August 3, 2003

Crawley moves Hampshire into second

Wisden CricInfo staff

National League Division Two

Hampshire 226 for 3 beat Scotland 225 for 5 by seven wickets at the Rose Bowl
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John Crawley continued his rich vein of form to overcome a gutsy performance from Scotland, as Hampshire moved into second place in the National League Second Division. Crawley top-scored with an unbeaten 83, after Scotland had posted a competitive total of 225 for 5. John Francis remained with Crawley in an unbeaten partnership of 126, after Craig Wright had raised Scotland's hopes of a second county scalp in two days. He picked up three early wickets, including the in-form Simon Katich, and Derek Kenway for a first-ball duck, but none of the other bowlers could make any inroads.

Lancashire 199 for 2 beat Derbyshire 197 by eight wickets at Old Trafford
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Carl Hooper produced a superb allround performance as Lancashire eased past Derbyshire by eight wickets under the lights at Old Trafford. Derbyshire had been on course for a handy total until Hooper lopped off the tail with his offspin, taking three swift wickets including the pugnacious Dominic Cork. He then took command with the bat, thumping nine fours and four huge sixes, to seal the match with an unbeaten 79 from 70 balls. Hooper added 106 for the third wicket with Mal Loye, who batted through the innings for an unbeaten 62. Stuart Law chipped in with a rapid 39, as Lancashire won with nearly ten overs to spare.

Yesterday's matches

National League Division One

Kent 254 for 9 tied with Essex 254 for 9 at Canterbury
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Andy Flower cracked a brilliant century from just 89 balls to put Essex on course for a vital victory over their relegation rivals Kent, but Martin Saggers struck back with four vital scalps to scramble a tie in the final over. Kent had earlier posted a competitive total of 254 for 9, thanks to an astonishing blitz from Mark Ealham, who made 73 from 56 balls, with seven fours and three sixes, but Essex were cruising until Flower was stumped off James Tredwell for exactly 100. The tail crumbled to Saggers, and it all came down to the final over, bowled by Muttiah Muralitharan. Essex needed 17 with two wickets in hand, and Mohammad Akram thumped a last-ball four to tie the scores.

Gloucestershire 184 for 2 beat Yorkshire 183 by eight wickets at Cheltenham
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Craig Spearman continued his rich vein of form, spanking 93 not out from 88 balls to consolidate Gloucestershire's position at the top of Division One. Yorkshire's total of 183 never looked like being enough, and Spearman and Phil Weston very nearly overhauled it singlehandedly, adding 143 for the first wicket before Weston was caught by Yuvraj Singh for 62. Gloucestershire owed their position, however, to a fine spell of bowling from James Averis, who topped and tailed Yorkshire's innings with figures of 4 for 50. Matthew Wood (38) and Stephen Fleming (21) made steady starts, but steady was as good as it got.

Warwickshire 173 for 6 beat Leicestershire 172 by four wickets at Leicester
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Waqar Younis picked up 4 for 37 to limit Leicestershire to an underwhelming 172 at Grace Road, but it took a gritty team effort for Warwickshire to overhaul the total with four wickets and three overs to spare. Waqar's most important victim was Paul Nixon, who top-scored with 51. Nick Knight (50) launched the chase with assurance, and Dougie Brown and Ian Bell played their part as well, but a pair of run-outs made for a tense finish.

National League Division Two

Middlesex 260 for 6 beat Derbyshire 259 for 8 at Derby
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Michael Di Venuto's superb century was in vain, as Owais Shah led an impressive run-chase to keep Middlesex's promotion push on course. Shah top-scored with a run-a-ball 66 after Paul Weekes and Andrew Strauss had opened up with a pair of fifties, as victory was sealed in the penultimate over. It was tough luck on Di Venuto, who made 106 from 111 balls, and Dominic Cork, whose 41 from 30 balls had given Derbyshire what must have seemed an unassailable total.

Somerset 189 for 6 beat Durham 187 by four wickets at Chester-le-Street
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Ian Blackwell battered Somerset to victory with an unbeaten 79 from 81 balls, after the top-order had made heavy weather of Durham's meagre total of 188. After reducing Somerset to 8 for 6 in the County Championship this week, Shoaib Akhtar was once again in the wickets, picking up 5 for 35, but Durham were always chasing the game after their poor batting performance. Martin Love (42) and Phil Mustard (41) top-scored, but they received little support, with Gareth Andrew and Steffan Jones picking up three wickets each.

Lancashire 210 for 9 beat Nottinghamshire 185 by 25 runs at Cleethorpes
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Kevin Pietersen was once again in form for Nottinghamshire, but when he was run out for 54 from 46 balls, Lancashire took the initiative - and the match. Lancashire batted first and made 210, thanks to Carl Hooper and Stuart Law, who made 71 and 47 respectively after Greg Smith had made early inroads with the wickets of both openers. Nottinghamshire floundered badly at first, slumping to 34 for 3 at the hands of Peter Martin. Pietersen launched the recovery, and Usman Afzaal held up an end for 51, but the tail fell away.

Scotland 272 for 4 beat Sussex 270 for 4 by six wickets at Hove
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Jon Kent and Rahul Dravid fashioned a fantastic victory for Scotland, to keep Sussex nailed to the foot of the table, despite virtuoso performances from Murray Goodwin (106) and Chris Adams (95 not out). Sussex must have fancied their chances after posting a massive total of 270 for 4, but Kent responded with an unbeaten 115 from 113 balls, and Dravid kept him company with 69. Robin Martin-Jenkins picked up two early wickets to leave Scotland reeling at 57 for 3, but by the time he took his third, the match had already slipped away.