Shropshire Star

Pears fail to stop Surrey’s charge

Surrey’s quest for a hat-trick of Vitality County Championship titles gained further momentum with a 281-run demolition of Worcestershire inside three days at the Kia Oval.


Dan Worrall added four for 35 to his first innings’ six for 22 and late hitting from Ben Gibbon and Nathan Smith merely delayed the inevitable as Worcestershire, set a nominal 513 to win, were bowled out for 231 in their second innings.

Worcestershire, a sickly 102 for eight at one stage, were boosted by Gibbon’s spirited 63-ball 75, his career-best, and Smith’s 60, while Kemar Roach picked up two for 29 and Dan Lawrence two for 53. Sean Abbott and Gus Atkinson took a wicket apiece, leaving only Jordan Clark wicketless.

It is Surrey’s fourth successive victory and, having begun the game already 21 points clear of their nearest rivals, their 19-point haul could stretch their lead at the top of Division One table.

An unbroken fifth-wicket century stand between Jordan Cox and Matt Critchley gave Essex the chance of pulling off an unlikely Vitality County Championship victory over Warwickshire at Chelmsford.

Set 330 to win in 170 overs, Essex finished day three on 224, requiring a further 106 runs on the final day, with six wickets standing, to resurrect their hopes of launching a serious challenge to Surrey at the top of the table. Both players mixed aggression with caution as they pieced together a partnership worth 112 in 37 overs with Cox becoming only the third player in the match to pass fifty. He was 77 not from 144 balls at the close with Critchley on 46 from 111.

Warwickshire, who had amassed 397 in the first innings and looked favourites to record their first win of the season, were dismissed inside 38 overs for just 94 in their second. Essex spinners Critchley and Simon Harmer sharing seven wickets, including all five that fell in the morning.

Central Sparks launched their Charlotte Edwards Cup campaign with an emphatic victory as they defeated Sunrisers by seven wickets at New Road, Worcester.

In a season-opener between the teams that finished in the bottom two slots last season, Sparks started in style this time round thanks principally to a dazzling unbeaten 79 from just 48 balls by Davina Perrin.