
"Mitch, surely Patel must make the Test squad going to India, he is a good batsman & his bowling will help there"
Dave, London, via text on 81111
[But is he really good enough to be a front-line bowler in Tests? 33 first-class wickets in 40 games doesn't suggest so - MM]

Yorks
"As a Yorkshireman I'm quite happy to see Durham lift the cup - at last a northern team winning the championship, wish it was Yorkshire. However in some people's eyes it may be a tainted victory owing to that pitch inspection during the game between Durham and Kent. Kent had eight points deducted some years ago for an unsuitable pitch and if the same had happened to Durham, which it probably should, then Notts would be batting out for a draw at the moment to give them the title. Still, credit to Durham and I'd rather they have it than anyone else"
Graeme, Brackley, Northants, in the TMS inbox
REPORT (June 2005): Kent penalised for green wicket

Durham
1420: Durham's team coach is leaving Canterbury to head up to the north-east - will they be champions by the time they step off the coach? Unless they've got satellite telly on the coach, with no radio commentary, is it too much to hope for that they might even be following the Trent Bridge score via the BBC Sport website?
How to get cricket scores on your mobile

BBC Radio 5 Live
"The Notts crowd are being treated to some spirited stuff here. Patel is being positive and showing all of his international credentials and seems unfazed by the asking rate of almost 6.5 per over. One fan just came inside from the balcony at the Radcliffe Road End shaking his head. I advised him to cheer up as there's still hope. He said there wasn't as Torres had just scored and he couldn't see his beloved Everton scoring twice!"
BBC Radio 5 Live's Martyn Hindley at Trent Bridge

Hants
Notts
1416: Notts are getting a little tied down against Imran Tahir - but at least they haven't lost any more wickets. Chris Tremlett, who's had some success at Trent Bridge for both Hampshire and England in the past, replaces Mascarenhas in the attack, and Notts move on to 137-4.

"Can I just ask why you're only covering Division One on your live text, there is a massive game going on in Bristol where Gloucestershire are looking for their first win of the season. What's the score?"
Dave in the TMS inbox
[We've concentrated on Division One on all four days because Division Two was all wrapped up - with both promotion places already decided before this week. Conversely, Division One had four simultaneous matches, with the title and relegation all up for grabs. But you can still follow all the Division Two scores, as ever, via the website, or listen to the game on BBC local radio via the site - MM]
Live scorecard: Gloucestershire v Essex

1410: A result from Division Two, where Warwickshire have beaten Glamorgan by 179 runs. It was an incredible second innings for Glmoargan, collapsing from 122-1 to 128-8, before the last two wickets nearly put on 100.

Durham
"Congratulations Durham. It is a marvellous achievement to have come so far in such a short period of time. Dominoes no more. Fingers crossed for Trent Bridge. Saturdays are usually nervous affairs waiting for Sunderland, I now have two things to worry about"
Ben, exiled in Hants, in the TMS inbox
Team news: Aston Villa v Sunderland

Hants
"My congrats also to Liam Dawson re: his century. I've known him since he was a baby - a really nice lad, and hopefully a future England player. I hope I don't jinx things by offering my congrats to Durham"
Martin, Chippenham, in the TMS inbox

1400: As well as the football, you may be interested to know that we've got live text commentary (and live video coverage) on this afternoon's women's road race at the World Cycling Championships. Paul Fletcher is our man in the saddle for all the action from Italy.
Live text - World Cycling Championships, with Paul Fletcher

The sun is out
1358: Notts have got the run-rate down a little - 5.14 per over needed now. But when you're 113-4 chasing 442 to win, it's still a big ask. It's broad sunshine at Trent Bridge.

Durham
"My dad was a passionate Durham fan. He took me to all the games as a boy, unfortunately he passed away in 1998 and never saw a good Durham team, never mind a team win anything. He will be smiling down now with a massive grin on his face. A proud day for me and the North East in general"
Tim exiled in London, in the TMS inbox

Hants
1351: Hampshire leg-spinner Imran Tahir enters the attack as they look to turn the screw against Notts. He has 36 wickets at 17.25 from his first six Championship games for Hampshire - when you factor in the first innings of this match, he has 40 at 16.9 from seven games.

1348: Shafayat gets a lucky edge over the slips, but he won't care as he's avoided an unwanted "pair".

Yorks
"It might be worth noting that, with two days before the selectors announce the touring team to India, that Rashid has picked up five of the six wickets to fall at Hove in Sussex's 2nd innings, to add to his two in the first innings and a small matter of 111 runs batting at seven. Handy timing"
Richard in the TMS inbox

That's 50
Notts
1346: Samit Patel earns a round of applause from the dwindling Trent Bridge crowd (those who haven't left for Meadow Lane) by reaching his 15th first-class fifty off 51 balls. Hampshire have posted unusual fields for him, including two or even three close catchers in the mid-wicket area, but the big man has looked largely untroubled - barring that lbw shout.

Hants
Notts
1343: James Tomlinson looks to have trapped Samit Patel in front with an inswinger, but umpire Trevor Jesty shows his old county no favours and gives Patel the benefit of the doubt. Patel brings up three figures for Notts with three fours off the over - he has 47, but he may need to score 247 if Notts are going to win this.

He's reached 100
Sussex
1341: In the only other remaining Division One game, at Hove, Murray Goodwin has reached his century. Sussex are 289-6 - "net" 96-6 against Yorkshire.

Wicket falls
Notts
1338: Ashwell Prince departs, giving a fairly simple return catch to that man Mascarenhas who has taken all four Notts wickets to fall. It's a slow death by a thousand cuts for Notts' title hopes - they're 88-4 and Bilal Shafayat comes in - he's on a pair.

"Would I be right in thinking Steve Harmison will be on a hat trick for his first ball of next season or will that not count?"
Ibrahim George in the TMS inbox
[Hat-tricks can only happen in the same match - even across the first and second innings - but not across different matches - MM]

BBC Radio 5 Live
1325: "Some slumping shoulders among the Notts fans milling around at the interval as the news from Kent is relayed to them on the public address system. Some football fans of a County persuasion are getting ready to head to Meadow Lane for their League Two match against Aldershot and to pay their respects to former manager Jimmy Sirrel, who died earlier this week"
BBC Radio 5 Live's Martyn Hindley at Trent Bridge

Lancs
Somerset
1321: No bearing on the title now, but Lancashire have beaten Somerset by eight wickets at Taunton. It leaves the road open for Hampshire to leapfrog Somerset and Lancs into third place if they win at Trent Bridge. Notts are 70-3, and still need to score at a run a ball. Here's the updated table as it stands (teams having completed their matches in bold):

Durham 190
Notts 182
Somerset 174
Lancashire 170
Hampshire 164
Sussex 155
Yorkshire 155
Kent 154 (relegated)
Surrey 124 (relegated)

Notts
1317: Of all the fielders in county cricket, you don't take a quick single to the fleet-footed Michael Carberry. But needing quick runs, Notts do just that, and the third umpire spares Patel a hasty departure.

Breaking news
1315: They're under way again at Taunton (where we expect Lancashire to win any minute now) and at Hove. And some breaking news - The ECB has confirmed the story from this morning's Daily Telegraph that former England captain Michael Vaughan will not be picked for the winter tour to India while he takes a break from international cricket.

"Hi Mark, looks like a long day waiting for the inevitable to be confirmed. Fair play to Durham, though very disappointing for a Nottinghamian exiled in Hampshire. In the mean time, have Notts or Somerset done enough to make it into the top sporting chokers of all time? I doubt it, but here are my top five: 1 - New Zealand, pretty much any Rugby World Cup since 1987. 2 - South Africa, Cricket World Cup semi final 1999. 3 - Jana Novotna, Wimbledon final 1993. 4 - Devon Loch, Grand National 1956. 5 - Lewis Hamilton last year. Thanks for brilliant updates"
Richard (still hoping they can make me eat this email!) in the TMS inbox

Hants
1310: Tremlett's out of the attack and Hampshire turn to the leading wicket-taker in Division One this season (with 64) - the under-publicised left-arm seamer James Tomlinson.

1306: They're walking back out at Trent Bridge - Notts' new batsman is Ashwell Prince, joining Samit Patel at the crease.

"In response to Fraser Simm [1139], I tried to find out how much it would cost to go to the final day at Trent Bridge on the internet last night. The website said that tickets were no longer available so I called the number and they said they could not guarantee there would be tickets available if I turned up. I live a 2.5-hour train journey away so was not prepared to risk it. Wishing now I had if it really is two-thirds empty"
Polly in the TMS inbox

Ross Turnbull
Steve Harmison
"As a Durham fan, can I just ask Hants fans if anyone has Dimi Mascarenhas' address as he's getting a Christmas card from me this year with that declaration. Also, as a Boro football fan, can I ask if anyone's ever seen our goalie Ross Turnbull and Steve Harmison in the same room?"
Mike Richardson in the TMS inbox

"What a fantastic end to the season - surely unique in the 120+ years of the championship. All four matches significant and all eight teams playing for something. Thanks for the great coverage - I am being made redundant and have followed the last three days at work! Most amazing thing though is how Yorks have risen to the occasion. Everyone thought we would buckle in less than three days!"
Jonny of North Marine Road in the TMS inbox

Lancs
Somerset
1243: One of the quirks of cricket is that very occasionally, a daft rule breaks all common sense. And with Lancashire needing just seven more runs to win at Taunton (and leg it up the M5), they've taken lunch with the Red Rose mob 175-2, chasing 182 to win.

1240: While the players are having lunch at Trent Bridge, if you want to look ahead to the afternoon's football, take a look at our live text coverage of the Premier League with Jonathan Stevenson. The Merseyside derby's just about to kick off.
Live text - Premier League, with Jonathan Stevenson

Durham
"They'd have to chop it off not to let me bowl this morning. But although it's wrecked my golf plans for the next couple of weeks, there's no doubt I'll be fit for the winter. Second to the Ashes, this is probably the best thing I've achieved in my career"
Durham paceman Steve Harmison shrugs off his cracked wrist

Yorks
Sussex
1231: It's also lunch at Hove, where Sussex have just lost Luke Wright and are 248-6 - "net" 55-6 - against Yorkshire. Meanwhile, they're carrying on at Taunton as Lancashire have nearly wrapped up victory over Somerset. Mark Chilton has missed a century, being caught behind off Andy Caddick for 97, but they're 165-2 chasing 182 to win.

Wicket falls
Notts
1228: Notts lose a third wicket just before the scheduled lunch interval as Will Jefferson tries to blast Mascarenhas through extra cover and James Tomlinson does well to take a difficult catch above his head. Notts are 48-3, and they'll take lunch now.

Durham
"Watching events from a great distance, but fingers crossed for Durham's best day ever. When I was there as Chief Exec (93-95) we started with a pitch and a portakabin - just look at the club now. Particular advance congratulations to Geoff Cook who's been there since day one"
Alan Wright, former Durham chief executive, in the TMS inbox

Durham
"As a loyal Durham fan since the days when we wheeled out the likes of David Graveney, Wayne Larkins and Graeme Fowler, is this the day we have been waiting for?"
Derek Harper in the TMS inbox

1223: In the (now largely meaningless) other games, Lancashire have lost the wicket of Paul Horton for 58, but are 156-1 chasing 182 to beat Somerset. Meanwhile, Sussex have lost Matt Prior and Chris Adams - they're 236-5, so they're "net" 43-5 against Yorkshire.

Text in your views on 81111
"Terrific performance from Durham in this game, here's hoping Dimi keeps the wickets tumbling at Trent Bridge! Are the Durham team buses on their way to Nottingham yet?"
Mike - a delighted Durham supporter in exile in Edinburgh - via text on 81111

"Very excited about today, but why can you listen to all the important matches except Notts? Not impressed, it would be easier than pressing F5"
Polly in the TMS inbox
[You'd best address that to the BBC local radio stations concerned. But stick with the live text, I'll keep you posted on everything - MM]

Notts
1217: With a run a ball needed by Notts, Will Jefferson is not giving up without a fight, clubbing his fellow beanpole Tremmers for three consecutive fours. They're 37-2, needing 5.29 runs per over to win.

Text in your views on 81111
"Massive congratulations to Lemmy [Liam Dawson] for his maiden first-class ton! Monty's days for England are numbered, especially with Rashid around too!"
Matt, Calne, via text on 81111

1209: Tremlett is bowling to five slips - Dimi is going for the kill here. Mind you, with Tremlett bowling to Jefferson, has there ever been a taller bowler/batsman combination? They're nearly 14 feet tall between them!

Text in your views on 81111
"As a Durham member can I just say how proud I am of all the boys. Hopefully something crazy won't happen at Trent Bridge and we will win a deserved 1st title. Congrats to Benky, Harmy, the Colonel, etc! C'mon Durham!"
Jamie Morgan, an ecstatic Durham fan in the north east, via text on 81111

Out for a duck
Notts
1204: Dimi strikes again - Mark Wagh is out second ball, edging Mascarenhas to Sean Ervine at second slip. New batsman is the burly Samit Patel.

Wicket falls
Notts
1202: Notts lose their first wicket as pinch-hitting opener Graeme Swann has an ugly heave across the line and is clean bowled by Dimitri Mascarenhas. They're 18-1 chasing 442 - Mark Wagh is the new batsman.

Durham
1200: The champagne may be on ice for Durham, but the players are walking onto the pitch (drinking a few beers) and look like they're going to pose for a "county champions" photo behind a sponsor's board. However, they won't receive the trophy until a dinner on Monday - even if they win.

Hants
Notts
1152: A by-product of Durham's victory is that the Sussex-Yorkshire and Somerset-Lancashire matches are now rendered largely irrelevant, with no bearing on promotion and relegation. So while I'll let you know if anything huge happens at the other two games, you'll forgive me if I concentrate on Notts-Hampshire in the main, as this game will decide the title. And after a maiden from Chris Tremlett, Swann gets Notts under way by blasting a four through the covers.

Hants
Notts
1149: Notts may need 442 to win, but they're serving notice of their intentions by sending BBC Sport columnist Graeme Swann out to open with regular opener Will Jefferson. Swanny normally opens in one-day cricket, but it's going to have to be a mighty effort from him if Notts are to overhaul Durham. Meanwhile, Hampshire's Nic Pothas is off the field after that marathon innings, so Michael Brown is keeping wicket and Jimmy Adams is on as a sub fielder.

BBC Radio 5 Live
1148: "Notts fans at the Radcliffe Road End offer sporting applause to Liam Dawson for his maiden first-class century, even though it may have denied them the Championship. 442 off 76 overs is the target and whilst the sun is out and the pitch benign, no team has scored at over 4.4 an over since Patel and Prince were at the crease in the Notts first innings. The required rate for the title is 5.82"
BBC Radio 5 Live's Martyn Hindley at Trent Bridge

1146: I know you'll all be gagging to see the updated table as it stands (teams having completed their matches in bold):

Durham 190
Notts 182
Somerset 174
Hampshire 164
Lancashire 156
Sussex 155
Yorkshire 155
Kent 154 (relegated)
Surrey 124 (relegated)

Kent
Durham
1144: ...but Durham have won at Canterbury, with Steve Harmison ripping out the tail - inducing an edge from Robbie Joseph and then yorking Martin Saggers first ball. They win by an innings and 71 runs, so Kent are relegated, while Durham can put their feet up knowing that only an unlikely Notts win can deny them their first county title.

Lancs
1143: Lancashire have made a sluggish start at Taunton - having added just four runs in the first couple of overs of the day...

Hants
Notts
1139: Mascarenhas declares with Hampshire on 449-5, leaving Notts needing to score 442 to win at nearly six an over to win the County Championship. But with Durham on the brink of victory at Canterbury, Notts are going to have to go for it...

"Watching on TV (from Scotland) what surprises me is the miniscule crowd on what could be a dramatic last day at Trent Bridge. As an old three, or four-day man I wonder what has happened to the County Championship. I recall crowds flocking to Canterbury (1967) to see a dramatic week with matches versus the old two contenders that year (Leicestershire & Yorkshire)"
Fraser Simm in the TMS inbox

He's reached 100
Hants
1137: Liam Dawson steers Shafayat to fine leg and becomes Hampshire's youngest ever first-class centurion, aged 18. Surely Hampshire will declare now? But Mascarenhas still has his pads on, and sits down again after leading the applause. Meanwhile, at Hove, Murray Goodwin has reached his fifty against Yorkshire.

Wicket falls
Kent
1132: Another wicket at Canterbury - and the boy Thorp can no longer take all 10 as James Tredwell shoulders arms and has his off stump demolished by Steve Harmison, clearly showing no ill-effects from the cracked bone in his non-bowling wrist. Kent are eight down and looking at an innings defeat.

Hants
Notts
1129: Notts are clearly itching for Hampshire to declare - they're giving the splendidly-bearded Bilal Shafayat another bowl. He's charitably described as right-arm medium pace (Cricinfo even have him as RMF rather than RM), and less charitably described (by the Sky commentators) as bowling "throw-downs". Liam Dawson is inches away from becoming Hampshire's youngest ever first-class centurion, is that what they're waiting for?

Wicket falls
Kent
1127: Another wicket at Canterbury - and another wicket for Callum Thorp, who has all seven so far! His latest Kent victim is Yasir Arafat, who edges to Michael Di Venuto at second slip for 18. They're 197-7 - still 78 behind.

Text in your views on 81111
"Hampshire would be outraged if the shoe was on the other foot and they were chasing the title - just declare and give Notts a chance"
Anonymous, via text on 81111
[Hampshire were outraged at Kent in 2005 when they agreed to a very unrealistic run chase to hand Notts the title - MM]
REPORT (September 2005): Warne fury over title conclusion

Wicket falls
Sussex
1122: Our first Hove wicket of the morning, as Sussex captain-elect Mike Yardy is caught by Andrew Gale off Adil Rashid for 72. They're 161-3, still trailing Yorkshire by 32.

Lancs
Somerset
1119: They're going to begin play at 1130 at Taunton, after the fog finally lifted. Lancashire need 60 to win, with all 10 second-innings wickets remaining.

Durham
"I was there last season when Ottis Gibson took all 10 against Hampshire! Surely Thorpy can't make it happen again?"
A very cheerful Ollie in Cramlington, in the TMS inbox

Hants
1117: Liam Dawson misjudges a hook at Trent Bridge and is plunked on the helmet by Notts paceman Charlie Shreck, but he's going to be all right.

Yorks
"I know Goughie did the right thing to put team ahead of personal ego but ripping through the final eight Sussex wickets would have been a great end. We'll all miss you Dazzler!"
Dan, Devon, in the TMS inbox
REPORT (22 September): Curtain falls on Gough's career

Yorks
Sussex
1113: And at Hove, Michael Yardy and Murray Goodwin are going steady for Sussex - they're 155-2, needing 39 more to make Yorkshire bat again. Both sides will be hoping for a Kent collapse that would make both sides safe from relegation.

That's 50
Kent
1111: It's still foggy at Taunton where Lancashire are kicking their heels, but at Canterbury, Ryan McLaren has reached his fifty for Kent. He's been joined by Yasir Arafat - at 185-6, Kent are still 90 runs behind.

BBC Radio 5 Live
1106: "Notts may have been hoping to have had the kitchen sink thrown at their bowlers this morning and that Hampshire would seek rapid runs for a declaration. But apart from Liam Dawson's lofted cover drive for six off Shreck to the short boundary, it's all been pretty calm stuff in the first half-hour and that's serving to further demoralise the leaders, who are getting a lot of time in the field to ponder their plight"
BBC Radio 5 Live's Martyn Hindley at Trent Bridge

"Many thanks for your great coverage of the unfolding events in the Championship finale, I am following it down a country lane in the middle of the North Island of New Zealand and the dark night has closed in around me, not sure how long I'll stay up as the story unfolds. Enjoy the day's events"
Ian Boyle in the TMS inbox

Hants
1055: Hampshire captain Dimitri Mascarenhas gives his batsmen a noticeable clap from the Trent Bridge balcony. We think for a minute he's calling them in to declare - but he may just be signalling them to have a bit of a dart, now they're nearly 400 ahead. He's next man in, and he's still got his pads on, so maybe he fancies a six-hitting cameo to remind the England selectors how he thinks they've dropped a clanger by dropping him from the ODI and Twenty20 squad...

Durham
1050: England can also breathe a sigh of relief over Steve Harmison - Five Live's Simon Mann revealed on this live text yesterday that the big paceman had left the field with an injured left (ie non-bowling) wrist. The update this morning is that an X-ray has revealed he cracked a bone but it should not prevent him bowling, and he's already bowled today - wearing a lightweight cast on his left arm. With the Stanford match coming up, Steve Harmison's bank manager can probably breathe a sigh of relief too, although Harmy insisted when he "unretired" from ODIs that his decision was purely for cricketing, not financial reasons.

Hants
"What is your guess on when Hants will declare and what Pothas' final score will be? Great effort by Hants"
Ducky in Fordingbridge in the TMS inbox
[Having just commentator-cursed a Kent player, as a Hampshire fan myself I'm not going to tempt fate with my own team! MM]

Wicket falls
Kent
1044: The commentator's curse strikes - Justin Kemp departs, edging Callum Thorp to Durham skipper Dale Benkenstein in the slips for 54. Thorp has 6-65 and is still on to take all 10... Kent are 165-6, still 110 behind.

That's 50
Kent
1042: Another early half-century has come from Kent's Justin Kemp at Canterbury. He's in the midst of a vital stand with fellow South African "Kolpakker" Ryan McLaren - they've taken Kent from 58-5 to 165-5.

Notts
"I support Liverpool and Notts, and today is either going to be one of the best days of my life, or the worst. If one team wins and other does not, I won't be happy as either losing the derby or the title would be hard to take"
Demichilis in the TMS inbox

That's 50
Hants
1037: But we're under way in the other three games, and at Trent Bridge Hampshire's Liam Dawson has knocked off the two runs he needed for his maiden first-class fifty, having added over 100 with Nic Pothas for the sixth wicket. Well done him.

Bad light stops play
Lancs
Somerset
1035: We've got a delayed start at Taunton because of fog - that'll hold up what we expect to be a Lancashire win to keep them up and eliminate Somerset from title contention.

Text in your views on 81111
"Fingers crossed for a great day for the north east, whole area is supporting the cricket team. Makes a change from the football"
DaveMcC, via text on 81111

1030: Clearly, there are still a number of permutations for the day - but as far as individual counties are concerned, here's what I reckon is what everyone needs to do (and before you write in asking what happens if any games finish in a tie... we'll cross that unlikely bridge if we come to it):

Notts
Notts know that a win would deliver them the title, whatever happens elsewhere. But if they fail to beat Hampshire (they're 368 runs behind with Hants still batting in their second innings), that would let in Durham or (theoretically) Somerset. Hampshire, by contrast, are just playing for the prize money that would come with second or third place.

Durham
Durham need to win (a draw's no good to them) and hope Notts fail to win. They're in the driving seat at Canterbury, with Kent five down and needing 116 more just to make Durham bat again.

Somerset
Somerset need the unlikely scenario of a win (needing to take 10 wickets while Lancashire need just 60 more runs), coupled with both Notts and Durham failing to win.

Kent
Kent are down if they lose. If they draw, they're still down if Sussex and Yorkshire draw with each other and Lancashire avoid defeat. But an unlikely win would see them safe.

Sussex
Sussex will be safe with either a win or a draw (as even a draw would see them on level points with Yorkshire, and finish above them by virtue of losing fewer games). But a defeat would see them needing Kent to lose in order to stay up.

Yorks
Yorkshire's scenario is fairly similar to Sussex's - win and they're safe, although a draw would leave them vulnerable if Kent were to win. Defeat for the Tykes would see them needing Kent to lose in order to stay up.

Lancs
Lancashire will be safe if they avoid defeat. Only a huge collapse, followed by a Sussex-Yorkshire draw and Kent avoiding defeat can send the Red Rose county down now.

1017: Don't forget, we want you to get involved today as the season draws to a close - e-mail us at tms@bbc.co.uk (with "For Mark Mitchener" in the subject line), text us on 81111 (with "CRICKET" as the first word - this is extra-important today, as the inbox will be bombarded with football texts), or use 606.
Join the debate on 606

BBC Radio 5 Live
1015: "The fog is back again to open the final day of proceedings at Trent Bridge and whilst the morning dew and freezing cold conditions have joined it, things aren't as bad as on day three. Notts will be desperate to get on with things, knowing that they need as much time as possible to chase what we expect will be upwards of 400 for the title"
BBC Radio 5 Live's Martyn Hindley at Trent Bridge

Somerset
Notts
Durham
1000: Morning, everyone. It really is the final countdown today - the last day of action in the County Championship season. Durham and Nottinghamshire are battling for the title - along with Somerset, although they're staring down the barrel of a defeat by Lancashire, so they may be eliminated from contention later this morning. A win for Durham, as looks eminently possible, will rack up the pressure on Notts - leaving them needing to win to claim the title.

Lancs
Yorks
Sussex
Kent
At the bottom, four teams are battling to avoid the last relegation place. Kent are the hot favourites to join Surrey in Division Two next year - although if they were to pull off an unlikely win, the result of the Sussex-Yorkshire match will decide who goes down. Lancashire can still mathematically go down, but need just 60 more runs to win with all 10 second-innings wickets remaining.

Here are the scores as they stand:

Notts 211 v Hants 203 & 376-5
Kent 225 & 159-5 v Durham 500-8 dec
Somerset 202 & 227 v Lancashire 248 & 122-0
Sussex 207 & 118-2 v Yorks 400-9 dec

And here's the table as it stands (teams having finished in bold):

Notts 182
Durham 176
Somerset 174
Hampshire 164
Lancashire 156
Sussex 155
Yorkshire 155
Kent 154
Surrey (already relegated and not playing today) 124

Remember - it's 14 points for a win, seven for a tie and four for a draw. If sides finish level on points, there's a series of tie-breakers, in this order: most wins, fewest losses, most points in contests between the two sides level on points, most wickets taken, and most runs scored.
INTERNET LINK: ECB - County Championship rules & regulations



see also
County cricket photos
27 Sep 08 |  Cricket
County finale photos - day three
26 Sep 08 |  Cricket
County finale photos - day two
25 Sep 08 |  Cricket
County finale photos - day one
24 Sep 08 |  Cricket
Championship set for grand finale
23 Sep 08 |  Counties


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