August 17, 2000

Northants on brink of victory at Eastbourne

PPP Healthcare County Championship

Darren Cousins and Paul Taylor bowled second division leaders Northamptonshire to the brink of a fourth successive Championship win after a dismal batting collapse by Sussex at Eastbourne.

Chasing 228 to win, Sussex collapsed to 45-7 when bad light stopped play after Northants had bowled five overs after claiming the extra half hour. Cousins took four wickets in 13 balls, removing Richard Montgomerie for the fourth time in six days, Toby Peirce, Wasim Khan and Tony Cottey as Sussex slumped to 6-4.

Taylor chipped in with the wickets of Robin Martin-Jenkins, James Kirtley and Umer Rashid to leave the home side on 25-7, but skipper Chris Adams and Nick Wilton at least delayed the inevitable defeat until the third day.

When wicketkeeper David Ripley caught Rashid he was able to celebrate his 700th dismissal for Northamptonshire. Earlier Sydney-born left-hander Jeff Cook had scored his second century of the season as Northants produced spirited middle order resistance before they were bowled out for 270.

The tall left-hander stroked 18 boundaries in his 116 while David Ripley (39) and Graeme Swann (24) provided useful support as Northants put on 160 between lunch and tea, losing three wickets in the process. Jason Lewry finished with 4-57 and Kirtley 2-52 which meant he had match figures of 8-93 on his home ground.

Eighteen wickets fell on the second day, one less than on the first when ECB pitches inspector Mike Denness marked the Saffrons pitch as 'below standard'.