September 2, 2000

Rain halts Northants push for victory

PPP Healthcare County Championship

Rain halted Northamptonshire's push for victory in the Division Two contest against Gloucestershire at Wantage Road, after the visitors were plunged into crisis by the loss of three wickets in 29 balls.

The visitors, who resumed on 15 without loss, struggled to 125 for five - still 158 runs adrift - when a third weather interruption prompted the umpires to take an early tea.

Northants opened up with the pace of Darren Cousins and Paul Taylor, but the early switch to spin paid immediate dividends as Jason Brown removed Tim Hancock with his first ball of the day, wicketkeeper David Ripley holding a regulation chance off the outside edge.

Matt Windows took Hancock's place, and Hewson soon followed his partner back to the pavilion as he punched a low return catch to Alec Swann. Hewson's 39 off 91 balls featured five boundaries, and his departure left Gloucestershire 60 for two.

They made further inroads after lunch with Kim Barnett brilliantly held at short leg off Swann before Brown had Matt Windows caught at backward point and then bowled Chris Taylor, leaving Mark Alleyne and Jack Russell to continue the struggle.