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National Counties Championship day 2 review - round 4

17 Aug 2021

Staffordshire routed Cambridgeshire for the second time in as many days to secure a record-breaking victory by an innings and 275 runs in the National Counties Championship Eastern Division One at Longton. 

It was the biggest winning margin in Staffordshire’s history, bettering the innings and 268 runs victory they recorded against Dorset at the old County Ground in Stoke in 1904. It was also the biggest margin of victory anywhere in the competition since 1937 when Surrey Second XI trounced Devon by an innings and 296 runs at Exeter. 

It will come as scant consolation to Cambridgeshire that this was not their heaviest defeat – Hertfordshire beat them by an innings and 338 runs in 1923 – as they were again dismissed for under 100, with their second innings 87 spanning 48-and-a-half overs. 

The accuracy of Staffordshire’s bowling meant that Cambridgeshire were kept under pressure with only Ben Seabrook, who carried his bat for 42 from 134, showing the patience and application to survive for long. 

Although rain cut short the morning session, there was time for Staffordshire captain Peter Wilshaw to plunder his 15thChampionship century, accelerating from his overnight 23 not out to 102 in 24 balls. 

There were six sixes during Wilshaw’s onslaught and four more from Rob Hemmings who then took three wickets to help wrap up victory with four full sessions to spare. 

Staffordshire banked maximum points to revive their hopes of topping the table and reaching next month’s final at Tring. To do so they will need to beat Suffolk in their final match at Copdock, which starts on Sunday, and hope that Cambridgeshire do them a favour by putting up stiffer resistance against Norfolk at Wisbech. 

Suffolk went top of the division by beating Lincolnshire by an innings and 78 runs inside two days at Sleaford, a result that leaves Lincolnshire, who have now completed their four-match programme, dependent on Cambridgeshire not beating Norfolk to avoid relegation. 

Suffolk’s win was based on solid batting down the order with five of their top six making half centuries including Ben Parker and Ben Shepperson who combined in fifth wicket partnership of 89. 

Suffolk had a commanding lead of 244 and scoreboard pressure eventually told on Lincolnshire who slipped from 125 for three to 166 all out inside 19 overs. 

Joe Kendall (49) and Dan Freeman (47) led Lincolnshire’s resistance but once they departed the end came quickly against disciplined bowling. 

Berkshire’s 36-match unbeaten record - which stretches back to August 2014 -  is under threat after Oxfordshire dismissed them for 140 and then turned a first innings lead of 154 into 419 by the close thanks to a composed century from Ollie Ebsworth-Burland on his home club ground at Thame. 

Ebsworth-Burland also made a second innings century on his only previous appearance for Oxfordshire – also at Thame – two years ago and, having made 81 in the first innings of this match he again prospered against a Berkshire side hoping to win the Championship for a record fifth consecutive time. 

Ebsworth-Burland made 117 from 192 balls and shared a fifth wicket stand of 85 with his captain Jonny Cater (66) before both fell to the off-spin of Euan Woods. 

Earlier Gareth Andrew took five for 39 - his fifth five wicket haul for Oxfordshire – with Josh Lincoln (43) and Woods (42) the main contributors in Berkshire’s first innings. 

Former Yorkshire and Derbyshire slow left-armer David Wainwright made a maiden century in the competition for Cheshire against Wiltshire at Alderley Edge. 

Wainwright passed his previous Championship-best of 95 and finished on 102 not out from 250 balls to help Cheshire to 294 all out and a lead of 148. 

Opener Henry Dobson made 52 on his debut for Cheshire and Ben Gibbon followed up his five wicket haul in Wiltshire’s first innings with 44 in a ninth wicket partnership of 94 with Wainwright. 

Former Northamptonshire and Glamorgan batsman James Kettleborough scored his second century in as many Championship innings to put Eastern Division Two leaders Bedfordshire firmly in control against Northumberland at Jesmond. 

George Darlow again contributed useful lower order runs – 46 not out from 47 balls – to take Bedfordshire to 378 all out before Northumberland collapsed either side of fourth wicket partnership of 107 between Jack Burnham and Tom Cant. 

Durham batsman Burnham made 54 in his first innings for Northumberland in four years and Cant 53 but Alasdair Appleby was the only other batsman to make double figures as slow left-armer Tom Brett tied them in knots, taking five for 18 in ten overs. 

Northumberland fared better when they followed on 230 in arrears with John Oswell making 47 before he was caught behind, one of three more victims for Brett. 

Buckinghamshire’s hopes of overtaking Bedfordshire and winning promotion suffered a setback after they were dismissed for 149 by Cumbria at Furness. 

Slow left-armer Matt Sempill took five for 32 which helped Cumbria earn a first innings lead of 148 which they had more than doubled by the close. 

Three wickets from Cameron Parsons checked Cumbria’s progress but captain Gary Pratt countered with 40 not out.  

Former Glamorgan off-spinner Kieran Bull took ten wickets in the match but it may not be enough to save Wales NC from defeat against Herefordshire at Eastnor in Western Division Two. 

Bull took five for 70 to finish with match figures of ten for 129 but a half century from Zain Ul Hassan and 46 from Barney Morgan, who shared an eighth wicket partnership of 94, tilted the game in Herefordshire’s favour. 

Seamer Morgan then took three for ten to reduce Wales to 57 for four in pursuit of a victory target of 277. 

Shropshire fought back well against Cornwall at Bridgnorth where wicketkeeper Ben Lees made a maiden half century on his home club ground. 

Lees had made only 17 runs in his previous four innings in the competition but he helped Xavier Clarke (78) take Shropshire from 102 for six to 243 all out. 

Cornwall wobbled at the start of their second innings but ended the day 171 ahead with six wickets remaining. 


National Counties Championship (Day 2 of 3) 

Eastern Division One
Sleaford: Lincolnshire 160 (Matt Wareing 5-28) & 166, Suffolk  404-8 (Kyran Young 84, Joe Gatting 84, Ben Parker 58, Ben Shepperson 55, Darren Ironside 54). Suffolk (24pts) beat Lincolnshire (3pts) by an innings and 78 runs.
Longton: Cambridgeshire 40 (James Cox 4-5, Alex Coates 4-25) & 87, Staffordshire 402-6 dec (Peter Wilshaw 102 not out, Zen Malik 102, Michael Hill 88). Staffordshire (24pts) beat Cambridgeshire (2pts) by an innings and 275 runs. 

Eastern Division Two
Furness: Cumbria 297 (Sam Dutton 56, Paul Hindmarch 52) & 156-6, Buckinghamshire 149 (Stephen Croft 57, Matt Sempill 5-32).
Jesmond: Bedfordshire 378 (James Kettleborough 106, George Thurstance 74 not out), Northumberland 148 (Jack Burnham 54, Tom Cant 53) & 100-4 

Western Division One
Alderley Edge: Wiltshire 146 (Ben Gibbon 5-43), Cheshire 294 (David Wainwright 102 not out, Henry Dobson 52).
Thame: Oxfordshire 294-8 dec (Ollie Ebsworth-Burland 81, George Tait 71) & 265-6 (Ollie Ebsowrth-Burland 117, Jonny Cater 66, Euan Woods 5-97), Berkshire 140 (Gareth Andrew 5-39). 

Western Division Two
Eastnor: Herefordshire 165 (Kieran Bull 5-59) & 239 (Zain Ul Hassan 69, Kieran Bull 5-70), Wales NC 128 (Awais Mohammed 5-52) & 57-4
Bridgnorth: Cornwall 317 (Olly Westbury 124 not out, Matt Robins 73, Graham Wagg 6-53) & 107-4, Shropshire 243 (Xavier Clarke 78, Ben Lees 50).

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