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September 13, 2007
Lancashire stormed to the top of the Championship thanks to their victory against Warwickshire at Old Trafford, coupled with Durham's win against the previous leaders Sussex. The result meant that Warwickshire are relegated, because their fellow strugglers Kent managed to beat Hampshire at the Rose Bowl. Warwickshire lost their last eight wickets for 147, with Glen Chapple once more using his experience in leading the attack with three wickets, making it seven for the match. Lancashire were left an unchallenging 68 for victory, and cruised home for the loss of one wicket - that of Paul Horton. They are now one match away from lifting the title for the first time since 1934 (they shared it in 1950) - after narrowly missing out to Sussex last year. But Sussex are still breathing down their neck, six points behind.
Durham have crept to within a whisker of Sussex thanks to a thumping nine-wicket win at Chester-le-Street. Durham are now a mere 1.5 points behind second-placed Sussex (and 7.5 behind Lancashire) heading into the final match. Resuming on 85 for 4 Sussex folded fast, losing their final wickets for 46, with Rana Naved-ul-Hasan absent injured. Liam Plunkett and Mark Davies tidied up with three wickets each. Durham eased to their 107 target without alarm, losing only Mark Stoneman for 46. Michael Di Venuto (35*) and Kyle Coetzer (21*) did the rest. Durham head to Kent and Sussex host Worcestershire in the final, and decisive, round. Lancashire are playing Surrey at The Oval.
Kent shot to safety at The Rose Bowl by beating Hampshire whose title hopes thinned with defeat. After dominating for two days, Kent clinched the win in the final session on the third day, bowling out Hampshire for 216, enforcing the follow-on, and then easily knocking off the three runs they needed.
Middlesex are still in with a promotion chance after an intriguing battle of wits against Leicestershire at Southgate. They enter the final day needing to take four wickets, while Leicestershire need 140. Claude Henderson and David Masters are at the crease. Tim Murtagh and Murali Karthik both took two wickets to keep Middlesex in the hunt - at least for another day.
Monty Panesar helped Northamptonshire seal victory with four second-innings wickets on a rare outing at Wantage Road. He and David Wigley removed Glamorgan's top six between them to leave the visitors reeling with 68 on the board. Nicky Boje and Jason Brown completed the rout to sink them for 102. This left Northants needing a single run for victory.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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