County Championship poised at halfway mark

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The County Championship has reached the halfway mark, with Somerset topping the table after their six-wicket victory over Sussex.

Alfonso Thomas became the first Somerset player to take four wickets in four balls, as he dismissed James Anyon, Rory Hamilton-Brown, Ed Joyce and Matt Machon, helping the Taunton outfit to continue their meteoric rise up Division One.

Middlesex will be disappointed to have been toppled from the summit having been in and around the top spot for much of the season. Regaining their place has been made all the more difficult by the news that all-rounder Gareth Berg will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.

Warwickshire and Yorkshire are also rueing their absentees, with the Bears’ Ian Bell and the Vikings’ Joe Root now away with England for the summer. Warwickshire stuttered to a draw against Lancashire, managing just 86-5 in their second innings. Yorkshire also tied their last fixture, as England hopeful James Taylor smashed 96 for Notts, but the White Rose still sit comfortably in second place.

Champions Durham will perhaps be the most disappointed with how the season has gone relative to expectations, as they struggle in seventh, above only Lancashire and Northants.

After sealing promotion with ease last season, Northants have found life in Division One has not matched up to their early optimism, and unsurprisingly, they are still propping up the table, having failed to win any of their opening six matches, drawing one and losing five.

Down in Division Two, Worcestershire and Hampshire are neck-in-neck at the top vying for promotion. Worcestershire’s seam attack have put to bed any fears that the county would not be able to cope without the talismanic Alan Richardson, who left in pre-season to take up a coaching role with Warwickshire.

Despite Surrey’s glamorous line-up including Kevin Pietersen and former South Africa captain Graeme Smith, the Lions are second from bottom in eighth, followed not far behind by Leicestershire.

Essex, meanwhile, are thriving in third, and are now reaping the rewards of signing New Zealander Jesse Ryder, who took ten wickets in the draw against Kent; having never taken a five-wicket haul before, Ryder claimed five wickets in each innings against the Spitfires, looking more and more comfortable in English domestic cricket.

Glamorgan have endured a frustrating first half of the season, drawing five of their seven games, losing one and winning one. However, they are going strong in the Natwest T20 Blast, buoyed by the presence of former West Indies captain Darren Sammy.

Rain has wreaked havoc with the domestic game this season, but enough cricket has been played to reveal much about the winners and losers of the season so far. With the majority of teams having another eight games to play, though, it is still all to play for in the second half.

England cricket

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