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County Championship: Somerset close in on Division One; Hampshire move ahead against Gloucestershire

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Somerset on course for Division One cricket after passing 400 against Surrey; Hampshire move ahead against Gloucestershire in crunch clash at Cheltenham; no play possible between Yorkshire and Lancashire due to wet weather at Emerald Headingley

Ben Green's 43 helped Somerset past 400 against Surrey at The Kia Oval

Ben Green’s 43 helped Somerset past 400 against Surrey at The Kia Oval

​​​​Somerset took a significant step towards qualifying for Division One of the LV= Insurance County Championship on a weather-reduced second day against Surrey at The Kia Oval.

Somerset will qualify for the top-flight stage if they avoid defeat in London and look well-placed to achieve that after making 429 all out in their first innings before Surrey closed day two on 24-0 from six overs with the final 37 overs lost to rain.

The visitors had resumed on 280-6 and added 149 more runs thanks to contributions from Roelof van der Merwe (41), Ben Green (43), Jack Leach (28no) and Marchant de Lange (29) down the order.

    Surrey vs Somerset scorecard

Surrey – who must win to stand any chance of climbing into the top two in Group 2 – saw spinners Amar Virdi (3-86) and Daniel Moriarty (2-109) share the final four Somerset wickets before openers Rory Burns (18no) and Mark Stoneman (4no) made it through to the early stumps unscathed.

Off-spinner Amar Virdi finished with three wickets for Surrey Off-spinner Amar Virdi finished with three wickets for Surrey

Gloucestershire and Hampshire are the other sides vying for the top two in Group 2 – and it is visitors Hampshire who hold the advantage at Cheltenham after day two. Gloucs vs Hants scorecard

Joe Weatherley (78) and Ian Holland (74) shared an opening stand of 174 for Hampshire, who closed on 270-5 to lead Gloucestershire by 41 runs.

The hosts took five wickets for 58 runs once Holland was dismissed but are now playing catch up in a game they cannot afford to lose.

Ian Holland's half-century has helped Hampshire earn a first-innings lead over Gloucestershire Ian Holland’s half-century has helped Hampshire earn a first-innings lead over Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire were second heading into the final round of fixtures but will be overtaken by Hampshire if they suffer defeat in this crunch game.

Elsewhere, Leicestershire seamer Will Davis bowled his side back into contention on day two against Middlesex with 5-66.

Davis sliced through Middlesex’s lower and middle order and also dismissed opener Sam Robson (154) to prompt a collapse from 280-3 to 324 all out before the Foxes closed on 174-5 to trail by 150 at Merchant Taylors’ School in Northwood. Middlesex vs Leics scorecard

Tim Murtagh (3-34) took two early wickets for Middlesex as Leicestershire slipped to 52-3 but captain Colin Ackermann (65no) steadied the ship, adding 97 with Josh Inglis (49) for the fourth wicket.

In Group 3, no play was possible in the Roses clash between Yorkshire and Lancashire at Emerald Headingley, where the visitors remain 273-2 after 96 overs, a total underpinned by Keaton Jennings’ 132.

Yorkshire and Lancashire have already qualified for Division One but there is still a lot riding on this game. Yorks vs Lancs scorecard

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Teams who qualify from the same group will not face each other again in the second phase but will take half the points already accumulated against that side into their final tally.

Lancashire thumped Yorkshire by an innings at Emirates Old Trafford earlier this season, which is also the venue for the sides’ Sky Live Vitality Blast encounter on Saturday evening.

Also in Group 3, Glamorgan are 52-2 in reply to Northamptonshire’s total of 215 after a rain-abridged day in Cardiff.

The hosts only needed to take nine wickets in the innings with Northants’ Gareth Berg (ankle) absent injured and four of them were snared by spinner Andrew Salter (4-18). Glamorgan vs Northants scorecard

Northants had resumed on 128-4 and Saif Zaib turned his unbeaten 18 into a half-century before he was caught off Salter by Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne at short cover.

Labuschagne (17no) and Billy Root (6no) are unbeaten for Glamorgan after the home side lost openers Joe Cooke (16) and David Lloyd (13).

Meanwhile, just 80 minutes of action took place at Canterbury as Covid-affected Kent moved on to 122-7 against Sussex to cut the visitors’ lead to 59. Kent vs Sussex scorecard

Kent had named five first-class debutants in this game with a host of their first-team squad in isolation and that increased to six on Monday with Bailey Wightman coming in for Nathan Gilchrist, who was told to isolate.

Kent lost Harry Finch early on day two to slip to 69-6 but rallied,# thanks to a half-century stand for the seventh wicket between Harry Podmore (37) – who was dropped on seven and 14 before falling late in the day – and Hamid Qadri (12no)

In Group 1, day two of Durham vs Nottinghamshire was entirely washed out, meaning Durham are still 312-9. Durham vs Notts scorecard

Nottinghamshire top Group 1 and a draw or a win will ensure their progression, with Durham needing a win to keep their hopes alive.

Essex’s hopes are all-but over after their game with Derbyshire was abandoned due to a Derbyshire player testing positive for Covid-19 and the Midlanders’ squad going into self-isolation.

It has not yet been confirmed how the points will be distributed in that game but Essex needed a victory to stand a chance of moving from fourth spot and into the top two.

Warwickshire claimed four batting points to strengthen their hopes of a top-two finish despite a six-wicket haul by spinner New Zealand spinner Ish Sodhi on his first-class debut for Worcestershire at New Road.

A half century from Bears captain Will Rhodes (60), with good support from Matt Lamb (44) and the lower order, helped his side advance from their overnight 245-4 to 395 all out. Worcs vs Warks scorecard

Sodhi, an ever present for Worcestershire Rapids during their Vitality Blast campaign, marked his first-ever red-ball game in England by taking the last five wickets to end with 6-89 from 30.2 overs.

Worcestershire opener Daryl Mitchell then hit his highest score of the summer – an unbeaten 83 – as his side reached 152-2 in reply.

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