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May 24, 2008
Second DivisionThe division's closest match was played out at Chelmsford where, try as they might, Leicestershire just couldn't consign Essex to defeat despite having them nine down. Ravi Bopara's 87 and James Foster's unbeaten 88 from 212 balls held them together long enough to cling on for the draw. After the tumble of wickets on the first day, the draw was the least expected result, but the pitch flattened out considerably and was taking a lot of turn on the final day, as evidenced by Claude Henderson's figures of 4 for 68. Even so, it took some determined efforts from Essex who were seven down at tea. But Foster played out the last over from Dillon du Preez, well-supported by David Masters (5 off 87 balls) and Tony Palladino (2 off 53 balls) before Danish Kaneria survived the last eleven minutes with his senior partner. Kaneria offered a chance, spooning Henderson to mid-off but the ball evaded Garnett Kruger's high dive to his right.
Northamptonshire spared Glamorgan no mercy in notching their first win of the season, an emphatic affair at Swansea. Glamorgan followed on 256 behind and were soon in the soup at 5 for 21 as Northamptonshire's opening pair David Lucas and Johan van der Wath scythed the top five down for single figures. Mark Wallace, James Harris and Robert Croft painstakingly rebuilt as they each reached double figures, the only batsmen to do so this innings. But they were only staving off the inevitable and Andrew Hall nipped in with three to do the rest mid-afternoon. Although rain wiped out much of the second day, there was still enough time for the visitors to complete the job.
Warwickshire and Middlesex ended with a predictable draw at Edgbaston, after four batsmen contributed fifties for the visitors. Billy Godleman moved on to 87, Owais Shah converted his overnight 46 to 50, then Eoin Morgan and Shaun Udal batted into the evening as Middlesex built an insurmountable lead.
First DivisionJoe Denly's century allowed Kent to dream of a romantic finish at Tunbridge Wells after they had lost four wickets for 8 runs. But Somerset emerged winners by 20 runs after Steffan Jones' systematic destruction of Kent's line-up, taking 5 for 63. Resuming five down with 137 still required, Kent made some progress before the loss of Geraint Jones triggered the slide. At 176 for 9, the writing appeared on the wall for Kent, who required 271, but Denly stood firm with Martin Saggers, together adding 74 before Charl Willoughby trapped Denly in front for 149. Willoughby ended with 4 for 67.
Solid batting from Surrey on the final day forced stalemate with Yorkshire at The Oval, with an early end to proceedings as Surrey declared on 299 for 6 to close the game. Usman Afzaal's century ensured the result, and his third-wicket stand of 104 with Murtaza Hussain, who made 56, ended any hopes Yorkshire may have had after Deon Kruis' early dismissal of Scott Newman left the home side 70 for 3.
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