National Cricket League round-up August 31, 2003

Surrey edge towards title after thrilling win against Yorkshire

Wisden CricInfo staff

National Cricket League Division One

Surrey 202 beat Yorkshire 200 for 8 by two runs at Headingley
There were 13 England Test players past and present - as well as a few of the future - on show at Headingley, the scene of England's dismal surrender to South Africa last week. But this time it was a much closer contest as Surrey squeezed home by two runs against Yorkshire in a thrilling finish. Needing four to win off the last ball, Darren Gough could only manage a single as Azhar Mahmood (2 for 49) kept his cool. Yorkshire had the game in their grasps after Michael Vaughan scored a measured 90 from 112 balls, including seven boundaries, and added 120 with Vic Craven (47). However, after they were both run out, Richard Blakey and Richard Dawson both perished with only five runs needed, and Surrey somehow scrambled a win which has taken them to the brink of the title. In their innings, Alistair Brown hit a run-a-ball fifty and Rikki Clarke played the crucial anchor role with an unbeaten 46 from 72 balls which rescued Surrey to a respectable 202 from a dodgy 107 for 5. All six Yorkshire bowlers took a wicket. Gough was economical (1 for 28), Matthew Hoggard was more expensive (1 for 57), but he started Surrey's steady fall of wickets when he had Ian Ward caught behind for 21. England hopeful Steve Kirby took 2 for 47, but England outcast Anthony McGrath outshone them all with 4 for 41, including the recalled Graham Thorpe for 2.

National Cricket League Division Two

Durham 216 for 7 beat Derbyshire 205 by 11 runs at Derby
An efficient display from Durham's bowlers, and from Graeme Bridge in particular, helped them to an 11-run win against Derbyshire. After Dominic Cork won the toss and chose to bowl, Martin Love (48), Gary Muchall (39), Ashley Thorpe (34) and Paul Collingwood (54) all made starts, but failed to make the big score to push Durham out of sight. Love and Collingwood caught the eye before they were both victims of Cork. Wearing a captain's armband as if to remind the Derbyshire board he is still in charge, Cork again led from the front with 3 for 28 from his nine overs, including an athletic caught and bowled to rid Love. Derbyshire's reply got off to a bright start. Michael Di Venuto hit a quickfire 63 and added 97 with Chris Bassano, who scored 51. However, a spell of 4 wickets for 10 runs from Bridge pegged Derbyshire back, and they never recovered. Bridge, who went for 18 from his first two overs but finished with 4 for 39, removed Di Venuto, Chris Harris, Rawait Khan and Luke Sutton in quick succession as Derbyshire lost their way to 123 for 5. Bassano was soon undone by Stephen Harmison (1 for 42), and despite a late fightback from Steve Stubbings (45), Durham always had the edge after Bridge's wickets.

Northamptonshire 296 for 5 beat Nottinghamshire 84 by 212 runs at Trent Bridge
Northamptonshire kept up the pace at the top of the division with an emphatic win over a demoralised Nottinghamshire team, who were skittled out for 84 after being a woeful 18 for 6 at one stage. Andre Nel (3 for 22), Carl Greenidge (3 for 24) and Mike Cawdron (3 for 23) ripped through Notts's fragile top six, who scraped together a feeble 11 runs between them. Samit Patel saved some sort of pride with 33 not out, but it was a disastrous batting display from Notts which brought back memories of their 79 all out against Essex in the Championship earlier in the season. Northants's 296 was always going to be tough to reach, and it was Timothy Roberts who was the shining light with his maiden first-team century. Roberts, 25, scored 131 from 112 balls, clubbing 15 fours and three sixes. He added 172 with Mike Hussey (59 off 71 balls) to put Northants on the way to a dominating score which proved far too much for Notts.