Andy Wilson: Mood changes quickly in LV= County Championship

Saturday 23rd May 2015

Andy Wilson: Mood changes quickly in LV= County Championship

It has been a good week for the reputation of the LV= County Championship as one of the most competitive, and least predictable, leagues in British sport.

Last Sunday morning Somerset were bottom of Division One, and Kent propping up the rest in the second tier. Now they are each sixth in their respective tables, upwardly mobile, and feeling a good deal happier, after holding their collective nerve to secure first wins of the season.

In the end they were both deceptively comfortable – Somerset by 133 runs against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, Kent by eight wickets against Gloucestershire in Bristol.

But there would have been some wobbly legs in the visitors dressing room when Somerset slipped to 86 for seven in their second innings on Tuesday afternoon, and likewise for Kent on Thursday morning when they lost two early wickets in their pursuit of a victory target of 243.

That’s why Championship wins offer such satisfaction, and Championship cricket holds such appeal – there are usually a few twists and turns along the way.

For Somerset, the seamers scored handy lower-order runs then made short work of the Notts second innings, with the contributions of Lewis Gregory and Craig Overton offering particular long-term encouragement.

For Kent, it was the relatively old firm of Joe Denly and Sam Northeast who teamed up in an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 208, Denly reaching his first Championship century since 2012, which was the first of his three seasons with Middlesex. “Everything suddenly seems to be going in the right direction," said Northeast, an especially apt quote given his surname.

The 25-year-old has been having a quietly consistent season, passing 400 runs in his 10th Championship innings but yet to score a century, and his matchwinning contribution should quieten any talk that the captaincy might affect his batting after a double failure against Glamorgan when Rob Key handed over the reins.