Cricket: Cork's return proves a stopper for Glamorgan

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Dominic Cork yesterday played down the chance of an England return after he made a solid comeback in Derbyshire's eight-wicket victory over Glamorgan. Cork broke the Welsh side, all out for 103, with his best Sunday League figures of 6 for 21 in his first senior game since April and also scored 33 when opening the Derbyshire innings.

Having had a hernia operation six weeks ago, he refused to speculate on a possible return to the international arena. "I'm not even thinking about a schedule for playing for England at the moment," Cork said. "Performance and fitness will dictate that but obviously if I keep producing figures like this, I would have a chance of getting back in the frame.

"I've had no adverse reaction so far but I don't want to rush things and risk undoing all the good work. At the moment it seems more sensible to keep going steadily in one-day games."

Essex were denied first place in the Sunday League table when David Leatherdale earned Worcestershire a dramatic tie at Chelmsford. When the last over began Essex, replying to a total of 217 all out, needed just four runs to win with their last pair together. Ashley Cowan and Peter Such collected three singles off the first four deliveries but from the fifth Leatherdale breached Cowan's defence to bowl him.

Neil Fairbrother eased Lancashire two points clear at the top of the table with a match-winning innings against Hampshire at Southampton. Fairbrother hit 88 from 104 balls in an innings which included seven boundaries and paved the way for Lancashire to record their eighth win of the season.

Ian Austin struck some devastating late blows in his unbeaten 27 as Lancashire won by four wickets with three balls to spare. Hampshire chose to bat first and their 210 for 9 never looked like being enough.

A second-wicket partnership of 138 in 35 overs from Trevor Ward and Alan Wells took Kent to an eight-wicket win over Middlesex at Lord's. In sending the home side to their eighth defeat in 11 matches, Kent also maintained their challenge for the title.

They last tasted defeat in the Sunday League at Lord's in 1984 and never looked like being in any trouble of ending that run once Middlesex only managed 151 for 8 after Mike Gatting won the toss and elected to bat first.

Jon Lewis's first century for Durham in the Sunday League could not prevent a Gloucestershire victory at Cheltenham, which kept the visitors bottom of the table. Lewis scored 102 off 111 balls to help Durham make 226 for 7, their best League score this season. Gloucestershire, however, reached the target with five wickets and 14 balls to spare, thanks mainly to an unbeaten 59 from Jack Russell.