Lincolnshire skipper Mark Fell blasted Cumberland's tactics as the chase for the Minor Counties Eastern Division pennant saw the reigning champions resort to subterfuge against Northumberland.

Lincolnshire, who began the final round of games 12 points behind leaders Cumberland, did all that could be asked of them in collecting all eight bonus points available on day one against Buckinghamshire at High Wycombe, establishing a first-innings lead of 86 runs.

But their satisfaction was undermined by news of some jiggery-pokery at Jesmond, where leaders Cumberland were playing Northumberland.

Cumberland scored 293 for two off 67 overs, with Northumberland on 10 for two off 13 overs in reply at tea. Collusion between the two captains then saw Northumberland declare, Cumberland forfeit their second innings and Northumberland commence their second innings in the final session chasing 284 to win.

They had reached 23 for one off 13 overs when bad light and rain forced an early finish. The prospect of bad weather intervening had a bearing on such a game-plan, but Fell called it a "disgrace" and revealed that Lincolnshire were going to protest to the MCCA.

The race for the honours in the Western Division saw Dorset make up their three point deficit on leaders Oxfordshire. They took all eight first-day points against Wiltshire at Corsham, with Oxfordshire only managing five against Berkshire at Reading.

Should Oxfordshire and Dorset finish level on points - either by both winning or both not winning - then the issue would be decided on net run-rate, as both sides have won the same amount of games. Leg-spinner Vyvian Pike was Dorset's ace in the pack at Corsham, his seven for 61 seeing Wiltshire bowled out for 222.

Minor Counties Championship

Reading: Berks 225-6 & 9-2 Oxon 216-3 (SV Laudat 118)

High Wycombe: Lincs 225-4 (J Clarke 100 not, RJ Chapman 50) & 29-1 Bucks 139 (S Oakes 6-45)

Bowdon: Shrops 225-8 (NB Archibald 81) & 8-2 Cheshire 144

St. Austell: Devon 183 (GTJ Townsend 57, JM Hands 6-39) & 9-2 Cornwall 191-9 (CM Gazzard 68)

Brockhampton: Hereford 98 (CJ Barnsley 4-15) & 76-1 Wales 107 (A Farooque 4-11)

Stevenage: Herts 197 (SJ Lowe 51, MJG Mason 4-33, DG Wilson 4-47) & 16-2 Cambs 262-8 (SA Kellett 98, MA Everett 4-32)

Jesmond: Cumberland 293-2 (ST Knox 158 not, DE Barnes 69 not) and 2nd inns forfeited Northumberland 10-2 & 23-1

Walsall: Beds 246-7 (AR Roberts 92) & 28-0 Staffs 225-4 (GD Wright 63 not)

Bury St Edmunds: Suffolk 252-7 (DW Randall 75, RJ Catley 53, PJ Caley 50 not, AR Clarke 4-95) Norfolk 9-0

Corsham: Wilts 222 (RJ Sillence 74, VJ Pike 7-61) & 21-0 Dorset 252-9 (GR Treagus 69, M Swarbrick 64, CR Gibbens 4-58)