County Championship round-up: Darren Stevens at home in Essex

 

Batsman of the day Can I play you every week? Darren Stevens must be thinking along those lines whenever Essex are the opposition. Kent's veteran all-rounder, now in his 17th season in first-class cricket, has made five of his 25 career hundreds against Essex, including three in his last four visits to the County Ground at Chelmsford, where he advanced from 91 not out overnight yesterday to 136 before he was caught on the long leg boundary trying to hit a second consecutive six off Ravi Bopara. The runs put pressure on the home side, who conceded a first-innings lead of 84, then slipped calamitously to 24 for 5 as Mark Davies took four wickets in 11 balls. But James Foster and Ben Foakes saved the day.

Veterans mine a rich seam

Bowler of the day No two senior bowlers command as much respect as Glen Chapple and Alan Richardson, who were simultaneously demonstrating why in Southampton and Worcester yesterday. Lancashire's Chapple, who will be 40 next January, took 5 for 55 against Hampshire, including four wickets in the space of six balls, taking his career first-class aggregate to 899 wickets. Richardson, 38, who took 12 wickets in a two-day defeat of Kent last week, repeated the feat against Gloucestershire as Worcestershire again won by 10 wickets to climb to second in the Division Two table.

Plunkett joins Yorkshire crocks

Extras Just when people were starting to talk titles in their 150th year, Yorkshire have been dealt a couple of injuries they could have done without, putting both their new bowlers out of the picture. After Jack Brooks was sidelined with a broken thumb, the seemingly revitalised Liam Plunkett has succumbed to a thigh strain that will keep him out for a minimum of two weeks, placing a doubt on his availability for the important Championship match against Middlesex at Lord's. Brooks is due to see a specialist for re-assessment early next month. Off-spinner Azeem Rafiq is halfway through a projected six-week absence with a knee injury.

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