A one-run Yorkshire victory at Headingley had the red terraces leaning over the empty stands in anticipation. With just two needed, captain Steve Patterson ploughed in and Northamptonshire’s Wayne Parnell, who’d whisked 33 crucial runs, was beaten by a fast off-break. For a mini-moment, stillness, until Ben Sanderson fell on his haunches at the non-striker’s end, and the Yorkshire slips bounced in delight.
Northants had started the day needing another 126, reduced to 46 at lunch, though with only three wickets left. Parnell found dance partners in Gareth Berg and Simon Kerrigan, helped by fallible catching from Yorkshire. Then, after an ill-timed break for rain with only 14 needed and as the last man walked out, he fell at the final hurdle. He’d also taken 10 wickets in the match. In the word of Northants head coach David Ripley: “It is gutting.”
From under Leicestershire’s nose, Gloucestershire whipped a four-wicket victory with just minutes left. Chasing 348, Ian Cockbain, scoring his first century since 2014, and Tom Lace, a perfectly-paced 97, steadied nerves at 52 for three before upping the ante . To whooping from spectators in the flats looking over Bristol, Ryan Higgins walloped 33 and extras a cruel 39. Gloucestershire last had three Championship wins at the start of the season in 1948.
Lewis Goldsworthy’s first-class debut was one to remember, unbeaten on 41, and sloughing the winning runs, as Somerset snatched a four-wicket victory over Middlesex. In a seventh-wicket stand of 86 he, and Steve Davies, hauled Somerset over the line after Tim Murtagh had sent Tom Abell and George Bartlett packing in consecutive overs, leaving Somerset six down and in the mire.
Another successful run-chase at Hove, where Keaton Jennings, with an unbeaten 91, steered Lancashire to victory. Starting the day needing 129, there was a hitch when promising Sussex off-spinner Jack Carson picked off nightwatchman Saqib Mahmood and then Liam Livingstone. However Josh Bohannon provided the fire to Jennings’ ice, with a quick-step innings of 46. The five-wicket win took Lancashire to the top of Group Three.
Worcestershire and Essex drew on a listless New Road pitch that sucked the life even out of Simon Harmer. Worcestershire had to follow-on after being skewered by a superb spell from Sam Cook. Cook struck twice more in Worcestershire’s second innings, but Jake Libby compiled a serene 52 before they shook hands after tea.