2019-09-08 12:08:01

5.40pm That's it for this week. The next dose of whimsy from around the grounds will be on Monday with both Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire in action – see you then.

5.21pm So draws at Taunton and Guildford. Elsewhere Glamorgan beat Worcestershire by 241 runs, and Derbyshire v Northants was also drawn.

First Division:

Nottinghamshire P11 154pts

Somerset 12-152

Yorkshire 12-149

Durham 11-127

Lancashire 11-124

Hampshire 12-120

Kent 12-119

Essex 13-114

Warwickshire 12-101

4.57pm David Hopps' piece about Michael Lumb, the origins of which have been widely documented this week, can be .

3.50pm Tea and Sussex are 137 ahead on with four wickets standing and, barring the clatter of wickets immediately after the interval, the odds have again swung towards a draw, writes Mike Averis in Guildford.

A stand of 108 from Mike Yardy and Ben Brown - Matthew Prior's understudy - has eased the Sussex jitters of this morning. Both got half centuries - Brown's his maiden first class fifty - and their sixth wicket stand took Sussex to within touching distance of tea. Again it was Meaker who took the important wicket, returning to have Brown caught at the wicket for 52.

3.47pm Dominic Cork has just hobbled on to the Hampshire dressing room balcony, stick in hand, and waved a white sheet in the direction of the Taunton square in mock surrender, writes David Hopps.

Cork's jesting was totally apt because Hampshire are suffering misfortune after misfortune only two days before the Friends Provident t20 finals - so much so that a theory is fast gathering pace that they might be forced to turn to their rejected batting star, Kevin Pietersen, for emergency assistance.

Daniel Christian, Hampshire's Australian all-rounder, is the latest casualty, struck full in the face, between helmet and visor, by a short ball from Zander de Bruyn, causing blood to gush from the wound so powerfully that the ball has been changed for Health and Safety reasons and the groundsman has had to bring out sawdust to cover up a pool of blood four yards from the wicket.

Christian, after a change of helmet and prolonged treatment, is courageously batting on. Hampshire are 177 for three at tea, a lead of 31 with 34 overs remaining.

That would normally suggest that a draw was inevitable, especially as this Taunton pitch is pretty flat, but Hampshire are not quite safe. Michael Lumb will surely not bat - he is out for the rest of the season after breaking his foot – and both Cork and Sean Ervine are stricken with back trouble. They would probably bat with runners but would be severely inhibited.

All this leaves Hampshire's plans for t20 finals day, to be played on their own ground at the Rose Bowl, in disarray. If Cork and Ervine are unfit they would presumably have to draft in Chris Benham or Liam Dawson, and perhaps the former England quick Simon Jones.

It has even been suggested that their plight is so extreme they might be tempted tpo beg Pietersen for forgiveness. Hampshire shunned Pietersen even though England fulfilled their obligation to make him available for 20 finals day. Pietersen will leave Hampshire at the end of the season because he wants a county nearer to his Chelsea home and this is the second time that Hampshire have decided to manage without him.

Surely they cannot swallow their pride and turn to Pietersen? And, if they do, will Pietersen take umbrage and say "no way", or will he think it provides him with a perfect script for an unexpected glorious Hampshire farewell?

2.15pm Durham have completed a six-wicket win over Lancashire after a terrific game of cricket that has put a new slant on the Championship race, writes Andy Wilson. Dale Benkenstein saw them home with an unbeaten 41, after Michael Di Venuto had played the crucial innings of 63.

Lancashire had their chances to cause a few flutters today, notably when Benkenstein could have been run out on 16, and when Ian Blackwell survived a sharp bat-pad chance first ball that could have left them five wickets down with 39 still required. But they will reflect that they missed their best chances earlier in the match, failing to bat well enough in either innings - with the most obvious turning point coming with Shiv Chanderpaul's dismissal by Blackwell from the last ball before tea yesterday.

Durham now leap from eighth to fourth in the table, above Lancashire, and with their next three games against Somerset, Notts and next week Yorkshire - the three teams above them - they can't be ruled out of the title race. Neither can Lancashire mathematically, but on recent evidence they are more likely to be dragged down into a battle to avoid relegation - making their next game, against Kent at bogey ground Canterbury, another huge fixture.

1pm: Lunch and Sussex are struggling, writes Mike Averis. They are five down and only 25 ahead and the neighbours are being as unpleasant as possible. Ed Joyce has gone for a hard-earned 40 - bowled around his legs sweeping at Gareth Batty - and Stuart Meaker has some reward for his aggression.

Goodwin could have gone without scoring, dropped at second slip off Chris Tremlett, but he had scraped 23 together when he was too late on a yorker, the ball squeezing on to the stumps.

12.45pm: Di Venuto's out, writes Andy Wilson, but it's too late for Lancs, surely? He chipped a short ball to mid-wicket where Steven Croft took a diving catch, giving Gary Keedy his 10th wicket in the match - the sixth time he's done that for Lancashire. But the Tasmanian's job was done, with 63 from 122 balls steering Durham to 132 for four - needing only another 39 to win. The nerves are jangling, though. New batsman Ian Blackwell offered a sharp bat-pad chance to short leg off his first ball, but Mark Chilton couldn't grab what would have been a brilliant catch.

12.30pm: Slow going. It's taken 84 minutes and 19 overs for Sussex to pull alongside Surrey and for the loss of Michael Thornley, writes Mike Averis. The 22-year-old went to the first ball of the day - without scoring - to set the tone. Murray Goodwin could easily have bagged a pair - he was dropped in the slips - and batting has been less than easy against the short stuff.

11.55am Michael Lumb is out of the Friends Provident t20 finals day and will miss the rest of the season after breaking his foot in Hampshire's championship match against Somerset at Taunton, writes David Hopps. Lumb was fielding at silly point on the third day when he was struck by a shot from his World Twenty20 opening partner Craig Kieswetter.

Readers of the county blog yesterday may recognise the irony in this. Kieswetter has resisted Guardian attempts to involve him in a finals day feature along with Lumb about the difficult seasons both players have endured since starring in England's World Twenty20 victory. Now he has inadvertently put Lumb out of finals day and made the feature the Guardian does have largely worthless. It is desperately bad luck for Lumb, who was just finding form after a troubled season.

"You might as well bin the piece," smiled Lumb as he sat outside the pavilion, foot heavily bandaged and clutching crutches.

"Thanks for the advice," I said.

Emergency changes are now taking place, adjusting "Lumb: The Fightback Starts here!" to "Lumb: My Season Of Woe." This may take a little time so updates from Taunton could be conspicuous by their absence for a while.

On the field, Jonny Tomlinson has finished with seven for 85 as Somerset have been bowled out for 412 this morning. James Hildreth was one of three batsmen to fall, falling on 130 as he edged Tomlinson to slip. Somerset, who added 20 to their overnight score, have a lead of 128. We should know if this final day has any life in it by lunchtime.

10.45am The final day of the Guildford Festival looks like being a day of waiting - either for the forecast showers which could finally kill off a game that is still to bounce back after losing three and a bit sessions, or for a run chase, writes Mike Averis.

Sussex, clear at the top by 14 points when this game started, will be looking anxiously to events at Colwyn Bay and Chesterfield where Glamorgan and Northampton leaders of the chasing pack, are a bit more advanced.

Here Sussex, still 36 behind with two wickets down, have to decide what is a tempting total for Surrey to chase on a wicket which has already displayed a bit of variable bounce and some turn, especially out of the footholds.

That is if the choice is left to Sussex. The Surrey attack, particularly Stuart Meaker, has looked pretty sharp and the Met men are suggesting showers, some heavy, may or may not hit Guildford.

The view from the Guildford Beer Festival is, apparently, much clearer.

10.33am It's always good to be told you're talking rubbish before 10 o'clock in the morning, writes Andy Wilson at Old Trafford. A Lancashire member has just called me over in the pavilion to point out the apparent contradiction in the progress reports that have appeared in the paper during this fascinating Championship game against Durham.

"Yesterday morning you said that 150 would be a tricky target, but now they're chasing 170 but you reckon they're in the box seat," said the member, with irrefutable logic. My only defence is Durham's overnight position of 58 for two, meaning they only need another 113, plus the fact that Michael Di Venuto is still there, having made an unbeaten 34 with only one major alarm, when he survived a vehement lbw appeal from Gary Keedy's first ball.

With Benkenstein, Blackwell, Stokes, Mustard, Borthwick and Plunkett to come, Durham must be favourites. The pitch didn't look quite as capricious yesterday, either, although there is still plenty of help there for Keedy and Simon Kerrigan. If Lancashire could dismiss Di Venuto and Benkenstein early, the game could yet tilt back towards them. Despite a dodgy forecast, it's fine at the moment, so we should be on for a prompt start.

No such problems for green-fingered David Hopps down in Taunton, who will doubtless be regaled for , near Yeovil, "gossiping as they brush the slugs from the lettuces". It's something to do with James Hildreth's purple (sprouting in the vegetable) patch.

10.24am Morning. Final day of four in our featured games today. Andy Wilson is at Old Trafford where , David Hopps will witness the finale at Taunton, where , and Mike Averis is in a Guildford tent, sans wifi, preparing to observe , 36 behind Surrey with eight wickets in hand.

Once their lattes have been polished off, updates will appear here.