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Page last updated at 17:50 GMT, Wednesday, 8 September 2010 18:50 UK

County Championship climax - day two as it happened


To get involved, e-mail (with 'For Steve Marshall' in the subject), use 606 or text us your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) with "CRICKET" as the first word. (Not all comments can be used. Messages will be charged at your standard operator rate)

By Steve Marshall

1845: Right, that's it for another fascinating day. Thanks for your company and please come back tomorrow when Stephan Shemilt will be kicking things off at about 1000 BST.

1837: Ok here's what I reckon the tables look like tonight...

Division One
Notts 205
Somerset 187
Yorkshire 182
Lancashire 175
Durham 162
Warwickshire 144
Hampshire 137
Kent 129
Essex 123

Essex are down because, with Hampshire on 137 points and all three results still possible (16pts for a win, 3pts for a draw) they cannot catch both Hampshire and Kent.

Division Two
Sussex 215
Glamorgan 192
Worcestershire 171
Gloucestershire 169
Northants 164
Leicestershire 160
Middlesex 154
Surrey 136
Derbyshire 130

1826: Right, as we're done for the day, I'm just going to nip off into a dark room and do some maths to bring you 'As it Stands' tables.

1823: Closed at Trent Bridge too, with Nottinghamshire 357-6, a lead of 152. All set up for a fascinating third, and probably final day... weather permitting. And it's all over at Chelmsford where relegated Essex have closed on 103-1, a lead of 194.

1818: All over for the day at Grace Road, with Leicestershire on 147-1, a lead of 283, with Greg Smith unbeaten on 70.

From Matthew Rachel in the TMS inbox: "Re: 1727. As a Warwickshire supporter, we have already noticed this. But he has been a true Bear this season! A diamond in our attack. I am confident that he will be a true professional!"

From Gina, in Gloucestershire, in the TMS inbox: "Steve - Am I right in thinking that, if we (Hampshire) beat Kent, we are safe? If not, then the potential winner-stays-up showdown with Warwickshire is definitely on! I am happier by the way than I was at 10.30am this morning!"

Gina, my maths suggests you're nearly right. A Hampshire win over Kent and they will need just one point against the Bears to guarantee Division One cricket at The Rose Bowl next summer. And I'm sure everyone will be delighted that you're happier... Kent and Essex fans apart that is.

1805: Stumps at Canterbury where Hampshire have closed on 16-0, a lead of 38 over Kent.

Wicket falls
1800: I was just starting to think that everyone was playing for stumps... not at Trent Bridge where Yorkshire have picked up Adam Voges, the Aussie feathering a catch through to Gerard Brophy off Oliver Hannon-Dalby for 72. Notts 329-6, a lead of 124, and four overs to go.

Get involved on 606
From st_brendy on 606: "Re: 1727. I've been saying that all season. I just hope that we (Hampshire) win this match and secure our survival. Then whatever Tahir does with the ball, it won't send us down to Division Two. And unless Kent were to beat Yorkshire, Warwickshire also won't be looking at him to try and save them. Everyone's a winner (except Kent)."

From Ben, in Taunton, in the TMS inbox: "Re: Annoyed, Lancashire. Anderson doesn't get to play because he's in the ODI squad, so hasn't be released by England. Bad luck."

From Michael Moores in the TMS inbox: "Re: 1642, this season, for a change, we don't seem to have been too badly affected by the weather. Typically though we've lost ground in the title race on merit."

1745: At a turbulent time for Pakistan cricket, it's good to see that spinner Danish Kaneria has been cleared by police in an investigation into match irregularities.

1743: Sussex fans, I have a treat for you. If you missed the moment promotion was clinched, you can listen to it again here.

That's 50
1740: Not a good day for Essex, but England will at least be pleased that Alastair Cook has a half-century. Essex 89-1 second time around.

Get involved on 606
From sgtpotter89akaTheIncredibleSulk on 606: "Sounds like Notts are self destructing again, Wagh went for a big shot when he'd already hit a six in the over and now Brown has slashed a wide one off Shahzad through to Brophy."

1727: Just had an intriguing thought ahead of next week's games. Warwickshire go to Hampshire in a potential 'winner survives' clash with leg-spinner Imran Tahir in their side. The same Imran Tahir who is going to be plying his trade back at the Rose Bowl next season. How awkward must he feel?

From John, in the Garden of England, in the TMS inbox: "Re the England players being allowed to play for counties. Does it only apply to those involved yesterday? I'm undecided between Colin Cowdrey and Derek Underwood being drafted in to save Kent."

1720: All over for the day at Hove, where Sussex can enjoy the evening after securing promotion. Not too much, mind, as they still have a game and a title to win, with Northants 48-2, needing 208 more to make the hosts bat again. News of another wicket at Canterbury too, where Kent are all out for 182 to concede a lead of 22 to Hampshire. Warwickshire will be loving that, what with both sides picking up only one batting bonus point between them.

Wicket falls
1715: Advantage Yorkshire again at Trent Bridge as Ali Brown plays a loose shot at Shahzad and Gerard Brophy snaffles the catch behind the stumps. How crucial is the next partnership between Voges and Notts skipper Chris Read?

1712: The rain and bad light has beaten us at three of the games. At Taunton, Somerset close on 350-8, with four batting points in the bag and a lead of 91. It's over at The Oval and Lord's too. At The Oval, Glamorgan will resume in the morning on 72-2 in reply to Surrey's 380, while at headquarters Middlesex trail Worcestershire by 69 on 244-5.

Wicket falls
1708: Another wicket for Yorkshire, Ajmal Shahzad picking up new batsman Samit Patel. Crucially for Notts, Voges is still there with his side now 287-4, leading by 82.

From Ben Howarth in the TMS inbox: "Yesterday, both the BBC and Cricinfo reported the events at Canterbury as a good day for Kent... but I thought that Hampshire's 204 looked a very good score against Kent's increasingly embarrassing batting. Turns out to be the case, as Kent's ritual collapse has come. Even Darren Stevens' 60mph dobbers with the new ball won't get us out of this mess surely?"

Ben, what can I say...

1703: As soon as I type that, Matt Coles edges James Tomlinson behind. This gives Hampshire a third bowling point meaning that no matter what the result is at Canterbury, the highest Essex can finish in the Division One table is eighth.


Wicket falls
1656: Kent have lost another wicket at Canterbury, with Malinga Bandara's departure leaving them 150-8 against Hampshire. By my maths, another wicket, and hence another bonus point to Hampshire, would see Essex relegated.

Wicket falls
1648: Or is was... because no sooner had I hit save then Wagh lifted Adil Rashid to substitute fielder Rich Pyrah. BBC Radio Leeds' Dave Callaghan says Wagh picked out the wrong man. Too right!

That's 50
1646: Adam Voges has reached 50 for Nottinghamshire, who are now 278-2, a lead of 73. Mark Wagh is with him on 90, with their stand worth 91.

Rain delay
Bad light stops play
1642: Some more weather news for you. The bad light that hit Lord's has now hit The Oval, while rain has returned to Hove, where Northants are now 48-2. BBC Radio Lancashire's Scott Read also tells me that Taunton is being deluged by torrential rain. Is it me or does rain just follow those Lancastrians around?

Wicket falls
1635: A few wickets to let you know about. It's going wrong for Kent who have lost three wickets for four runs and are now 150-7, giving Hampshire a second bowling bonus point to edge Essex ever nearer to the relegation trap door. For those of you asking, Essex, who are 33-1 in their second innings, Billy Godleman the man out, will not be mathematically relegated until Hampshire pick up a third bowling point.

From Annoyed, Lancashire in the TMS inbox: "Following on from Kieswetter being able to play, can you explain why Jimmy Anderson therefore hasn't just taken 7-26 and bowled Somerset out for 120 including Kieswetter for a duck?"

1614: Heart in the mouth time for Notts at Trent Bridge. Yorkshire are convinced that Adam Voges has edged behind off Moin Ashraf but the Australian stands his ground and umpire Tim Robinson keeps his finger down.

1612: Don't tell me this intriguing day is going to finish as it started? Bad light has now forced the players off at Lord's and suddenly we're down to six games in play.

Rain delay
1611: Somerset were making good progress, but by the looks of things they must have had one eye on the Taunton weather as rain has now hit the ground and the players are off.

Wicket falls
1607: Sussex have a wicket as they now look to secure the Division Two title, Yasir Arafat bowling Stephen Peters. Northants are currently 36-1.

1603: We're still getting lots of queries about how Craig Kieswetter can play for Somerset today when he was helping England beat Pakistan in Cardiff yesterday. Can I refer you to the post at 1304?

1558: Tea time at Canterbury now where Kent are 124-4, and at The Oval where Glamorgan are 55-2. Somerset have put their foot down after tea and are now 338-8, while Notts are making their clash with Yorkshire very interesting at 224-2, a lead of 19. It might not be much, but from the position they were in this morning it could be significant.

From Tom Wilkinson in the TMS inbox: "As an avid follower of live text (for that read "unable to get the day off") on end-of-season days I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing for an 'as it stands' table so we can see how the race is shaping up mid-game. Seemed possible for the end of the footy season. Any chance ?"

Tom, Stephan did it last night, and rest assured I'll try and cobble something together for the close of play before I sign off. It's the least I can do.

Wicket falls
1549: Essex have done all they can with the ball for now to keep their wafer-thin survival hopes alive. Chris Wright removes Chris Rushworth for a duck to secure himself a five-wicket haul and leave Durham 177 all out. That's a handy first-innings lead of 91 for Essex and maximum bowling bonus points.

1545: Time to start doing a tea scoreboard round-up I reckon. Nottinghamshire's cuppa will certainly taste sweeter as they headed for the pavilion at 192-2. They're still playing at Chelmsford and Canterbury, and they're back out at Taunton. In Division Two, Leicestershire are 34-0, a lead of 170 over Gloucestershire, while Middlesex are 210-5, still 103 behind Worcestershire's first innings total. Finally at Hove, Northants are 22-0, needing 234 more to make promoted Sussex bat again.

1539: It's not just the County Championship reaching its climax, the Minor Counties Championship is too. Or should I say, has. Congratulations to Dorset, who have beaten Lincolnshire in the final.

1537: Thanks Stephan. It would appear that while I've been away the Notts fightback has moved on apace. Maybe they could still win the title this week after all. If you hit manual refresh then we can find out together.

By Stephan Shemilt

1533: That's me done for the day I'm afraid folks. I'll hand you back to Steve Marshall for the rest of the afternoon and will be with you again in the morning.

Wicket falls
1529: Wickets at Canterbury and The Oval too. Ashes winner Geraint Jones is the man to go for Kent, trapped lbw by Danny Briggs, while Stuart Meaker has a big wicket for Surrey by bowling the dangerous Mark Cosgrove.

Wicket falls
1523: Apologies, we've been experiencing a few technicals just at a time when Paul Franks was prized out by Adil Rashid for 79. Nottinghamshire now 194-2 and needing just 11 more to make Yorkshire bat again. Elsewhere, Somerset have gone to tea at 288-8 while Owais Shah has marked his last appearance at Lord's for Middlesex with a half-century.

From Toby Blood in the TMS inbox: "The title has swung now in Nottinghamshire's favour after some gutsy batting and Somerset's inability to build a first-innings lead."

Wicket falls
1508: More good news for Notts as Craig Kieswetter falls for 84 at Taunton, caught behind off Gary Keedy, who now has five wickets. Somerset are 284-8, a lead of 25.

That's 50
1506: Mark Wagh brings up his half-century as Notts move closer to going into a lead over Yorkshire. After yesterday's struggles, is the title again destined for Trent Bridge?

1503: If you're wondering what's going on at Canterbury, the answer is very little. Kent are crawling along at less than two an over to be 75-2, 129 behind Hampshire.

Wicket falls
1458: More wickets and this time they are at Taunton. Peter Trego is pinned lbw by Gary Keedy for 51 with Jos Buttler falling the same way from the very next delivery. The Cidermen are 271-7 and lead by 12. At Hove, Sussex are 381 all out.

Wicket falls
1453: Wickets at The Oval and Hove. Chris Tremlett has trapped Gareth Rees lbw to leave Glamorgan 22-1, while Monty Panesar becomes the ninth Sussex wicket to fall. It's 381-9 on the south coast.

That's 50
1451: Peter Trego has passed 50 at Taunton and Somerset now have a first-innings lead over Lancashire. Franks and Wagh still going at Trent Bridge.

1443: Ben Harmison continues to defy Essex. He is 53 not out in Durham's 135-8 at Chelmsford. In Division Two, Gloucestershire have been bowled out for 159 to trail Leicestershire by 136.

From Tricky Dicky in the TMS inbox: "Couldn't agree more about Peter Trego's comments (see 1428). Somerset are the form side in one-day cricket bar none, and with home advantage will start as firm favourites on Saturday. Only the weather may beat them. Also, there is a distinct lack of updates from Taunton. No mention of Kieswetter making a half-century. Chop chop."
That's me told. Kieswetter has now moved on to 72 and, in a sixth-wicket stand of 87 with Trego, is on the verge of taking Somerset past Lancashire's 259.

1437: Notts really are fighting back well at Trent Bridge. Paul Franks and Mark Wagh have taken their second-wicket stand past the 100 mark to cut Yorkshire's lead to less than 50.

From Andrew in Manchester, in the TMS inbox: "Seeing that handover there I have just noticed your name is actually Stephan and not Stephen. Having previously had a friend called Stephan I feel slightly ashamed to not have noticed this before. He used to get most upset with people calling him Stephen, do you have this problem?
Yes, frequently. I also get called Stephanie a lot.

1428: With the Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-finals coming up on Saturday, I'm keen to know what you think of what Peter Trego has had to say for himself.

1424: A couple of updates from the sides who still have an outside chance of winning promotion from Division Two. Gloucestershire have slipped to 155-8 in reply to Leicestershire's 295, while Worcestershire have reduced Middlesex to 137-4.

Jacob on 606: "The problem with bonus points is that they don't account for different pitches. Low-scoring matches can be completely one sided (say if 270 beats two innings of 130) and yet that side would lose out on bonus points."

BBC London's Mark Church at The Oval: "Surrey 380 all out. The sun has fled South London. Tremlett v Cosgrove will be very interesting."

That's 50
1417: Makeshift opener Paul Franks (who came in for quite a lot of stick yesterday) moves past 50 at Trent Bridge. Already-promoted Sussex lose their eighth wicket, with Yasir Arafat on his way back to the hutch. 358-8.

1413: Thanks Steve. I think we can all agree that the climax to the County Championship season is proving to be more exciting than the non-event of a Twenty20 international in Cardiff last night. Can you all do me a favour and hit manual refresh please? Thanks.

By Steve Marshall

1411: Right, after seeing Sussex over the finishing line, I'm off for a break. I'll be leaving you in the safe wicketkeeping hands of Stephan Shemilt.

Wicket falls
1407: Essex's Tony Palladino makes Phil Mustard his third lbw victim of the innings to reduce Durham to 103-6, while Gina will be delighted to know that Dominic Cork has pinned Rob Key leg before at Canterbury. Kent are now 44-2.

Promotion is assured
1402: They've had a wobble but Ollie Rayner squirts the ball away to take Sussex to 350 and the fourth batting bonus point that guarantees promotion back to Division One at the first time of asking.


From Brian Fletcher in TMS inbox: "Are you the same Steve Marshall that fitted a boiler in our house?"

Sorry Brian, it wasn't me. I didn't used to be chief executive of Railtrack either.

Wicket falls
1348: Talk about stumbling over the finishing line as Middlebrook removes Andrew Hodd to leave Sussex 334-7 - still 16 short of guaranteeing promotion. Elsewhere, Paul Franks has opened his shoulders to take Notts to 88-1, while Scott Newman is out for 78 at Lord's. Middlesex are 114-3.

Wicket falls
1352: Sussex are doing their best to collapse here. Sales picks up his third catch of the innings to remove Brown off James Middlebrook. Sussex have gone from 323-2 to 325-6. What is it about collapses over the past couple of weeks?

1340: Well, Gina, I can confirm that Kent and Hampshire are now underway at Canterbury so we have play in all eight of our games.

From Gina in Gloucestershire in TMS inbox: "Steve - I am nervous, terribly nervous. My Hampshire boys are contriving to grab relegation from the jaws of safety. I am so nervous I actually managed to put on an odd pair of shoes today. They are both black with similar heels, but one is suede, the other not. My boss has delighted in making comments about 'taking the rough with the smooth'. Come on Corky, please take five quick ones for me today please!"

Wicket falls
1329: Yorkshire have a breakthrough as Alex Hales departs. Notts 56-1.

Out for a duck
1325: Surely Sussex aren't getting nervous? Either way, Matt Prior's gone too, this time caught by David Sales off Lucas, who has three wickets in four balls.

From BBC London's Mark Church at The Oval: "Excellent news, underway after lunch and a much brighter picture in South London."

Wicket falls
1320: Chris Nash isn't going to be in the middle when Sussex win promotion as he gives Stephen Peters a catch off David Lucas. And wouldn't you know it, one brings two as Murray Goodwin departs for a golden duck. Sussex 323-4.

Get involved on 606
From SportingNonsense 606: "How can Notts be leading the Championship and not have an opening stand of at least 50 in 14 matches?"

Further update from Canterbury - due to start at 1330.

1312: Right, we're back underway everywhere bar Canterbury. But we should have play there soon.

1310: Wow, that was quick, BBC Radio Kent have just got back in touch and play is due to begin soon. Lunch was taken on time, the covers are now off, stumps are in and players are warming up. Clearly the inspection was earlier than I was led to believe. Either that or Kent have the best groundstaff in the country - or both.

1304: For those of you wondering what's going on at Canterbury, I've just been told by BBC Radio Kent that the covers are still on but that the umpires are due to inspect imminently. I'll bring you more details when I get them.

From David Craven in TMS inbox: "How can Craig Kieswetter be playing for Somerset, when he was playing for England last night!!!! Was he on the pitch yesterday fielding?"

You're not the only one to raise this David, so thanks to all of you for getting in touch. The answer is that county sides with England players who are being made available are allowed to name 12 players, with one pre-named to drop out when that player, in this case Kieswetter, becomes available. Hope that makes sense.

From Charlie Parry in TMS inbox: "Re Paul, Lancs: Paul - in that scenario, we're set for a few years of over inflated and increasingly wonderful stories, all before it comes crashing down around us and Ben Dirs being heralded as some sort of hate figure minus the excessive pension. Cricinfo will come and bail the Live Text out and we'll be forced to endure factual up to the minute scores. Long live recklessness."

From BBC Radio Leeds' Dave Callaghan at Trent Bridge: "Lunch at day two and a better effort by Notts. However Yorkshire remain firm favourites to win this crucial encounter. Andrew Gale made 151 not out and that is a career best for the Yorkshire skipper. Yorkshire will need to be patient as Notts have reduced the arrears to 160 as they reach lunch on 45 for no wicket."

1238: Lunch now being taken everywhere. Durham have reached the interval on 72-5, with Ben Harmison unbeaten on 31, while in Division Two, Surrey are 343-7 and at Hove, Sussex have gone in at 316-2, Chris Nash on 163. I would even dare to suggest that Sussex could even have a drop of bubbly with their sarnies as Gloucestershire lost two quick wickets before the break to go in on 117-6, a mere 283 away from collecting the maximum batting points that would be necessary to keep Sussex 'honest' and needing 350 to guarantee promotion.

1231: Nottinghamshire go to lunch on 45-0, still 160 behind, with Alex Hales unbeaten on 19 and Paul Franks 12. Unbelievably, it's Notts' biggest opening stand of the season in the Championship. Also lunch at Taunton, where Somerset are 133-4, and at Lord's with Middlesex 77-2.

Wicket falls
1229: Glamorgan have themselves a wicket just before lunch too, James Allenby bowling Gareth Batty. Surrey now 341-7.

Wicket falls
1225: Lunch is fast approaching but Lancashire have another wicket at Taunton as Gary Keedy pins James Hildreth in front to win the lbw decision. Meanwhile, at Hove, Sussex are past 300, so another batting bonus point is in the bag. Just one more needed now for Murray Goodwin's side.

From Paul, in Lancs, in TMS inbox: "A request for details of people's batting collapse experience will inevitably lead to a mad 'race to the bottom', as readers compete with each other for the biggest possible collapse, most of which won't be true. In this respect, the world of TMS Live text is akin to the world economy, in which countries compete to offer the best tax advantages by providing ever more fantastic projections on their economic benefit, thus undermining the overall socio-economic infrastructure. Your intemperate request may well lead to the total collapse of TMS Live Text credibility in the internet-based cricket commentary marketplace, and mean Ben Dirs is thrown out of work. I just hope you can live with yourself, mate."

Hadn't quite thought of it like that Paul, but hopefully Ben will forgive me.

Get involved on 606
From pollyowls on 606: "Can it be right that Yorks pick up only two bonus points more than Notts for a first innings lead of 205? Bonus points need an overhaul - what about an additional three points for a first innings lead?"

From Mat Hudson in TMS inbox: "What is going on at Essex??? Chelmsford is normally a road! The double is still on!"

That might be getting a little carried away, Mat. But there's no harm in dreaming.

Wicket falls
1206: You know I mentioned that Durham were recovering? Well, they've lost another as Tony Palladino cleans up Ian Blackwell to leave the reigning champions 58-5. Palladino currently has 3-22.

He's reached 150
1203: Chris Nash is certainly determined to make sure Sussex clinch promotion this afternoon. He's just reached his 150 with his 18th boundary. He's got a good conversion rate this summer, with one half-century and three hundreds in first-class cricket.

1200: Quick round-up of scores me thinks. Durham, who were 5-4, are now 47-4, Championship leaders Notts are making a better fist of it second time around at 13-0, Somerset are 107-3. In Division Two, Sussex are going great guns on 270-2, Middlesex are 55-2 and Gloucestershire 96-3. Still no play at Canterbury, but we're due a start at The Oval soon.

From BBC London's Mark Church at The Oval: "Starting at 12. Situation much brighter. Excellent news - 30 minutes of cricket before lunch."

Get involved on 606
From claytop on 606: "Last season the village team I was playing for got bowled out for 9, extras top scored with 3! And one bowler's figures were 10 overs, 8 maidens, 10 wickets for 2 runs!"

1151: Leicestershire have their first wicket of the morning as Matthew Hoggard has Jonathan Batty caught behind. Gloucestershire are 81-3. Meanwhile, at Hove, Ben Brown gets a life when he edges and is dropped.

From BBC London's Mark Church at The Oval: "Still nothing as yet. Light being monitored."

From Rob, in Cheshire, in TMS inbox: "I was a member of the Sharow team in the top quality Wath League who were all out for 9 against RAF Leeming - and four of those were byes! The wicket wasn't up to much as the boys in blue lost five wickets getting past our total."

Anyone call in the pitch inspector Rob? Not quite like playing on the 'road' at Taunton, eh?

1139: Out of nowhere, they're underway at Hove and Sussex aren't messing around, moving on to 252-2 to pick up a second batting bonus point. One down, two more to go to guarantee promotion.

1135: Sorry packofwolves, but Steve Finn won't be making a century today. Run out for three. He got some time in the middle, though, facing 32 balls. Middlesex are currently 25-1.

From William Feech in TMS inbox: "If I may be so bold, I'd like to brag about being the instigator of a spectacular batting collapse back in the 20th century in a Year 7 v Year 6 showdown. Bowling from the Bobbly Goalmouth End, I took 7-2 off my three overs and the Year 6s were skittled for a mere 24. I was, however, left disappointed that my maverick tail-end swiping was not required in order to chase down the total although the lunch that my mum had packed did feature a Club and a couple of custard creams."

I'm sure all these brilliant tales will be making Messrs Smith and Mustard feel much better about their sides' batting woes. Keep them coming.

From Brian Earl in TMS inbox: "If you play for Bride Vale CC in West Dorset on a Sunday afternoon, then 5-4 isn't a bad little platform at all. The only difference is that none of our runs would have come off the bat."

Wicket falls
1126: Saj Mahmood ends Alfonso Thomas' resistance and Somerset are 72-3. Looks like 'game on' at Taunton.

Wicket falls
1123: Yorkshire's innings comes to an end as Moin Ashraf departs first ball to give Andre Adams six wickets. Yorkshire all out for 264, Andrew Gale finishing unbeaten on 151. That's a small matter of a first innings lead of 205.

From Luke Whittaker in TMS inbox: "Almondsbury CC bowled out a team for 17 the other week. Wides top scored with 14!"

Nice strokeplayer, that chap Wides.

1119: Play is underway at Grace Road, so it's just the south east of England still under a cloud. Durham are threatening a recovery at 12-4.

From BBC Radio Nottingham's Dave Bracegirdle at Trent Bridge: "Notts get their third bowling point - so straw-clutching, I know - but it means that whatever happens now in this match they will go into their final match of the season still clear at the top of the table!"

Looks like we're underway at Trent Bridge then...

Out for a duck
1113: Can you believe this Essex fans? Can you believe this Durham fans? Wright uproots Dale Benkenstein's off stump and Durham are 5-4. Must be just like being at Bristol last week. Anybody dare admit to being part of collapses like this/that?

1110: Essex fans might be interested to know that Matt Walker has signed a one-year contract extension at Chelmsford. And if you're thinking of having a flutter on Steve Finn making a ton then you might be waiting a while - he's currently unbeaten on two off 21 balls.

Out for a duck
1106: It's only the third over at Chelmsford and Essex have a bowling bonus point as Tony Palladino raps Mark Stoneman on the pads and the umpire's finger goes up. Durham now 3-3!

Wicket falls
1103: Dream start for Essex as Chris Wright has Gordon Muchall caught at backward point by Jaik Mickleburgh. Durham 3-2. James Foster's side seem to be enjoying the overcast conditions.

From packofwolves on 606: "I wonder what odds you could get on Steve Finn scoring a hundred as opener?"

Wicket falls
1055: Major breakthrough for Essex. Michael di Venuto does a KP and is back in the hutch for a second-ball duck, trapped leg before by Tony Palladino.

From BBC London's Kevin Hand at Lord's: "Play to start at 11, amazing decision as the light doesn't appear to have improved at all."

From BBC Radio Nottingham's Dave Bracegirdle at Trent Bridge: "Glorious day now - the sun has burnt away the cloud cover. Umpires will have a cursory look at 11.00, with a view to starting at quarter past!"

Is that the news you wanted to hear Notts fans, or are rain dances the order of the day in downtown Nottingham?

Wicket falls
1046: All over for Essex at Chelmsford as Max Osborne edges Liam Plunkett behind to Phil Mustard and walks. Essex all out for 268, but that's 20 good runs added this morning. Somerset have also lost a wicket, and it's Arul Suppiah rather than nightwatchman Alfonso Thomas. They're now 57-2.

From John Bicknell in TMS inbox: "Re: Criztof on 606. Need to check your scores more thoroughly - there was a superb 122no scored off only 137 balls by Chris Nash of Sussex."

From BBC London's Kevin Hand at Lord's: "Very misty around Lord's and no sign of play anytime soon. Looks like it could be one of those days."

1040: Confirmation of a delayed start at Grace Road too because of bad light. All eyes on Chelmsford and Taunton then...

From BBC Radio Nottingham's Dave Bracegirdle at Trent Bridge: "Sun just starting to pierce through the heavy overhead conditions and the outer covers now being removed - with the umpires having a quick peep. The cones and discs are being put out on the outfield, so there may be a first sight of the players shortly. Possibly around 45 minutes to a start but no official confirmation yet."

Well, that's encouraging if you're a Yorkshire fan.

1035: Essex are past 250 and a second potentially crucial batting bonus point is in the bag. News also filtering through that bad light has delayed the start at The Oval.

1030: Mixed news I'm afraid folks. We're back underway at Chelmsford and Taunton. But there's delayed starts at Canterbury, Trent Bridge, Lord's and Hove because of a combination of rain and bad light.

Get involved on 606
From hopeforthebest on 606: "If teams end up level on points how is it decided who is relegated? Looking at the bottom four in Div 1, this is a possible scenario."

Good question, and one we'll try and clear up straight away. First and foremost, teams level on points will be separated by number of wins, which could work to Warwickshire's advantage. Beyond that the ECB's County Championship regulations come in handy.

From BBC London's Mark Church at The Oval: "Gloomy but no rain. Entertaining first day... more of the same today with a bit of luck and a following wind."

From BBC Radio Nottingham's Dave Bracegirdle at Trent Bridge: "There's heavy mist and fog hanging over the centre of Nottingham and a really damp feel to the air. With the square still covered and the players not having started their warm-ups, a delayed start is inevitable."

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From Criztof on 606: "On a low scoring day, with bowlers dominating across the country, I can't praise Andrew Gale enough - what an innings. To be the only centurion of the day (although Rory Hamilton-Brown did come close) and, under those circumstances, to do it with a strike rate of over 80 was exceptional."

1008: So, where do we stand? Well, Andrew Gale is only three away from 150 after playing a real captain's innings for Yorkshire at Trent Bridge. And Sussex should be promoted today. They needed eight points at the start of the game to book their return to Division One, and now need a maximum of seven after Worcestershire failed to pick up maximum batting points. With four bonus points in the bag already, three more batting points will do it. At 236-2, that's 114 more runs.

1000: Morning everyone. Welcome to day two of the penultimate round of County Championship matches. Phew, we had some stories yesterday didn't we? Leaders Nottinghamshire skittled for 59, KP out for a second-ball duck on his first-class Surrey debut and Steve Finn opening the batting for Middlesex. Can't wait to find out what today has in store...

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see also
County Championship 2010 climax
12 Sep 10 |  Counties
County cricket commentaries
26 Mar 10 |  Counties
Guide to county cricket
06 Apr 11 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket

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