Adam Rossington’s century and an unbeaten 83 from Matt Critchley rescued Essex after a false start to their crunch LV= Insurance County Championship clash against Hampshire.

If Essex lose their penultimate game this week, Surrey can retain their Division One crown by beating Northamptonshire and Tom Westley’s side lurched to 132 for five after winning the toss at Chelmsford.

But Rossington, who was averaging 18.8 with the bat this season when he strode to the crease, thumped 10 fours and two sixes, contributing 104 to an important 177-run stand with all-rounder Critchley.

Rossington edged a big swipe late on at Mohammad Abbas, who had earlier castled Sir Alastair Cook for a three-ball duck, but the wicketkeeper’s Essex-best helped his side collect two batting bonus points.

Surrey also scooped a couple of points thanks to their bowlers, chiefly Tom Lawes, who took three for 24 as Northamptonshire slid from 106 for two to 171 for six on a rain-shortened day at the Kia Oval.

There were also wickets for Jordan Clark, Daniel Worrall and Jamie Overton, who gave Surrey a scare after leaving the field in his third over feeling his hip before returning to snare Saif Zaib.

Former India batter Karun Nair went to stumps unbeaten on 51 after Northamptonshire were invited to bat first on a day where only 63.4 overs were possible.

There were four fewer deliveries but a lot more action at Lord’s, where Oliver Hannon-Dalby’s five-wicket haul restricted struggling Middlesex to a paltry 121 before Warwickshire closed on 72 for four.

Middlesex started the day two points above second-bottom Kent and after their batters were put in and floundered in bowler-friendly conditions, the outgoing Tim Murtagh dragged them back into the contest.

The 42-year-old seamer, playing at the home of cricket for the last time prior to his retirement from professional cricket at the end of the season, took three for 17 as Middlesex took one bowling point.

Kent are bidding to move out of the relegation places this week but despite winning the toss, Tom Lammonby’s 109 – his first hundred of the season – put Somerset on top on 214 for two after 53.2 overs.

Arafat Bhuiyan was the only frontline Kent bowler to take a wicket on the opening day while part-timer Daniel Bell-Drummond atoned for dropping Lammonby on 76 by having the opener caught behind at Taunton.

The inclement weather ruined any prospect of play between Lancashire and Nottinghamshire at Emirates Old Trafford while all three Division Two fixtures were heavily impacted by rain.

Sussex, a day on from their 12-point deduction from the England and Wales Cricket Board that has almost certainly ended their promotion hopes, did not get on to the field at Derbyshire.

Leicestershire, fresh from their Metro Bank One-Day Cup victory at the weekend, need a win to stay in the hunt for a top-two finish and with it a place in Division One next year.

They reduced Yorkshire to 155 for nine after bowling first at Grace Road, where Will Davis finished with four for 28 while Finlay Bean top-scored with 40 to go past 1,000 runs for the season.

Second-placed Worcestershire, who began the day 21 points ahead of Leicestershire, reached 104 for one against already-promoted Durham at New Road.

Harry Swindells struck an unbeaten century as Leicestershire held off Liam Dawson’s late fightback to end their 38-year wait for a List-A trophy with a dramatic two-run win over Hampshire in the Metro Bank One-Day Cup final at Trent Bridge.

Swindells and Sam Evans rescued the Foxes after winning the toss and slipping to 19 for four and 89 for six, hitting 117 and 60 respectively in a 151-run seventh-wicket partnership that propelled their side to 267 for seven.

Leicestershire appeared in pole position when Tom Prest departed for 51 to leave Hampshire 136 for five, only for Joe Weatherley and Dawson to add 82 and give the 2018 champions a chance of another title.

Weatherley was dismissed for 40, leaving Dawson with the responsibility to get his side home, but the England all-rounder was out for 57 in the final over to Josh Hull as Hampshire failed to get eight off the last six balls.

Leicestershire were in disarray inside seven overs as they found themselves four wickets down after Keith Barker struck three times.

Skipper Lewis Hill tried his best to steady the ship, hitting 42 off 57 balls, but his departure to Scott Currie left Leicestershire in danger of buckling.

Swindells, making his first appearance in the competition this season, and Evans prevented that with their game-changing 26-over alliance, leaving Hampshire with something to think about at the halfway stage.

The pressure increased with the loss of two early wickets, including captain Nick Gubbins run out, with Prest and Ben Brown then sharing 79.

Leicestershire breathed new life into their victory bid by picking up three wickets – Brown, Aneurin Donald and Prest – for just 19 runs.

The game turned yet again courtesy of Weatherley and Dawson, who took the total down to 40 off five overs and then eight off the last, after Chris Wright conceded just three off the penultimate set of six.

But Hull held his nerve at the death, removing Dawson with the fourth delivery, to bowl the Foxes to victory.

James Fuller took four wickets as Hampshire completed their fifth win of the LV= County Championship season against Nottinghamshire to close the gap on leaders Surrey.

Tom Moores flayed tired bowlers in the evening with 81 to threaten just the chance of a remarkable upset but became the first of five final wickets to fall in 90 minutes as Hampshire completed a 116-run victory.

Matt Henry followed up his T20 Finals Day heroics with five wickets to set up a nine-wicket victory for Somerset over Northamptonshire.

Henry finished with figures of five for 73, taking eight wickets in the match after Northamptonshire were bowled out for 224 in their second innings.

Somerset duly knocked off the 54 runs required inside 11 overs before lunch to continue their winning ways, with Tom Lammonby powering six boundaries in an undefeated innings of 30.

Middlesex’s batting frailties were ruthlessly exposed by London rivals Surrey as the reigning champions closed in on a big win at Lord’s.

Aussie seamer Sean Abbott, Jamie Overton and Tom Lawes claimed three wickets apiece as the hosts crumbled from their overnight 179 for five to 238 all out in their first innings.

Following on 195 behind, stand-in skipper Mark Stoneman led the resistance with 72 as Middlesex reached 272 for nine, a lead of only 77.

Harry Finch batted for almost five hours in recording a valiant century as Kent prevented Essex from claiming victory inside three days.

Essex, looking for a fourth-successive win to put pressure on Championship leaders Surrey, endured a frustrating day in the field as Finch led the way in partnerships of 93 and 72 with Ben Compton (39) and Joey Evison (56 not out) in his 114.

Kent finished the day on 265 for seven – 14 runs ahead with three wickets in hand.

Lancashire are hoping for kind weather on the last day of their match with Warwickshire after they took charge on the third day at Edgbaston.

After bowling the home side out for 212, for a first-innings lead of 115, Lancashire closed a rain-shortened third day on 182 for six – 297 ahead as Keaton Jennings constructed an unbeaten 64 (174 balls).

Josh Tongue claimed the three remaining wickets inside 18 minutes as Worcestershire wrapped up a 100-run win over Leicestershire in Division Two.

The victory enabled the Pears to move level on points in the table with Leicestershire as both counties chase promotion.

Tongue, who was released from the England squad at Old Trafford to rejoin his county team-mates, took five for 29 – his best return of the season – as Leicestershire were dismissed for 137.

Yorkshire tried their utmost to force victory over Sussex inside three days but 58 apiece for opener Tom Clark and wicketkeeper Oli Carter helped thwart them.

Yorkshire advanced their first-innings reply to 364 for eight declared, meaning Sussex started their second innings 148 behind. And they closed on 236 for seven, a lead of 88.

England fast bowler Matthew Potts paraded his batting credentials as Durham piled on the runs against Derbyshire at Derby.

Potts scored 64 and shared an eighth-wicket stand of 110 from 113 balls with Brydon Carse, who made 80 on a day of stoppages.

The Division Two leaders secured maximum batting points for the sixth time this season before they were bowled out for 575, with fast bowler Sam Conners claiming five for 115.

That gave Durham a lead of 132 but Derbyshire responded strongly in their second innings to close on 89 without loss – 43 behind – with Luis Reece 54 not out.

Billy Root fell two short of a century as Glamorgan blitzed their way to maximum batting points on the second day of their match with Gloucestershire at Cheltenham.

Kiran Carlson (76), Root (98) and Chris Cooke (86 not out) helped the visitors extend their first innings from an overnight 152 for two to 450 for six declared on the fast-scoring College Ground.

By the close, Gloucestershire had moved to 134 for one in their second innings, Chris Dent leading the way with 61 not out.

Liam Dawson has stopped “wasting energy” thinking about an England recall, insisting he paid no attention to speculation about being parachuted into the Ashes.

When spinner Jack Leach was ruled out of the series due to injury last month, Dawson was tipped by many as one of the replacement candidates given he is also a slow left-armer and more useful with the bat.

England instead persuaded Moeen Ali to to end his Test retirement at Edgbaston but when a blistered finger ruled him out at Lord’s, it was teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed who was drafted into the squad.

Dawson, who played the last of his three Tests in July 2017, responded by taking 12 wickets after scoring a century in Hampshire’s LV= County Championship innings win over Middlesex last month.

However, the 33-year-old was adamant a remarkable performance was not a retaliation to the England selectors following his snub, having decided long ago to channel his energies into what he can control.

He told the PA news agency: “I didn’t even think about it. Test cricket has not been on my mind for a number of years. I’ve never expected to play for a long time and it’s not something that I worry about.

“Playing for England isn’t the be-all and end-all for me any more, it’s not healthy to worry about that, I did that way too much earlier in my career and that certainly affected performances.

“It’s just wasting energy. Now it’s about enjoying my cricket and if you do that, you hopefully do well and if that leads to playing for England then great but if not then I’ll enjoy playing for Hampshire.”

Dawson will be bidding to make history with Hampshire in the Vitality Blast at Edgbaston this weekend, where they can become the first team to retain their title and claim a record fourth crown.

Dawson, alongside James Vince and Chris Wood, have been mainstays in Hampshire’s success, especially in the shortest format where on Saturday they will be competing in their 10th Finals Day in 14 editions.

Vince has been central to their success this year, topping the tournament run-charts with eight 50-plus scores in 15 matches, averaging 65.7 with a sparkling strike-rate of 154.95.

Dawson said: “The older Vincey’s getting, the better he’s getting. He’s so consistent not only in T20s but in all formats.

“Any time he’s at the crease, it relaxes the changing room and the opposition knows he’s the big wicket to get. As long as he’s out there it gives the changing room huge confidence.

“But as a group we don’t want to put extra pressure on him and him feeling like he has to get the runs. We know that we can’t just rely on him to always get the runs, it’s down to everyone else as well.”

All four teams from the South Group won their quarter-finals at the expense of their northern rivals to get to Birmingham, where Hampshire will play Essex before Somerset take on Surrey.

The winners are then scheduled to meet on Saturday evening – although the forecast rain means there are concerns about spilling over into a reserve day for just the second time in the event’s history.

Hampshire did the double over Essex in the group stages but Dawson was adamant that will have no bearing on this weekend.

He added: “The two games in the group stages are completely irrelevant. It means absolutely nothing.”

The Ageas Bowl will host an Ashes Test for the first time during the 2027 series.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced its venues to host men’s and women’s international cricket over a seven-year period between 2025 and 2031.

Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl was included on the list of grounds to be used for the 2027 Ashes, with Headingley and Emirates Old Trafford set to miss out for that five-match series.

Headingley and Emirates Old Trafford will return as venues for the 2031 Ashes series alongside Lord’s, Kia Oval and Trent Bridge.

Meanwhile, England Women will play at Lord’s during each year of this seven-year international schedule.

The Ashes Test for the women’s multi-format series in 2027 will be hosted by Headingley, while the Ageas Bowl will be used for the 2031 series.

Edgbaston will also remain the home of Vitality Blast Finals Day for the next eight years.

“Allocations have been announced for seven years, rather than the previous five-year period, to give venues greater certainty and to encourage sustainable investment in facilities,” an ECB statement read.

“For the first time, the same process has been used for allocating men’s and women’s international matches, over the same period.”

Reigning champions Hampshire beat rock-bottom Middlesex by five runs to continue their Vitality Blast title defence.

John Turner claimed three for 30 as the Hawks defended their total of 164 for six.

Ben McDermott top scored with 47 with Toby Albert scoring 32, with Middlesex unable to chase the total down.

Max Holden’s 53 from 31 balls gave Middlesex hope but Hampshire held out as the hosts remain winless, reaching 159 for seven.

Durham beat Northamptonshire by four wickets after Nathan Sowter’s heroics with the ball.

Northamptonshire hit 161 for seven, with Emilio Gay top-scoring with 53, but Sowter took four for 14 to restrict them.

Graham Clark (55) and Ashton Turner’s 31 not out helped steer Durham to victory with seven balls left.

Yorkshire cruised past Leicestershire for a 30-run win.

Yorkshire’s 156 for seven was anchored by all-rounder David Wiese’s unbeaten 50 which proved crucial.

Wiaan Mulder top-scored with 46 for Leicestershire – who were all out for 126 – but they were left needing an unrealistic 32 off the final over, with Jordan Thompson’s five for 21 helping Yorkshire to a comfortable victory.

Michael Pepper’s 48 helped Essex to a five-wicket win over Sussex.

The visitors won with 31 balls to spare after easily reaching 149 for five to win, thanks also to Adam Rossington’s 35 and Daniel Sams’ unbeaten 29.

Sussex were bowled out for 147, spearheaded by Ravi Bopara’s 50, but Sam Cook’s four for 20 was key for Essex.

Skipper James Vince and Liam Dawson starred as Hampshire trounced Essex by 118 runs in the Vitality Blast.

Vince needed just 48 balls to amass 103, hitting eight sixes and the same number of fours, in a total of 214 for eight before Dawson took four for 21 as the home side collapsed to 96 all out in 14.1 overs at Chelmsford.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore plundered an unbeaten 64 to help Somerset strengthen their position at the top of the South Group with a nine-wicket demolition of struggling Middlesex.

Kohler-Cadmore, who hit four sixes – the last of them to win the match – and seven fours, and Tom Abell with 25 not out eased the home side over the finishing line with 39 balls to spare at Taunton after the visitors were bowled out for just 136 in 18.4 overs.

Tom Smith dispatched the first ball of the final over for four as Gloucestershire edged to a two-wicket victory over high-flying Surrey in a low-scoring thriller at Bristol.

Only opener Grant Roelofsen, Oliver Price and James Bracey made it past 20 on a difficult pitch, but the hosts, who needed two off the last over, managed to chase down the visitors’ 124 for nine despite England seamer Sam Curran’s three for 20.

David Payne and Matt Taylor had both earlier taken three wickets with Jamie Smith’s knock of 29 the biggest batting contribution in the match.

Colin Ingram and Chris Cooke staged an unbeaten stand of 109 to ease Glamorgan to a seven-wicket win over Kent inside 17 overs.

The pair came together in the ninth over with the score on 82 for three in response to Kent’s 189 for six – due in large part to Tawanda Muyeye’s 62 – and were still there at the finish, Ingram making a 32-ball 63, including 10 fours and a six, and Cooke 46.

Michael Bracewell and Adam Hose both hit half-centuries as Worcestershire blew away Nottinghamshire by 56 runs to go top of the North Group.

Bracewell, who put on 98 with skipper Brett D’Oliveira for the first wicket, made 55 and Hose an unbeaten 51 in an impressive 226 for five.

Alex Hales led a Notts charge with 71 from 35 balls, but largely without support as D’Oliveira ripped the heart out of their reply with four for 11 in his two overs and Pat Brown took four for 25 as they were dismissed for 170.

Wayne Madsen’s unbeaten 71 laid the foundation for Derbyshire to see off previous leaders Birmingham Bears by 17 runs.

Madsen hit 12 fours with Tom Wood adding a quick-fire 39 from 19 balls in a total of 174 for five, and they were backed up by bowlers Zaman Khan and Zak Chappell, who finished with three for 34 and three for 32 respectively as the visitors reached 157 for nine.

Chris Lynn smashed an unbeaten century as Northamptonshire beat Leicestershire by eight wickets in the battle of the bottom two.

Lynn thumped five sixes and 13 fours on his way to 110 from 68 balls to see his side to victory on 168 for two with seven deliveries to spare.

Leicestershire had posted 164 for eight with Ben Sanderson and Andrew Tye helping themselves to three wickets each.

A third-wicket partnership of 54 between Michael Jones and Ollie Robinson provided the backbone for Durham as they completed a comfortable six-wicket win over Lancashire at Chester-le-Street.

Jones’ 43 and 39 for Robinson set up Ashton Turner and Wayne Parnell to see the home side over the line with 10 balls remaining after Parnell, Bas de Leede, Ben Raine and Nathan Sowter had taken two wickets each to help restrict Lancashire to 152 for nine.

Warwickshire bowler Chris Rushworth took seven wickets for 38 runs to help his side to an impressive LV= Insurance County Championship victory over Hampshire by an innings and 84 runs at the Ageas Bowl.

The fast bowler helped skittle Hampshire out for just 97 in their second innings and finished with match figures of 10 for 76.

Hampshire totalled 229 in their first innings and Sam Hain (85), Ed Barnard (95) and Michael Burgess (88) all came close to centuries to help them clock up 410, but Rushworth’s high-quality movement helped Warwickshire to a first victory at the venue since 2010.

Azhar Ali hit an unbeaten century to guide Worcestershire to a draw with Sussex at New Road despite another stunning performance from England pace bowler Ollie Robinson which saw him pick up career-best match figures.

Robinson’s first-innings seven for 59 was matched with another incredible effort of seven for 58 in the second as he took 14 for 117.

Azhar batted throughout the day to finish on 103 not out and earned Worcestershire a draw, despite them being 109 behind after the first innings.

Sam Whiteman hit his first century for Northamptonshire to earn a draw with Somerset at Taunton.

Visitors Northamptonshire extended their overnight score from 66 for one to 311 for eight, with Whiteman leading from the front with an unbeaten 130 off 269 balls – including 14 fours and a six.

The Yorkshire-born Aussie left-hander batted throughout the day, anchored excellently by Tom Taylor, who contributed 53 to their eighth-wicket partnership of 79 that tamed a Somerset attack in the end, as both sides shook hands on a draw.

Nottinghamshire’s lower order stood strong to deny Lancashire victory on a dramatic final day at Trent Bridge.

The hosts lost their first six wickets for 55 in pursuit of 295 for victory, but a stubborn rearguard action meant they finished nine down for 136, with Lancashire falling just short of the finish line.

Lancashire declared on 329 for eight at lunch, giving the hosts 67 overs to defend for a draw.

Nottinghamshire looked to be heading for a third defeat in four when George Balderson took three wickets in 11 balls to have them six down but Joe Clarke (42) and seam bowler Brett Hutton blocked for 34 overs to offer a glimmer of a result, and they only lost two more wickets in the remaining 13 overs – the ninth with just four balls remaining – Stuart Broad also seeing out 50 balls.

Jamie Smith stood at the crease for around two-and-a-half hours to help Surrey rescue an unlikely draw at Chelmsford.

After Surrey were reduced to 103 for six with 25 overs still to hold out, Smith turned into defensive mode and helped to retain their unbeaten start to the season.

Surrey had been set a target of 273 to chase down in 54 overs. But, Surrey’s hopes of victory went up in smoke when Ollie Pope departed on 47, and they played to the close on 153 for seven, Smith finishing the day unbeaten on 39 from 126 balls.

Adam Lyth’s mammoth 174 made sure Yorkshire held on for a draw with Glamorgan after Jonny Bairstow’s promotion up the order backfired with a nine-ball duck.

Bairstow was making his senior return this week after eight months out injured when Lyth and Finlay Bean’s 99-run opening stand was broken on the stroke of lunch.

Yorkshire’s 492-run target was soon dismissed when the England batter edged to second slip off Timm van der Gugten.

Lyth was twice dropped on 48 and 69 and showed intent with his 138-run partnership with George Hill and in the end, Yorkshire were left reeling when they lost seven wickets in the final session.

Jordan Thompson (55 not out) blocked out Michael Neser’s final over to salvage a draw.

West Indies pacer Kemar Roach took four wickets in the match to help Surrey defeat Hampshire by nine wickets at the Kennington Oval in London from April 13-16 for their first win of the 2023 County Championship Division One season.

In Hampshire’s first innings, Roach bowled 16 overs and took 2-63 as they were bowled out for 254 in 79.3 overs. Wicketkeeper batsmen Ben Brown led the way with the bat for Hampshire with 95 and Keith Barker made 58. 20-year-old medium pacer Tom Lawes also bowled 16 overs for Surrey, taking 4-58.

England Test batsmen Ollie Pope then made 91 and Australian Sean Abbott contributed 52 as Surrey made 270 off 85.5 overs in their first innings.

Pakistani pacer Mohammad Abbas starred for Hampshire with 6-64 off 27.5 overs while medium pacers Kyle Abbott and James Fuller took a pair of wickets, each.

Hampshire’s second innings almost mirrored their first, being bowled out for 258 in 88 overs this time.

Nick Gubbins made a patient 199-ball 84 and Ian Holland scored 46 as Australian Daniel Worrall took 5-40 off 17 overs. Roach bowled 18 overs and ended with 2-43.

Needing 243 to win, Surrey’s successful chase was led by a brilliant 122* from Pope, his 17th first class hundred, and 79* from Dominic Sibley.

In the end, Surrey needed 55.2 overs to reach 247-1.

Kemar Roach took career-best figures of 8-40 and 10 wickets in the match as Surrey defeated Hampshire by an innings and 289 runs in their English County Cricket match that ended on Friday.

Roach began the match taking 2-40 in Hampshire’s first innings of 92 all out. However, it was Jordan Clarke who did the bulk of the damage taking 6-21. Lewis McManus top-scored with 31 for Hampshire in their innings that lasted just 34.3 overs.

The situation would only become even direr for Hampshire as 215 from Hashim Amla, 131 from Ollie Pope 131 and knocks of 80 and 78 from Jamie Smith and Roy Burns, respectively, propelled Surrey to 560 for 7 declared.

Roach then moved in for the kill.

Getting prodigious swing both ways, the Barbadian took three in eight balls towards the end of his first spell, two in seven in his second, and three in 13 in his third as Hampshire folded for 179 in their second turn at-bat. 

“It was going conventionally, not reversing," Roach said.

"The way I gripped the ball was a little looser today. It was overcast conditions so the ball was going to do something once you put it in the right areas and stayed strong at the crease. The guys worked incredibly well on the ball and the information I got on the field about different batsmen and their weaknesses worked fantastically."

Once again, McManus was Hampshire’s top scorer with 51.

Roach’s 10-80 was also a career-best for the veteran West Indies pace bowler.

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