Cricket: County Championship: Drakes proves match-winner

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The Independent Online
VASBERT DRAKES produced a match-winning performance for Nottinghamshire against Somerset on the third day of their County Championship match at Trent Bridge yesterday.

The West Indian all-rounder hit a half-century to help Nottinghamshire set Somerset a target of 264 and then took 3 for 16 as the hosts earned a 31-run victory. It was their second successive triumph, following a defeat of Worcestershire.

Lancashire's Mike Watkinson profited from the sportsmanship of Northamptonshire's captain, Matthew Hayden, to lead his county's recovery with a sparkling century. He was only on seven and his side were in danger of following on when he was run out, but the bowler Graeme Swan was blocking his way as he went for a quick single. Hayden allowed Watkinson to continue and he hit two sixes and 13 fours as he marched to 116, with Mark Chilton scoring 102. Lancashire declared at 350 for 6 after Northants declared on 404 for 8.

Anthony McGrath led a Yorkshire fightback at Headingley with a career- best 142 not out against Middlesex.

It contained one moment of controversy. When he had made 57, Justin Langer claimed a catch at slip off spinner Paul Weekes. The umpire Roy Palmer was unimpressed and when Phil Tufnell appeared to direct a comment in the direction of the batsman there was some finger-wagging from Palmer.

Middlesex, needing 225 to win, finished on 42 for 3.

Derbyshire's captain, Dominic Cork, claimed 5 for 88 but his side were still left facing an uphill battle to avoid their first Championship defeat of the season against Warwickshire at Edgbaston. His efforts could not prevent Warwickshire leaving Derbyshire a daunting target of 349 to win on a pitch of variable bounce.