April 21, 2003

Three thrillers - it's close at Worcester, Nottingham and Bristol, but Surrey survive

Wisden CricInfo staff

Division One

Middlesex 214 and 495 drew with Essex 402 and 40 for 1 at Chelmsford Scorecard

A fifth-wicket stand of 151 between Ed Joyce, who batted more than six hours for his 117, and Abdul Razzaq (81) took Middlesex to safety at Chelmsford. James Middlebrook, the former Yorkshire offspinner now with Essex, took 5 for 172, but they came too slowly to give his side a chance of victory.

Nottinghamshire 348 and 264 for 7 beat Warwickshire 222 and 390 by 3 wickets at Trent Bridge Scorecard

Nottis pulled off an exciting home win, creeping to their target of 264 with only three wickets to spare. When Darren Bicknell (81) and Kevin Pietersen were putting on 99 it looked simple, but suddenly Mel Betts took four wickets in 15 balls and Notts slumped from 209 for 3 to 219 for 7. But the eighth-wicket pair of Chris Read (20*) and Paul Franks (25*) inched Notts home with no further loss. Betts finished with 4 for 49.

Surrey 280 and 379 for 6 drew with Lancashire 599 at The Oval Scorecard

Some sort of order was restored at The Oval, where Surrey were following on for the first time in five years. When Ally Brown was run out for 0 and Adam Hollioake managed just 10, Surrey were staring at defeat at 150 for 5: but then the precocious Rikki Clarke joined Ian Ward and calmly saved the match. They put on 144 for the sixth wicket before Ward was out for 158, the fifth century in his last seven Championship innings. Clarke went on to 127 not out by the close.

Division Two

Derbyshire 420 and 245 for 6 dec drew with Glamorgan 352 and 253 for 7 at Derby Scorecard

A target of 314 in a minimum of 63 overs proved a little too steep for Glamorgan. Despite Adrian Dale's 92, Glamorgan lost too many wickets to mount a sustained challenge, and finished 60 short with three wickets intact.

Gloucestershire 203 and 368 beat Somerset 289 and 274 by 8 runs at Bristol Scorecard

The west-country derby threw up a thriller: set 283, Somerset seemed to be cruising at 204 for 3 after Peter Bowler made 50 and Jamie Cox 67. But then Mark Alleyne took three quick wickets, Mike Smith and Roger Sillence also finished with three, and Somerset's last seven wickets tumbled for 70 runs. The last pair - first-innings centurymaker Richard Johnson and Simon Francis - needed to make 12 to win ... but managed only three.

Worcestershire 396 and 264 for 9 dec drew with Hampshire 347 and 276 for 9 at Worcester Scorecard

Alan Mullally and Ed Giddins - not most people's picks to save matches with the bat - somehow survived as Worcestershire pushed for victory at New Road. Set 314 in 74 overs, Hants made a decent start, with John Crawley making 67 and Robin Smith 77. Nic Pothas chipped in with 48, but with Nantie Hayward taking regular wickets (he ended up with 5 for 70) Hampshire ended up defending desperately.