Minor Counties Championship Round Up
Northumberland and Cornwall celebrated their first championship victories of the season to pull away from the bottom of their respective divisions.
Northumberland triumphed in a low-scoring game at Ransomes in Ipswich, bowling Suffolk out for 154 to finish 16-run winners. The best efforts of Suffolk skipper Phil Caley went to waste as he finished stranded on 38 not out.
Jamie Sylvester could also count himself unlucky to finish on the losing side after making 120 for Wales against Cornwall. A 245 for six declaration left Cornwall a target of 233, and skipper Gary Thomas hit 61 to pave the way for Tim Edwards to finish the job with an unbeaten 53.
Bedfordshire put a spoke in Buckinghamshire's title bid with a 47-run success at Marlow. Andy Trott's 63 raised Bedfordshire from 104 for six to 235 all out, and they then dismissed Buckinghamshire for 192.
The Dorset v Berkshire and Oxfordshire v Devon games ended in draws - Devon having the Western Division leaders on 240 for eight in pursuit of a 275 target - while a magnificent 171 from Cheshire's Mark Currie came close to condemning Wiltshire to defeat from the jaws of victory at Salisbury.
The 20-year-old MCC Young Cricketer was making only his fourth championship appearance, but inspired Cheshire to an imposing 344 for six off 79.5 overs after following on 133 runs behind. Wiltshire, set 212 to win in 48 overs, finished blocking out survival on 165 for eight.
There was to be no repeat of Sunday's drama as Shropshire's Minor Counties clash with Herefordshire ended in the familiar deadlock of a draw at Whitchurch.
Shropshire, left a testing victory target of 274 in 53 overs after bowling out Herefordshire for 195 in their second innings, finished on 227 for eight. It was the ninth successive draw between the teams since Herefordshire were elected into the championship in 1992.
Lincolnshire's last-ever visit to Lakenham petered out into a tame Minor Counties draw with Norfolk but day one at Brewood saw David Ward's liking for Staffordshire bowling eclipsed the first century of Graeme Archer's Minor Counties career.
Archer hit 113 of his side's 248 for eight off 61.2 overs against Hertfordshire, but ex-Surrey star Ward then overshadowed that effort, following his two centuries in the game against Staffordshire at Long Marston last season by carving a mighty 160, his fourth hundred against Staffordshire in four years. Hertfordshire closed on 297 for eight off 55 overs.
Minor Counties Championship
Marlow: Beds 178 & 235 (AJ Trott 63) Bucks 174 & 192 (GDT Paskins 80) Beds (22), beat Bucks (5) by 47 runs
Dean Park: Berks 294-3 & 258-8 (GE Loveday 61, NA Fusedale 53 not, TC Hicks 4-115) Dorset 285-4 Drawn. Dorset 3, Berks 3
Lakenham: Norfolk 204-5 & 188 (RA Moyser 56) Lincs 187-8 & 106-5 (JC Harrison 51 not, AR Clarke 4-18) Drawn. Norfolk 5, Lincs 3
Christ Church: Devon 227-4 & 271-8 (GTJ Townsend 81, NA Folland 61) Oxon 224 & 240-8 (SV Laudat 71, KR Mustow 60) Drawn. Oxon 2, Devon 8
Whitchurch: Hereford 313-2 & 195 (HV Patel 54 not, AM Shimmons 4-54) Shrops 235-9 & 227-8 (JBR Jones 55, KP Evans 51 not) Match Drawn. Shrops 4, Hereford 8
Ransomes: Northumberland 218-8 & 108 (GM Kirk 5-30) Suffolk 156 & 154 Northumberland (22), beat Suffolk (4) by 16 runs
Neath: Wales 168-7 & 245-6 (JPJ Sylvester 120) Cornwall 181-8 & 235-5 (GM Thomas 61, T Edwards 53 not) Cornwall (21), beat Wales (3) by 5 wickets
South Wilts: Wilts 229-6 & 165-8 (CC Finegan 4-61) Cheshire 96 & 344-6 (MR Currie 171, AJ Hall 53, RJ Bates 5-87) Match Drawn. Wilts 6, Cheshire 2
Brewood: Staffs 248-8 (GF Archer 113, SP White 5-48) Herts 297-8 (DM Ward 160, MH James 52)