County Championship Division Two: Essex increase lead at the top after innings victory at Chelmsford

Essex are the team to beat in Division Two of the County Championship, after extending their lead at the top of the division to 21 points

County Championship Division Two: Essex increase lead at the top after innings victory at Chelmsford
Ryan Ten Doeschate leads off his victorious Essex side in Chelmsford (image via: EssexCricket,

The new reigime at Essex has made a promising start to life in Chelmsford, which has culminated in them building a 21 point lead at the top of Division Two of the County Championship

Chris Silverwood's men picked up their second win of the campaign this week, beating Northamptonshire by an innings and 92 runs, whilst the other three matches all ended in draws in a round which was decimated by poor weather up-and-down the country. 

Ten Doeschate cleans up tail as Essex confirm second home win

Heading into the final day of play at Chelmsford, only weather or some incredible batting by the Northants middle-order was going to stop Essex from claiming their second win of the season.

After Jamie Porter claimed his eighth wicket of the match, knocking over Richard Levi for 29 early in the day's play, Essex captain Ryan Ten Doeschate took over, capturing four of the final five wickets as the home side prevailed by an innnings and 92 runs. 

Ten Doeschate trapped both Mohammad Azharullah and Adam Rossington LBW, whilst having David Murphy and Richard Gleeson caught, before Graeme Napier brought an end to proceedings by shattering the stumps of Ben Sanderson

Moeen Ali makes excellent century on day of batting feats at Bristol

With Worcestershire in the driving seat going into the final day, an incredible opening session from Gloucestershire pair Chris Dent and Jack Taylor threatened to turn the game on its head, before Moeen Ali calmed the nerves for the Midlands club as the two sides settled for a draw. 

Starting the day on 217/6, the Gloucester pair of Taylor and Dent both passed three-figures on the opening session of the day's play as the home side managed to pull themself into a position of strength. The duo shared a partnership of 162 which was dominated by Taylor, who smashed his way to 105 from 103 balls before skewing a pull off Ed Barnard

Jack Taylor was in the mood, smashing 15 boundaries on his way to 105 (image via: PA)

Taylor's third first-class century included 13 fours and two sixes, the second of which was off Ali to bring up his century. This type of innings from Taylor is now becoming something of a regular occurence, with two equally devastating three-figure scores coming in similar fashion last season.

Dent meanwhile went about his work in serene fashion, remaining unbeaten throughout the whole innings. His 138 not out came from 272 balls and allowed the home side to declare, setting Worcester an unlikely chase in the final two sessions. The Gloucestershire opener now has 407 runs in five innings so far this season, and is now the leading run-scorer in the country.

Chasing an unlikely 352 for victory, Worcestershire recovered from 49-3 to end their innings on 210-4 before the two captain's shook hands, agreeing on the draw. 

Liam Norwell caused havoc early on for the visitors, clean bowling Daryl Mitchell (8) and Brett D'Oliviera (4), before Josh Shaw joined the action shattering the stumps of first innings centurion Joe Clarke for eight. 

Pressing for victory, Gloucester only managed one more wicket, with Norwell dismissing Tom Kohler-Cadmore for 25, but Ali remained unmoved, showing his England credentials with a classy unbeaten 136 from 144 deliveries. 

Ali's innings of 136, played in-front of England advisor Andy Flower who was in attendance at the County Ground, comprised of 17 fours and four maximums and will have given him plenty of confidence ahead of a hectic International Summer. 

Weather forces draws in Derby and Leicester 

With both matches decimated earlier in the week by dreadful weather conditions, it was no surprise when the matches between Leicestershire and Kent, and Derbyshire and Glamorgan ended in dull draws, with both matches still in their third innings.

In Leicester, Mark Cosgrove and Neil Dexter completed their centuries for the hosts, before Kent eased their way to 85-2, playing it safe after the 137-run first innings deficit. Whilst in Derby, number 11 Andy Carter enjoyed himself with a career-best 39 on what was a pretty nondescript day at the 3aaa Ground, with snow signalling the end of play and a dour draw.