County Championship review: Essex denied win by Jake Libby's mammoth innings for Worcestershire

The opening round of fixtures in the LV= Insurance County Championship drew to a close on Sunday
Jake Libby of Worcestershire produced a superb innings to deny Essex.Jake Libby of Worcestershire produced a superb innings to deny Essex.
Jake Libby of Worcestershire produced a superb innings to deny Essex.

Jake Libby produced the second-longest LV= Insurance County Championship innings ever as Worcestershire drew with champions Essex.

The 28-year-old was the first from his county to bat through an innings since Daryl Mitchell in 2015, having stayed at the crease for 11 hours and 21 minutes – only Jason Gallian’s vigil for Lancashire against Derbyshire in 1996, which was two minutes longer, shows as lengthier in the record books.

The opener ended unbeaten on 180, with Ed Barnard and Dillon Pennington recording personal first-class bests of 128 and 56 respectively as the visitors piled on 475 to kill off a positive result.

Unbeaten half-centuries from Lewis Gregory and George Bartlett sealed a four-wicket victory for Somerset over Middlesex in their opening game at Lord’s.

Graeme Van Buuren’s century steered Gloucestershire to an eight-wicket victory over Surrey at Bristol, their first win in the fixture since 2011.

Van Buuren’s unbeaten 110 and 91 not out from captain Chris Dent saw the hosts canter to their target of 228 with an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 193 in less than 29 overs.

Ben Foakes’s 133 had given Surrey hope of saving the game but Gloucestershire took their final five second-innings wickets for only 15 runs to leave 63 overs for the chase.

Hampshire needed just 30 minutes to secure victory at Leicestershire, winning by an innings and 105 runs.

The visitors started the day at the County Ground needing just two wickets, and Kyle Abbott pinned Gavin Griffiths lbw for 16 before Mohammad Abbas bowled Alex Evans for two.

Heavy snow caused Lancashire’s match with Sussex to be abandoned just after lunch.

Billy Root struck a century but Glamorgan could not open with a win as Yorkshire held on for a draw at Emerald Headingley.

The left-hander reached three figures off the bowling of his elder brother, England Test captain Joe, as he added 110 not out to his first-innings 43 in the Group Three fixture but Adam Lyth’s unbeaten 115 saved Yorkshire.

Rob Keogh struck a resolute century as Northamptonshire claimed maximum batting points from their draw with Kent.

The 29-year-old batted for just over six hours, making 124, before his county were dismissed for 434, 21 behind Kent’s first-innings total of 455. Kent reached 42 for one before stumps.

Warwickshire and Derbyshire settled for a draw at Edgbaston after the final session was brought to a premature end by bad weather.

The home side had a target of 213 in 41 overs in the final session but were just 25 balls in when the snow fell, in two spells which ended the match.

Nottinghamshire found the required resilience to pick up the enhanced eight-point reward for a draw after visitors Durham had given their bowlers the whole of the final day to claim 10 wickets and a first victory at Trent Bridge in the competition since 2013.

Two quick wickets for Chris Rushworth gave Durham the start they wanted but they could take only three more as opening batsman Ben Slater led the way in stifling their ambitions, standing firm for 48 overs for his 73. Lyndon James added an equally dogged 79 not out and Steven Mullaney 69.

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