Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire continue to set the pace in the Benson & Hedges Cup, each with three wins out of three so far. Both won easily today, and there were also wins for Lancashire, Sussex and Worcestershire. Gold Awards went to Craig Spearman, Mark Chilton, Mike Hussey, Chris Adams and David Leatherdale.
Gloucestershire comfortably lead their group after they beat Glamorgan by eight wickets at Cardiff. Set 172 to win, they did it with more than 20 overs to spare, with Craig Spearman making 73. Unlike Gloucestershire's two previous scalps, Glamorgan at least had the consolation of reaching three figures. David Hemp led the way with 62 in their 171 for eight - ten more than Gloucestershire's other opponents could muster between them.
The start of the season for Gloucestershire's West Country rivals could hardly be more of a contrast. Somerset have yet to win a game - today they went down to a 145-run defeat by Northants at Taunton. Set a daunting 300 to win they were never likely to get there, Graeme Swann taking four for 29 as the home side crashed to 154 all out. Rob Turner was Somerset's top scorer with 33. The Northants innings included 87 for Mike Hussey, 76 from David Sales and 56 from Mal Loye. Loye, making a fine start to the season, was one of Turner's two stumpings.
Sussex are back in the hunt for a quarter-final place after an exciting six-wicket win over Hampshire at Hove. Set 204 to win, Sussex were indebted to their captain Chris Adams for an unbeaten 80 which saw his side home. A dashing 61 from Tony Cottey helped Adams add 95 for the fourth wicket after Sussex had made a shaky start to their reply. Earlier there were three wickets each for James Kirtley and Billy Taylor as several Hampshire batsmen got in, but none could stay to build the substantial innings needed for a more competitive total.
Worcestershire eventually won a tense encounter at Edgbaston by three wickets. After collapsing to 73 for seven in pursuit of a modest victory target of 131, the visitors were rescued by the experienced David Leatherdale and Stuart Lampitt. Alan Richardson, with four for 21, was the pick of Warwickshire's bowlers. An innings of 40 from Ian Bell and one of 30 by captain Michael Powell shored up Warwickshire earlier; Andy Bichel was Worcestershire's main wicket-taker with four.
Leicestershire's quarter-final hopes were dampened by the weather at Derby, where rain forced the abandonment of their tie with Derbyshire. The rain came when the visitors had scored 119 for two from 32 overs, and Derbyshire were set a revised target of 82 from ten overs. They were well placed at 51 for two from 5.1 overs when the heavens opened again. Iain Sutcliffe was Leicestershire's top scorer with an unbeaten 52.
Lancashire were more fortunate; although rain predictably intervened at Old Trafford it didn't prevent them from securing a 76-run win. Going along at nearly six an over against Nottinghamshire, they reached 297 for five in their 50 overs. Leading the way was Mark Chilton with 102, while fellow-opener Glen Chapple was out for exactly 50 and there were forties for Stuart Law and Graham Lloyd. Set a revised target of 215 for victory after rain, Notts were never in the hunt. John Wood took four for 32 as the visitors subsided to 138 all out.