Skipper Phil Nicholson hit the winning run at Jesmond as Northumberland beat Buckinghamshire by one wicket to boost their hopes of finishing in their highest Eastern Division placing since they were runners-up in 1983. Two agreed declarations left Northumberland to chase 255 to win in a minimum 99 overs, but they slipped to 98 for six. Simon Birtwisle's 71 revived their hopes but in a tense finish they lost their ninth wicket with the total on 252.

Nicholson kept his cool to complete Northumberland's victory and lift them into third place in the table. But the result was a serious setback to Buckinghamshire's hopes of stealing the regional title. They now go into their penultimate game with fellow title hopefuls Cumberland trailing leaders Lincolnshire by 24 points.

The only other game to beat the weather was the local derby between Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire at Southill Park. Cambridgeshire finished blocking out a draw on 188 for nine, having been set 213 to win in what proved 56 overs. Leg-spinner Andy Trott took five for 66 to erode what looked a solid platform at 123 for two.

Minor Counties Championship:

Falmouth: Cornwall v Wiltshire. Abandoned. Cornwall 5 Wilts 5.

Pontarddulais: Wales 60-2 v Devon. Abandoned. Wales 5 Devon 5.

Neston: Berks 83-5 v Cheshire. Abandoned. Cheshire 5 Berks 5.

Jesmond: Bucks 186 & 107-1 Northumberland 39-3 & 255-9 (SJ Birtwisle 71, AT Heather 51, JNB Bovill 4-64) Northumberland (20) beat Bucks (2) by 1 wicket.

Southill Park: Beds 167-8 & 207-7 (W Larkins 69, AJ Trott 60 not out) Cambs 162-5 & 188-9 (RJ Rollins 52, AJ Trott 5-66) Drawn. Beds 2 Cambs 3.