Lancashire close gap at the top

Wisden CricInfo staff

June 7, 2003

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Frizzell County Championship Division One

Division One Table

Lancashire 503-6 dec. and 24 for 0 beat Leicestershire 314 and 212 by 10 wickets
Lancashire moved to within six points of Surrey at the top of Division One, with an easy victory over Leicestershire on the final morning at Aigburth. For Leicestershire, it was a first Championship defeat of the season, but one that had long been on the cards, after they had been forced to follow on on the third day. Carl Hooper signed off as Lancashire's overseas player with a virtuoso performance - with the ball - as Leicestershire crumbled from their overnight 130 for 5 to 212 all out. Hooper picked up 5 for 52, his 17th five-wicket haul in first-class cricket, and Gary Keedy added 4 for 61, making him the leading wicket-taker in the country, with 23. Leicestershire did at least avoid an innings defeat, thanks largely to Jeremy Snape's 26, but Mark Chilton and Iain Sutcliffe knocked off the 24 runs for victory with no problems whatsoever.

Simon Cook celebrates for Middlesex, but Essex clung on for a draw

Middlesex 363 drew with Essex 166 and 269-8
A defiant 40 not out from Ravinder Bopara saved Essex from defeat against Middlesex at Lord's. Following his valuable 48 in the first innings, Bopara stuck around for just over three hours and with other crucial knocks from acting-captain Paul Grayson (69), and from No. 9 James Middlebrook (52), Essex got away with the draw. Resuming the day on 21 for 0, they lost Darren Robinson with no score added, and once Simon Cook got rid of Grayson, Essex were reeling on 137 for 6 and still 60 runs behind. But Bopara, in just his sixth first-class game, showed maturity beyond his 18 years to save the day.

Warwickshire 351 and 405 drew with Nottinghamshire 646 and 67 for 5
An action-packed match at Edgbaston between Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire ended in a draw - but it was anything but dull. After eventually bowling Warwickshire out for 405 in their second innings, Notts were set a challenging 111 to win off 12 overs. And after six overs, a stunning win was on the cards when they raced to 52 for 1. But then Waqar Younis hit back for Warwickshire with three quick wickets as Notts stumbled to 66 for 5, and the chase was called off. Nick Knight was the mainstay of Warwickshire's second innings as he belted 146, including 18 fours and one six, and Ian Bell made a welcome return to form with 64 before he was bowled by Stuart MacGill (6 for 117). Considering Notts's huge first innings, Warwickshire did well to salvage a draw, but they slip a place to fourth in the table, while Notts stay in seventh.

Kent 275 and 131 lost to Sussex 311 and 286 by 191 runs
Kent's dismal season continued when they went down by 191 runs to Sussex at Tunbridge Wells. At the start of the day, Kent still had an outside chance of recording their first win of the season, but an 89-run partnership between Robin Martin-Jenkins (84) and Matthew Prior (45) threw that possibility out the window. Sussex finished their second-innings on 286 all out, meaning Kent needed a highly unlikely 323 to win, or needed bat out just over two sessions to draw. However, Kent didn't get off to the best of starts when Greg Blewett was caught for a duck in the second over. Michael Carberry and Ed Smith did their best to make a recovery, but when Carberry fell to Mushtaq Ahmed for 40, Kent were starring down the barrel at 99 for 5. Mushtaq went on to claim 4 for 56, and Jason Lewry and Martin-Jenkins chipped in with three wickets apiece as Sussex rounded off a comfortable win which jumped them up a place to third in the table.

Frizzell County Championship Division Two

Division Two Table

Somerset 238 and 367 lost to Worcestershire 538 and 68 for 1 by nine wickets
Worcestershire took Somerset's place as division leaders with a convincing nine-wicket win over them - their third consecutive victory of the season. Following-on in their second innings, Somerset started the day 156 in arrears and three wickets down. Jamie Cox and Michael Burns, the overnight batsmen, were well set and they continued their good work. Burns made 57 before he fell to Andrew Hall, and Hall also accounted for Cox, but not after he had blasted 160 with 26 fours. Gareth Batty then cleaned up the lower-order in his impressive 6 for 58, as Somerset were bowled out for 367. Worcestershire required only 68 runs to win and Vikram Solanki (20*) and Graeme Hick (29*) got them there in just over seven overs.

Glamorgan 395 beat Derbyshire 209 and 116 by an innings and 70 runs
Glamorgan crushed Derbyshire by an innings and 70 runs to put themselves back in contention for promotion from the second division. After Robert Croft had wrapped up Derbyshire's first innings with figures of 6 for 71, Derbyshire were reduced to rubble in the follow-on, as Mike Kasprowicz and Alex Wharf took the first five wickets for 15 runs, including the top three for ducks. India's Mohammad Kaif fared slightly better, but he was the fourth wicket to fall for 6. Graeme Welch led something of a recovery with a determined 31, but the end was only a matter of time. Croft eventually prised Welch from the crease, before having Kevin Dean caught behind to complete match figures of 8 for 110. Derbyshire were all out for a meagre 116, to complete their third defeat of the season.

Gloucestershire 230 and 338 lost to Northamptonshire 622 for 8 dec. by an innings and 54 runs
Northamptonshire jumped up three places from the bottom of division two after their first win of the season, against Gloucestershire. A win by an innings and 54 runs may sound like a comfortable stroll, but Gloucestershire's Matt Windows and Jack Russell made them fight all the way. Windows struck a stylish 150 with 25 fours and two sixes, while Russell made a typically stodgy 63. The pair had put on 175 runs until they were both caught with the score on 322. Jason Brown took the vital wicket of Windows in his 4 for 106, but it was Andre Nel (3 for 87) who then blasted out the last two Gloucestershire wickets to end the game.

Hampshire 456 drew with Durham 235 & 137-9
Durham fought for their lives to scrape a draw and deny Hampshire their first win of the season at The Rose Bowl. The Hampshire fast-bowling trio of Wasim Akram, Ed Giddins and Alan Mullally all took three wickets each as Durham crashed to 235 in their first innings and were forced to follow-on. And things got even worse for Durham second time round as wickets fell at regular intervals. This time it was Simon Katich, along with Wasim Akram, who weighed in with three scalps as Durham crashed to 63 for 7 and looked to be bombing to an embarrassing defeat. But thanks to some backs-to-the-wall batting from Phil Mustard (30) and Nicky Phillips (31 not out from 86 balls), Durham clung on to the draw with only wicket intact.

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