Durham on course for home semi

A round-up from the latest Friends Provident matches as semi-final places are chased

Cricinfo staff

North Conference

Gareth Breese hit an outstanding unbeaten run-a-ball 68 to guide Durham to a tense one-wicket win against Nottinghamshire at Chester-le-Street. It keeps them on course for a home semi-final, while Nottinghamshire now have to beat Lancashire in their final match and hope Durham overcome Warwickshire gain the second semi-final berth. They were favourites to take this match when Durham's ninth wicket fell and 21 were still needed. However, Graham Onions survived while Breese did most of the scoring and the win came with an over to spare. Phil Mustard's 75-ball 71 boosted the top order before Mark Ealham hit back with three wickets. Stephen Fleming fell for 98 in Nottinghamshire's innings and Neil Killeen's economical three-wicket spell was vital in keeping them to a chaseable total.
Brad Hodge's third century of the tournament carried Lancashire home against Derbyshire at Derby in a match with nothing riding on it other than pride. He added 75 with Steven Croft and finished the chase with a partnership of 65 alongside Gareth Cross. Hodge's ton came off 124 balls and he struck 12 fours and four sixes. Derbyshire's top order wasted an opening stand of 96 between Dan Birch (60) and Steve Stubbings (57) as Gary Keedy and Steven Mullaney took three wickets apiece.
Warwickshire overwhelmed a depleted Scotland by the convincing margin of 96 runs at Edinburgh. Warwickshire's innings was led by Jonathan Trott's 88 after Scotland's seamers had knocked over their top-order. But the killer blow came from Alex Loudon who crashed four sixes and four fours in a brutal 35-ball 53, boosting Warwickshire to 242. Scotland were never in the hunt after stumbling to 63 for 4, though Neil McCallum (42) and Glenn Rogers (32) struck several lusty blows to give them brief hope.
Graeme Hick smashed 120 off 119 balls as Worcestershire completed a convincing a 56-run against Northamptonshire at Northampton. Hick guided his team to an impressive 302, adding 96 for the sixth wicket with Gareth Batty. Once David Sales fell for 64, Northamptonshire's chances of making the target disappeared.

South Conference

Hampshire gave themselves a fabulous chance of making the semis, beating Kent by two runs at Tunbridge Wells to cement top spot, with one game to go. But while an outright win on Wednesday will confirm their semi-final place, if they lose to Surrey then they will be frantically following the results from elsewhere. Kent, meanwhile, missed out on a golden chance to all-but-seal a semi-final place, with Matt Walker getting out in the final over for 83, and the No 10 Ryan McLaren taking them close, making 43. Shane Warne and Shaun Udal kept the pressure on, though, and then Chris Tremlett kept calm dismissing Walker in a last-gasp victory.
Somerset have a mathematical, but slim, chance of making the semis, beating Surrey by three wickets at Bath. Both sides now have ten points, two behind the leaders Hampshire. Peter Trego and Marcus Trescothick helped them to a platform of 54, but wickets fell regularly to keep Surrey in the hunt of defending 215. James Hildreth proved the key, with an unbeaten 49, and he was helped by Steffan Jones's 21 not out from as many balls, seeing them home with 13 balls to spare.
Essex kept themselves well in the hunt with a crushing victory over Sussex at Arundel. Chasing 256, Sussex were reduced to 34 for 7, and only a late boost made their score anything approaching respectable. Andre Nel returned 3 for 15, Martin Saggers 2 for 10 and Graham Napier 2 for 16. Essex had Grant Flower to thank for reaching the only fifty of the game, although most of the rest of the order contributed. Essex, who are third in the table, with 11 points and an inferior run rate to Kent, now host Somerset.
Middlesex cruised past Ireland by six wickets at Clontarf with an impressive performance from their two spinners, Murali Kartik and Jamie Dalrymple. William Porterfield and Kenny Carroll put on 55 for the opening stand before Porterfield was stumped by David Nash off Dalrymple to begin the collapse. Bar Alex Cusack's bullish 29, the home side fell to 175 with Kartik picking up 3 for 20. Ed Joyce, formerly of Ireland, made 45 and Ed Smith 41, while Dalrymple stroked three fours in his 17 to guide Middlesex home in the 38th over.
Gloucestershire's David Brown held his nerve to restrict Glamorgan's tail, handing his side a tense six-run win at Colwyn Bay. Glamorgan appeared to be in control chasing 284, with Tom Maynard - Matthew's son - stroking a bullish fifty on debut. But his 75-ball 71 came to an end - failing to match his father's feat of hitting a hundred on debut in 1985 - and Glamorgan's tail crumbled. Maynard, 18, cracked three sixes in his impressive fifty, including a remarkable hook over deep backward square. His older team-mates were less able and, with 11 needed from the final over, Dean Cosker and Huw Waters couldn't quite edge their side over the line. Gloucestershire's innings was beautifully paced by Kadeer Ali's maiden one-day hundred, containing 13 fours and two sixes.
North Conference
Team Mat Won LostTied N/R Pts Net RR For Against
Durham 8 7 1 00 14 +0.999 1871/371.1 1610/398.2
Warwickshire 8 5 1 0 212 +0.627 1542/281.5 1357/280.1
Nottinghamshire 8 5 2 0 1 11+0.756 1806/311.3 1573/312.0
Worcestershire 84 3 0 1 9 +0.2071634/315.0 1636/328.3
Yorkshire 8 33 0 2 8 +0.090 1518/292.01456/285.0
Leicestershire 8 3 30 2 8 -0.462 1390/297.2 1429/278.1
Lancashire 8 3 4 01 7 -0.556 1174/266.5 1343/271.0
Derbyshire 8 2 5 0 15 -0.179 1280/262.1 1398/276.1
Northamptonshire 8 1 5 0 2 4-0.796 1297/255.0 1499/254.5
Scotland 81 7 0 0 2 -1.0511479/356.0 1690/324.4

South Conference
TeamMat Won Lost Tied N/R PtsNet RR For Against
Hampshire 85 1 1 1 12 +0.3381472/326.3 1372/329.0
Kent 8 52 0 1 11 +1.154 1510/290.41337/330.5
Essex 8 5 20 1 11 +0.957 1654/319.5 1402/332.4
Gloucestershire 8 5 2 01 11 +0.017 1668/313.5 1652/311.5
Surrey 8 4 2 0 210 +0.948 1711/285.5 1445/286.5
Somerset 8 4 2 1 1 10+0.453 1871/347.5 1724/350.0
Middlesex 83 4 0 1 7 -0.4081587/317.0 1758/324.4
Sussex 8 15 0 2 4 -0.841 1222/281.01448/279.0
Glamorgan 8 0 60 2 2 -1.416 1254/289.0 1431/248.4
Ireland 8 0 6 02 2 -1.793 1025/279.0 1405/257.0