County cricket talking points: Division One is giving us a fascinating title race

Somerset and Yorkshire are taking the battle to Middlesex at the top of Division One – it’s just a pity that this entertaining format is being replaced next season

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Yet another draw at Lord’s kept Middlesex in Division One’s top slot, but wins for Somerset and, especially, defending champions Yorkshire, means that the title race will remain as fascinating in August as it has been since April – it really is a wonderful format and it’s so disappointing that it will change for 2017. Somerset leapfrogged opponents Durham, coming out on top in a low-scoring thriller at Taunton, the match decided in a blaze of wickets early on Day Three, which started nicely poised with Durham needing 46 runs and Somerset five wickets. In less than 20 minutes, spinners Jack Leach and Roelof van der Merwe gobbled up the necessary scalps and sent Durham on the long journey home licking their wounds. The spin twins shared 17 wickets in the match and contributed to Somerset’s late-order batting rallies which saw the last five wickets in the first innings score 103 of 184 and in the second 159 of 180. Durham drop to fourth, their only consolation is that they were involved in another tremendous game of cricket.

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