Frizzell County Championship Division Two in 2005

Frizzell County Championship Division Two in 2005

In the 2005 English cricket season, the Second Division of the Frizzell County Championship was contested between the following county cricket teams:

* Derbyshire (finished 8th in the 2004 season)
* Durham (finished 9th in the 2004 season)
* Essex (finished 5th in the 2004 season)
* Lancashire (finished 8th in Division One in the 2004 season and were relegated)
* Leicestershire (finished 6th in the 2004 season)
* Northamptonshire (finished 9th in Division One in the 2004 season and were relegated)
* Somerset (finished 4th in the 2004 season)
* Worcestershire (finished 7th in Division One in the 2004 season and were relegated)
* Yorkshire (finished 7th in the 2004 season)

Before the season Lancashire, Worcestershire and Essex were widely perceived to be the major challengers for the title. Lancashire, historically one of the stronger sides in the County Championship, had been embarrassingly relegated after internal struggles in the team and supporters regarded anything but instant promotion back to the top division as unacceptable.


The table, showing all completed matches is as follows:

Round three

Derbyshire v Northamptonshire (27-30 April)

"Northamptonshire (12pts) drew with Derbyshire (6pts)"

Northamptonshire batted first at Derby, and openers Bilal Shafayat and Martin Love took them to the sword, though Derbyshire dropped them both. Shafayat finished the first day unbeaten on a career-best 156 from 267 balls; Love was on 129 off 233 balls; Northants were on 292.

Shafayat added only 5 to his overnight score before being lbw, but Love went on to 168. Northamptonshire finally declared on 451 for 7. In reply, Derbyshire regularly lost wickets, finishing the second day on 135 for 4. On the third day, Johann Louw took 6 for 71 to force Derbyshire to follow on 210 in arrears. However, Derbyshire fared much better in their second innings - with both openers undefeated and their score on 119, 91 behind with one day to play. Rain then wiped out the final day's play. [ (BBC scorecard)]

omerset v Essex (27-30 April)

"Essex (22pts) beat Somerset (2pts) by nine wickets"

On 35 overs were possible on the first day. On a green Taunton pitch, Somerset fared poorly against Essex's seam attack. Alex Tudor, who had moved from Surrey, took the first two wickets, including Marcus Trescothick for 4. Somerset were on 119 for 5 at stumps.

Somerset were soon dismissed on the Thursday for 190. Essex's youngsters, Alastair Cook, who looked to be headed for an England call-up before long, and Ravinder Bopara, aged 20 and 19 respectively, made merry with the bat. Although the pitch did not seam as much as the first day, they put on 181 together. Cook was finally out bowled for 111, and Bopara not out for 71 at close, with Essex on 224 for 3, 34 runs ahead.

Bopara could not add to his overnight total on the third day, as he was caught off Richard Johnson's bowling. But Essex were able to take control, finally declaring on 427 for 8 when Tudor was run out for 57. Somerset's fast bowlers, Johnson and Andrew Caddick had picked up three wickets each, but had not been able to stop the flow of runs. Foster was not out on 78 when the declaration came. In reply, Somerset fared okay till Trescothick went with the score on 57, and then, at 65 for 1, Andre Adams, Essex's New Zealand import took a hat-trick. Michael Burns edged an outswinger, and Sanath Jayasuriya and James Hildreth were both leg before. With Adams picking up one more wicket before the close of play, Somerset finished on 128 for 5, still 109 runs off making Essex bat again.

On the Saturday, Somerset's tail was quickly reduced to 180 for 8. There was then something of a rearguard action with 63 put on by Caddick and Robert Turner for the ninth wicket, and Turner and Nixon McLean putting on 70 for the tenth. This left Essex with a target of 77 to win, which they did easily with the loss of just one wicket. [ (BBC scorecard)]

Worcestershire v Lancashire (27-30 April)

"Lancashire (17pts) beat Worcestershire (6pts) by 76 runs"

Lancashire batted first after losing the toss at Worcester, and were soon in trouble. At 81 for 3, Andrew Flintoff, playing his first first-class match after returning from injury, came to the crease. However, after facing 5 balls he was back in the Pavilion without scoring. It got worse for Lancashire as they fell to 97 for 6 and 196 all out, mostly thanks to an unbeaten 69 from wicket-keeper Warren Hegg. In reply, Worcestershire lost Stephen Moore early, but Graeme Hick and Stephen Peters were there at close, with Worcestershire on 59 for 1.

Hick dominated the second day's play as he moved from 32 not out to 176 in 231 balls, his 127th first-class century and his 97th for Worcestershire. This now puts him tenth in the list of all-time century makers, just ahead of WG Grace. However, no other Worcester player scored more than 27 as Muttiah Muralitharan picked up 5 wickets, and they finished on 306, 110 ahead. Lancashire were 47 for 1 in reply at stumps.

There was cheer for England fans on the third day, as the England regular Flintoff was back to his belligerent best, scoring 83 from 101 balls. Stuart Law also made 83, but was slower, taking 152 balls. With support from Dominic Cork (57), Lancashire were able to set a fair target. Their 377 left Worcestershire 268 to win. They lost Peters first ball, and Moore also fell, but with Lancashire pitching short to Hick, it was 58 for 2 at close.

On the final day, 3 wickets from each of Dominic Cork and Muttiah Muralitharan helped dismiss Worcestershire for 191 runs, with David Wigley unable to bat because of a broken hand sustained when James Anderson bowled a beamer at him in the first innings. After the match Cork talking about his match performance of 7 for 115 said, "The ball is coming out well at the moment. I've worked hard with Mike Watkinson over the winter with it. It's early season and these sort of conditions suit a bowler like myself." Watkinson, in response, spoke of Lancashire's determination to get straight back into the first Division after the disappointment of relegation last season, ""We talked about the start of the season and the need to start well and to get a positive number in the wins column is a good feeling. We have two home games now coming up against Derbyshire and Durham and maybe we can kick on from here." [ (BBC scorecard)]

Table at 30 April

Round six

Durham v Yorkshire (20-23 May)

"Durham (10pts) drew with Yorkshire (9pts)"

In the clash of the two top teams of Division Two of the Championship, Durham came the closest to losing a game so far in the season - though they threw it away themselves. With England requiring Steve Harmison to be rested, the team at last looked beatable, though they had Yorkshire on the rack at 124 for 7 and 179 for 9. However, Richard Dawson and Deon Kruis let loose for Yorkshire, scoring 75 for the last wicket in a late blitz to guide Yorkshire to a total of 254.

In reply, Durham were in a spot of bother at 146 for 6, but a partnership worth 126 between Gareth Breese and Philip Mustard lifted Durham to 316. With a 62-run deficit on first innings, Yorkshire lost their first seven wickets for only 128 runs, but Anthony McGrath hit a potentially match-saving 133 not out - his second important century of the season, following his 165 not out against Leicestershire a week earlier. He was supported by Chris Silverwood, who smashed 80 off 66 balls before eventually being bowled by Michael Lewis, who removed the five last batsmen in his five for 80.

Despite McGrath's big score, Durham were only set 245 to win in well over a day. They started sedately, as Michael Hussey (23 not out) and Jon Lewis (18 not out) took them to stumps on day three without losing a wicket, and cut 53 off the winning target. What looked like a reasonably simple chase, however, was intervened by rain, bad light and clever bowling from the South African Kruis. Gordon Muchall and Hussey looked to be securing it at 132 for 2, however, but a mini-collapse in the last overs saw the Durham fans biting their nails. Eventually, the chase was stopped nineteen runs short of victory for Durham, but they lost eight wickets in the process and were probably glad to escape with a draw - though they would be ruing the slow scoring at the end. Dale Benkenstein, their No. 4, hit 28 not out off 78 balls. [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

Essex v Worcestershire (20-23 May)

"Worcestershire (21pts) beat Essex (4pts) by eight wickets"

Essex and Worcestershire took notice of the bad weather forecasts, racking up runs swiftly at Chelmsford. The Essex batting effort was not very spectacular, and only Ronnie Irani's 85 saved some grace for Essex as wickets tumbled amid showers on the first day. They finished 220 all out as Worcestershire's bowlers teamed up, Matthew Mason the best with four for 48. In reply, Ben Smith made a century including fourteen fours, and with help of Gareth Batty (54) and Kabir Ali (53), both former England players, Worcestershire got to 383 all out - a lead of 163. Alastair Cook, Essex' 20-year-old prodigy, made a quick 46, but it was their 37-year-old Zimbabwean Andy Flower who, as so many times before, was the top scorer and the rock of the Essex innings with 85 - which led them to 329.

Setting Worcestershire a paltry 167 to win, Essex got off to a good start bowling, removing opener Stephen Peters for 0 and nightwatchman and wicketkeeper Jamie Pipe for 11 just before stumps, as Darren Gough and Dale Steyn took a wicket each for Essex. On the fourth day, however, Stephen Moore built on his good batting form after 246 against Derbyshire a week before, however, making 63 not out and pairing up with Graeme Hick (76 not out) for 146 runs to win the match with relative ease. [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

omerset v Lancashire (20-23 May)

"Lancashire (11pts) drew with Somerset (7pts)"

Rain ravaged the match between Somerset and Lancashire allowing little play on the first three days. Between the showers, Lancashire had Somerset at 48 for 2 on the first day, but the little play that was possible after that gave Michael Burns (87) and Sanath Jayasuriya (72 not out after three days) opportunity to increase the score to 195 for 3 on day 3. A draw looked more than likely, even if the sides would agree to forfeiting an innings. The fourth day was a full day of cricket, and Muttiah Muralitharan took five for 56 for Lancashire as they bowled Somerset out for 294. Iain Sutcliffe then lifted Lancashire to four batting points and 351 for 3 declared with his 150, well helped by an unbeaten century from Australian Brad Hodge. [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

Table at 23 May

Round nine

Yorkshire v Lancashire (8-11 June)

"Yorkshire (10pts) drew with Lancashire (11pts)"

Lancashire batted first in the Roses match at Headingley and though opening batsman Mark Chilton was out first ball to Matthew Hoggard his partner Iain Sutcliffe made a free-scoring 153 including 26 boundaries. Former England U-19 pacer Tim Bresnan then struck back with three wickets in four balls to leave Lancashire all out for 379 at stumps on the first day. Yorkshire's 335 in reply included solid innings from Phil Jaques, Craig White and Michael Lumb, while Lancashire's James Anderson took four wickets. Lancashire declared their second innings at 337 for 5, built around a patient 112 from Chilton, and that set Yorkshire 382 for victory. Yorkshire fell to 182 for 8 before a resistant 64 not out from Matthew Hoggard (only his second half-century of his career) saved the draw, as he shared partnerships of 45 for the ninth wicket with Richard Dawson and 46 for the tenth with Deon Kruis. [ (BBC scorecard)]

omerset v Worcestershire (8-11 June)

"Worcestershire (22pts) beat Somerset (8pts) by eight wickets"

Having won the toss and chosen to bat first at Bath, Somerset made 408 in the first innings including 127 by Matthew Wood and 55 by South Africa's Graeme Smith, captaining the side. Worcestershire put on 423 in reply, Ben Smith going on to make 140 and Stephen Moore 86 after both were dropped at slip in double figures by Ian Blackwell. Andrew Caddick took five for 132 in a 31-over effort for Somerset. Worcestershire then cemented their control over the game by dismissing Somerset for 152 in the second innings, with Matt Mason taking 5 for 34. The Worcestershire batsmen achieved the target of 138 for the loss of just 2 wickets, Moore making his second fifty of the match with an unbeaten 66. [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

Durham v Essex (9-11 June)

"Durham (22pts) beat Essex (3pts) by an innings and 19 runs"

Durham continued their impressive form in the 2005 season by defeating Essex in just three days at Chester-le-Street. A hefty 506 in the first innings, with Gordon Muchall and stand-in captain Dale Benkenstein both making centuries, provided the basis for Durham's attack to see off the Essex batsmen in just 55 overs to leave them 106 all out and following on, Ashley Noffke and Mark Davies taking four wickets each. Essex fought back in their second innings but their 380, including 82 from Dale Steyn (initially sent in as a nightwatchman) and 103 from tail-end all-rounder Andre Adams, was not enough to catch up with Durham's 399-run first innings lead, and Durham recorded an innings victory. [ (BBC scorecard)]

Table at 12 June

Round twelve

Northamptonshire v Worcestershire (20-23 July)

"Northamptonshire (19pts) beat Worcestershire (6.5pts) by 82 runs"

Worcestershire's fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar had a field day despite serving up no balls on the first day at Northampton, but that was only the first day, and Northamptonshire came back to win the game. The match had started well enough for the hosts Northamptonshire, but a menacing spell from the Pakistani fast bowler reduced them from 150 for 2 to 173 for 8 - Matt Mason helping out with two wickets as well. Shoaib finished with six for 47, including twenty runs conceded due to no-balls - while Monty Panesar and Jason Brown rescued the hosts to 299 with a last-wicket stand of 62. Young wicket-keeper Steve Davies then made a career-best 95 in his sixth first-class game, which helped lift Worcestershire to 381, a lead of 82.

Northamptonshire lost six wickets to spinners in their second innings, Ray Price and Gareth Batty taking three each while Shoaib was expensive, conceding 67 in thirteen overs, as Northamptonshire were bowled out for 364 - Bilal Shafayat making 84 and Riki Wessels 102. Chasing 283 to win, Worcestershire got off to a good start with an opening partnership of 54, but Northamptonshire's spinner Monty Panesar took three for 47 to leave them 139 for 5 overnight, Ben Smith unbeaten on 50. Smith only added seven to that score, while Panesar took three more wickets, bowling 26.5 overs in one straight spell which yielded six for 77. Johann Louw and Brown also got one wicket each, as Worcestershire succumbed for 200 to suffer their third successive Championship loss, which sent them out of the promotion zone. Worcestershire were also deducted half a point for a slow over rate. [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

Yorkshire v Leicestershire (20-23 July)

"Yorkshire (17pts) beat Leicestershire (7pts) by six wickets"

Australian Chris Rogers continued his fine run of form as his 93 gave Leicestershire a good start, which Ottis Gibson and Claude Henderson exploited by scoring 127 for the eighth wicket to lift Leicestershire to 366 all out. South African Deon Kruis got the four lowest-batting batsmen to end with respectable figures of four for 90, but Yorkshire didn't use their innings well, as Gibson, Charl Willoughby and Stuart Broad took three wickets each and Yorkshire crumbled to 187.

Tim Bresnan then removed both the openers for ducks, but John Maunders and Chris Rogers made healthy knocks to take Leicestershire to a somewhat respectable 217 for a sizeable target - while Richard Dawson took four for 54 and Tim Bresnan added another man to his tally and finished with three for 44. Michael Wood and Joe Sayers set Yorkshire on track to chasing the target of 397, pairing up for 115 before Wood was caught out for 70, and Yorkshire were 132 for 1 overnight, setting up an intriguing chase. And, as in May when the teams met at Grace Road and Yorkshire chased a club record 406, Yorkshire recovered from a dismal first innings to take the victory. Sayers made 104, Anthony McGrath 55, and Ian Harvey an unbeaten 54 as Yorkshire reached the target, making their second highest fourth innings total to win in their 142-year history until this match - and both of those were against Leicestershire in 2005. [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

County Championship: Derbyshire v Durham (21-24 July)

"Durham (11pts) drew with Derbyshire (7pts)"

Paul Collingwood made a first-innings 190 - 52% of the Durham total - on his return to County Championship cricket following his stint with the England ODI team in the NatWest Series. However, Derbyshire's second highest score of the season, and rain cutting off about 80 overs of the match, resulted in the match in a draw. The hosts had taken three early Durham wickets for 59 after being put in the field, but Collingwood and skipper Dale Benkenstein lifted Durham with a 250-run partnership - to 309 for 4. However, Derbyshire did get some kind of revenge - five wickets fell for nine runs by the end of the day, as Durham were 363 for 9 at stumps, and only eight runs were taken before the last wicket fell on the second day. Durham took wickets as well, though, as Mark Davies got three wickets for four runs, including Michael di Venuto for 32, and Liam Plunkett also took three wickets as Derbyshire made 161 in 41.1 overs.

Asked to follow on, di Venuto took 113 balls for his second-innings century, but batted more slowly after that as Derbyshire began to build a lead with a 252-run stand between di Venuto and Hassan Adnan. A brief spurt of wickets, initiated by di Venuto departing for 203, saw Durham lose four men for six runs to go to 360 for 6, but Travis Friend and Graeme Welch made 135 in a seventh-wicket partnership as Derbyshire set a target of 330. After Durham had batted out 36 of their 66 overs, scoring 93 runs and losing two wickets to spinner Ant Botha, play was stopped and the match declared a draw due to poor weather conditions. [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

Lancashire v Essex (21-24 July)

"Lancashire (10pts) drew with Essex (9pts)"

Essex batted resolutely and calmly, without any rush until the fifth session, and quietly worked their way to 536 for 9 declared at Old Trafford. Grant Flower made a healthy 115 before being caught behind off Gary Keedy, while his brother Andy made 138. Australian Andrew Crook got the best figures for Lancashire, three for 71 with his part-time off-spin, but he was also very expensive in only ten overs. Lancashire number three Mal Loye replied with 194 after Andre Adams had dug out the hosts' captain Mark Chilton for 4, as the match ground towards an inevitable draw, Loye spending 200 balls for his century and eventually spending nearly eight hours at the crease before being caught by Alastair Cook off Grant Flower, six runs short of what could have been his second double century in July 2005. Lancashire eventually batted out a mammoth 220.3 overs - Danish Kaneria bowling 70.2 of those without a single wicket - to make 655 for 6 before the captains agreed to a draw. [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

Table at 24 July

Round fifteen

Northamptonshire v Derbyshire (10-13 August)

"Northamptonshire (17pts) beat Derbyshire (4pts) by 182 runs"

Northamptonshire won the match at The County Ground, Northampton despite only posting 140 all out in the first innings. Derbyshire's medium-pacer Ian Hunter took four for 50 to get the best figures for Derbyshire, dismissing three Northamptonshire batsmen were dismissed in single figures. Graeme Welch chipped in with economical bowling, conceding only 21 runs in ten overs and claiming three scalps. Steve Stubbings and Michael di Venuto then made batting look easy with an opening partnership of 81, but two wickets from Johann Louw evened out the game somewhat, and Monty Panesar wrapped up Derbyshire's innings with three wickets on the second day, as Derbyshire were all out for 219.

After Welch's bowling had yielded two early catches to see Northamptonshire to 43 for 2, Australian Martin Love took centre stage. He slashed 34 fours to end the second day unbeaten on 159, an innings higher than the entire Northamptonshire first innings total, and the hosts closed the second day's play on 311 for 3, Usman Afzaal having added 59 from number four as well. Love added only 18 before he was lbw to Mohamed Sheikh, but half-centuries from David Sales and Riki Wessels, ensured that Northamptonshire could declare with a lead of 388, giving themselves five sessions to win the game. The weather forecast for the final day, however, had predicted rain, so Northamptonshire wanted to get in early. Spinners Jason Brown and Monty Panesar shared nine wickets, as Derbyshire battled out the third day to 204 for 9, but Australian Damien Wright wrapped up the innings by having Hunter bowled two balls into the fourth morning. [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

omerset v Yorkshire (10-13 August)

"Somerset (12pts) drew with Yorkshire (11pts)"

Yorkshire and Somerset fought out a high-scoring draw at Taunton. Having opted to bat first, the visitors lost Joe Sayers for a duck, but Phil Jaques and Michael Lumb made centuries to see Yorkshire to 368 for 4. Then, Charl Langeveldt took the wickets of Craig White and Lumb, and Deon Kruis edged Andy Caddick behind for a duck to leave Yorkshire 377 for 7 overnight. Caddick wrapped up the innings on the second morning, finishing with six for 96, before Somerset opener Michael Wood started notching up boundaries. He made 35 fours and one six in a nine-hour cameo which yielded a total of 297 - before he was caught by Tim Bresnan 14 short of Somerset's highest innings for the season. With help from Ian Blackwell, who made 62, and Keith Parsons' 94, Somerset amassed 581 in a day and a half. Andy Caddick got an early breakthrough for Somerset, but Sayers and Anthony McGrath defied them, with a 119-run partnership for the second wicket. Only six overs of play was possible on day four before rain set in to ensure a drawn game. [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

Durham v Leicestershire (12-15 August)

"Leicestershire (12pts) drew with Durham (10pts)"

Rain intervened on both the first two days at Riverside, limiting play to 56.1 overs, compared to the expected 200 on fine days, and that was probably a major cause of the drawn game. Durham ground their way to 260 for 3 amid the rain, however, Michael Hussey smashing five sixes in his third Championship century of the season, for 146 runs. David Masters was the star of the third day, though, completing a six-wicket-haul as Durham lost their last seven wickets for 55 runs to end with a first-innings total of 315. In reply, Liam Plunkett took two early wickets, but Dinesh Mongia's unbeaten 77 saw Leicestershire to stumps on day three - still trailing by 98 runs with seven wickets in hand. Leicestershire batted on for 50 overs on day four, Gareth Breese taking five for 91 as Leicestershire were bowled out for 443, while Mongia notched up 29 boundaries in his only first-class century of the season, finishing with 164 before he was stumped off Breese. With 50 overs remaining and one innings to go for both sides, Durham just took their time at the crease as batting practice, Hussey boosting his batting average with 61 not out. [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

Table at 15 August

Round eighteen

Durham v Derbyshire (30 August-2 September)

"Derbyshire (10pts) drew with Durham (8pts)"

Derbyshire medium pacer Ian Hunter, formerly of Durham, got career-best bowling figures of five for 63 as Derbyshire - the only winless team in the Championship so far this season - nearly managed to record a win at Riverside Ground against the table-toppers from Durham. Nine batsmen reached double figures, yet only two passed 30, and no one made it to fifty, as Dale Benkenstein top-scoring with 49. Liam Plunkett dug out one wicket in the first evening and one on the second morning, as Derbyshire crashed to 64 for 4, but a grinding 231-minute partnership between Jon Moss (92 runs) and Chris Bassano (87) yielded 148 runs to turn the game around. Luke Sutton hit an uncharacteristically quick 55 off 119 balls, as Derbyshire ground their way to 326.

Australian opener Jimmy Maher recorded his second successive single-figure score in his first match for Durham, as the hosts crawled to 59 for 3, but centuries from Paul Collingwood and Dale Benkenstein sent them back on track. The pair added 206 runs together before Collingwood was out for 112 - his sixth first-class century in twelve matches - while Benkenstein continued to 162 not out, adding 80 valuable runs with Gareth Breese and 21 for the ninth wicket with Brad Williams before declaring. The declaration set Derbyshire 280 to win in 66 overs, and after Michael di Venuto and Steve Stubbings put on 91 for the first wicket Derbyshire eyed their first win for three years. However, despite 101 from Stubbings, the rest of the batting order could not quite hit quite quickly enough, and they finished on an agonising 277 for 6 - three runs short of victory. [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

Northamptonshire v Lancashire (30 August-2 September)

"Northamptonshire (19pts) beat Lancashire (6pts) by 285 runs"

Northamptonshire recorded their fourth win of the season thanks to their top order batting and their spin bowling. They had won the toss and batted, placing themselves well at 224 for 4, but the last six wickets yielded only 63 runs, and Lancashire seamer Dominic Cork could take three late wickets to end with four for 27. Northamptonshire were bowled out early on the second morning for 289, but immediately hit back, Damien Wright dismissing Lancashire's captain Mark Chilton for 0. In a bowling effort dominated by spinners - Jason Brown and Monty Panesar sharing 68 of the 94 overs bowled - Northamptonshire tugged away, and but for Stuart Law's 111, the hosts might have got a first innings lead. However, it was Lancashire who got a lead of 12, with Brown taking five for 113 from 36.3 overs.

James Anderson then took two early wickets, leading to a long bowling effort for him - he bowled 28 overs, but could not add to his wicket tally, while Usman Afzaal ran away to 147, adding 183 with Bilal Shafayat. Northamptonshire declared eight overs into the last day, with the score 400 for 6 to unleash their spinners on Lancashire's batting line-up - and they did so very successfully. Brown got his second five-for of the match, ending with match figures of ten for 135, and Monty Panesar also got three wickets as Lancashire collapsed in a heap for 103 - with only Chilton passing 20, in a reversal of fortunes from the first innings. [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

Worcestershire v Leicestershire (30 August-2 September)

"Leicestershire (12pts) drew with Worcestershire (9pts)"

Opener John Maunders batted for four hours for his first century of the first class season, and a further two hours to make a total of 148, which helped Leicestershire to a solid total of 407 at New Road - yet the slow nature of his batting meant there was little time to force a victory. Paul Nixon also hit a three-hour fifty for Leicestershire, while Kabir Ali got the best bowling figures with four for 95, including nine no-balls and one wide. Spinners Ray Price and Chris Gayle took a total of five wickets in their 32.1 overs, while both Shoaib Akhtar and Gareth Batty went wicketless. Worcestershire's batsmen all got starts, but not much more, and David Masters dug out both openers to end with three for 49 as Worcestershire were all out for 290 - Claude Henderson taking care of the last four wickets with nine balls, to end with four for 72 in the innings.

Leicestershire lost both openers to Kabir Ali who took three wickets at a cost of more than five runs an over as Aftab Habib and Tom New hit plenty of runs off him. Habib made 90, as Leicestershire declared on 255 for 5, setting Worcestershire 371 in five hours, but the chase was halted by bad light. When it finally got underway, Worcestershire crashed to 87 for 4 after two wickets from Charl Willoughby, but fifties from Ben Smith and Gareth Batty saved the draw for Worcestershire. [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

Table at 2 September

Round twenty-one

Lancashire v Leicestershire (21-23 September)

"Leicestershire (17pts) beat Lancashire (3pts) by four runs"

Leicestershire prevailed in a match at Old Trafford where 726 runs were scored in four completed innings and Leicestershire's young bowler Stuart Broad and captain HD Ackerman starred. Leicestershire chose to bat after winning the toss, and were taken apart by Glen Chapple and Murali Kartik, who shared nine wickets, while the highest partnership for Leicestershire was worth 53. The lack of veteran bowler Dominic Cork did not seem to bother Lancashire unduly, as Chapple got five wickets for 22 runs and Kartik four for 43. Only Jon Maunders and HD Ackerman passed 20 for the visitors, and they were all out for 165. Lancashire accumulated runs slowly, and their score was 61 for 2 at the close of play on the first day. With Mal Loye out with an injury, Lancashire posted 191, Maunders taking four for 28 and Stuart Broad three for 57 to limit Lancashire's lead to 26 runs. An opening partnership of 63 saw Leicestershire take the lead, but spinners Murali Kartik and Andrew Symonds took two wickets each, while the three seamers Chapple, Sajid Mahmood and Anderson took one each to round off the day. Ackerman was left overnight on 37 - 11 short of the highest score in the match so far.

Ackerman added 30 to his overnight score, but was eventually bowled by Anderson, who took three wickets on the third day to end with innings figures of four for 45. Lancashire were set 175 to win, and at one point needed 102 with nine wickets in hand. However, England Under-19 prodigy Stuart Broad removed three men for five runs with his seam bowling, and wickets fell regularly after that - Dinesh Mongia and Charl Willoughby taking two each. Lancashire eventually needed 18 for the last wicket to win, and Mal Loye stepped in to bat despite an injury - he battled for half an hour, scoring three runs, but his batting partner Anderson was caught by David Robinson, leaving Lancashire all out for 170, five runs short of victory. However, despite the loss, Lancashire were almost assured of the Division Two victory, as their main competitors Yorkshire were still trailing in their match with Northamptonshire. [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

Northamptonshire v Yorkshire (21-24 September)

"Northamptonshire (21pts) beat Yorkshire (3pts) by an innings and 21 runs"

Northamptonshire spinners Jason Brown and Monty Panesar shared all ten Yorkshire wickets on the first day at Northampton. Yorkshire had won the toss and recorded a 66-run opening stand when the spinners first broke through, Panesar having Matthew Wood caught by Robin White. The rest was one of classic spin bowling - few runs and the occasional wicket - Panesar conceded just over one run an over (ending with figures of 27.5-11-32-5), and the average run rate for the innings was just above two. Former England all-rounder Craig White added 51 as Yorkshire were bowled out for 177. Early wickets from Deon Kruis reduced Northamptonshire to 34 for 2, but a three-hour stand of 220 across two days between Martin Love and Usman Afzaal took Northamptonshire to a lead of 77 with seven wickets in hand when Love fell for 95. Afzaal pushed on, making 157 before being dismissed by Kruis - who took five for 75 - and a 76-run partnership between Simon Crook and Panesar took Northamptonshire to 476 for 9 before the declaration came. Crook fell three short of a maiden first-class century, while Yorkshire leg spinner Mark Lawson was taken for 150 in 30 overs.

Yorkshire's scoring rate was, again, slow, and their second innings yielded 278 runs in nearly nine hours - though it was also frequently interrupted by rain. Panesar took the first five wickets, and despite partnerships of 50 for the seventh and eight wicket, Brown ended Yorkshire's innings with five of his own. The two spinners bowled 96.5 overs out of a total of 109.5 overs served up by Northamptonshire bowlers in the second innings, and ended with uncannily similar second-innings bowling analyses: Brown 50.5-14-95-5, Panesar 46-15-96-5. Brown and Panesar also split the 20 wickets equally between them - the second time in the history of the first-class game that this feat had occurred, and the first in 100 years. [] [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

omerset v Derbyshire (21-24 September)

"Derbyshire (22pts) beat Somerset (3pts) by an innings and 18 runs"

Half-centuries from James Hildreth and James Francis took Somerset to 259 in 64.5 overs at their home ground at Taunton. Hildreth's 84 included 15 fours, while Francis hit ten fours in his 54. For Derbyshire, all-rounder Graeme Welch took three early wickets for 42, while 19-year-old Wayne White, who had made his first class debut with match figures of one for 123 a week earlier against Yorkshire, ended with four wickets for 77 in just under 13 overs. Chris Bassano and Steve Stubbings then added 87 for the first wicket, and Derbyshire closed on 126 for 1. On the second day, Stubbings continued with Hassan Adnan, and both earned career best scores - Stubbings with 151 and Adnan with 191 not out. Gareth Andrew was the only Somerset bowler to take more than one wicket, ending with four for 134, but Derbyshire made 707 for 7 - a county record [] - declaring when Luke Sutton fell for 53, leaving Graeme Welch stranded on 99 not out.

Francis then hit a 125-ball century as Somerset battled to save the draw and avoid becoming the first team to lose to Derbyshire for 14 months. But Francis went early on the last morning, the last man out in a collapse that started with 173 for 2 in the morning (Arul Suppiah had been dismissed with the score 172 for 1) and ended on 174 for 5. Somerset captain Ian Blackwell took seventeen fours and two sixes off Derbyshire's bowling in a 67-ball ton, but Welch came back, taking the last three wickets as Derbyshire broke their duck of 21 matches without a win and completed their Championship win since July 2004. [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

Worcestershire v Essex (21-24 September)

"Worcestershire (11pts) drew with Essex (10pts)"

A total of 19 wickets fell in four days at New Road, despite only half a day being lost to rain. Batting first, Essex made 574 despite Stuart Wedge taking five for 112 in his second first class game, getting Ravinder Bopara as his first wicket. Essex got two early wickets; first class debutant Jahid Ahmed got his first wicket by removing 21-year-old Daryl Mitchell for 6, and Andre Adams bowled Graeme Hick, but Worcestershire's third-wicket partnership added 333, with Stephen Moore hitting 152 out of his 191 runs in boundaries. However, Worcestershire declared overnight on 424 for 3, and Essex scored 201 for one wicket in 36 overs, Alastair Cook rounding off his first season as an Essex regular with an unbeaten 117. Worcestershire were set 352 in 60 overs to win, and despite an 84-ball ton from Graeme Hick Worcestershire finished four runs short of the ten extra points a win would have given. [ (Cricinfo scorecard)]

Final table

Links to detailed coverage of the 2005 English cricket season

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