Northants squeak home in thriller
A polished Durham fielding performance earned them a comfortable victory against Lancashire, by 57 runs. Steve Harmison led the Durham attack, with hostile verve that will please the England set-up, and he grabbed two wickets as the visitors subsided to some sparkling groundwork. Lancashire's bowling attack was studded with a trio of England stars, and Flintoff, Anderson, Mahmood each grabbed two wickets, but it was Gary Keedy who shone brightest at Chester-le-Street, with 3 for 42. Paul Collingwood inside-edged across the line to a Flintoff fast one when on 74, then some lower order clean-hitting from Liam Plunkett boosted Durham to 220 before Mahmood cleaned him up with his slower ball that twice proved effective.
Paul Nixon delivered in Leicestershire's run chase, combining well with John Sadler whose 59 from 41 balls proved the difference at they overcame a strong Yorkshire display. Leicestershire were merely meandering at 188 for 4 until Nixon and Sadler got together to make the game Leicestershire's at Headingley. Jacques Rudolph's 100 powered Yorkshire to 282 for 8 for 7, with Jim Allenby was the pick for Leicestershire, grabbing 3 for 44 from his 10.
Elsewhere, matches weren't so cut and dried, with rain affecting the majority. Nevertheless Scotland and Northamptonshire played out a last-ball thriller in their meeting at the County Ground which was reduced to 34 overs. Northants needed two off the final ball and a fumble by Arno Jacobs allowed them to scamper back as Scotland suffered their second final-ball defeat in two days. They were grateful for the efforts of Davey Jacobs, in his first match as a replacement for Chris Rogers, who made 88. Scotland had earlier battled to 191, with Ryan Watson and George Bailey joint topscorers on 43.
Warwickshire's 244 for 6 from 37 overs was too strong for Derbyshire at Derby after Ian Westwood (44) and Darren Maddy put on 109 for the first wicket. Maddy eventually powered 117 from 108 balls while Ian Bell, for the record, made 18. Derbyshire were always up against it and, although they gave game chase, after the innings was abandoned at 34.1 overs they came up 24 runs short with the D/L method.
Rain hit all of the games in the south. Gloucestershire squeaked a thriller at Bristol, beating Sussex by one wicket with one ball remaining, to reward the fans after a delayed start. The match was reduced to 31 overs, but that was more than enough time for Richard Montgomerie to post his century. It was in a losing cause, though, despite taking losing regular wickets and their top score being just 37, Gloucestershire fell over the line.
Frustration for Owais Shah at Canterbury. He was stranded on 95 not out from 89 balls as the innings closed on 41 overs - he and Eoin Morgan (43*) sharing an unbeaten stand of 97 to boost them to 233 for 5. Then he saw his efforts go in vain as Martin van Jarsveld plundered 86 not out to take the spoils for Kent with 21 balls remaining after rain further reduced proceedings.
Hampshire snuck home with four balls to spare at the Rose Bowl, courtesy of some bighitting from Sean Irvine and Kevin Pietersen - each reached their sixties in their unbroken stand of 143. Stuart Clark and Shane Warne did their best to stifle Ireland, each with an economy of 3.6, but another Australian, Trent Johnston, thwarted them with an unbeaten 52. Peter Gillespie made a half-century, too, to lift the visitors to 221 from a revised 48 overs. Rain in the interval shortened Hampshire's overs - leaving them needing 175 from 29 overs, and they duly delivered.