Cricket: Cronje puts Ireland in control

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The Independent Online
The South African captain Hansie Cronje made an unbeaten 94 for Ireland, who had Middlesex in serious trouble when rain ended play early in their Benson and Hedges Cup zonal match in Dublin yesterday.

Middlesex were 134 for 6 off 32.2 overs, now needing to score at 8.38 per over in reply to 281 for 4 by Ireland, who last month narrowly missed out on a place in the next World Cup after finishing fourth in the ICC Trophy.

Leicestershire posted a record for the 50-over version of the cup as they eased to a 178-run victory over Scotland at Grace Road. They made 371 for 6 to beat Warwickshire's 369 for 8, made last season when the tournament switched from 55 overs.

Opener Darren Maddy made 97 off 98 balls, and there were half-centuries from Iain Sutcliffe, James Whitaker and Aftab Habib. Scotland were below full strength with eight of the squad which finished third in the ICC Trophy unavailable.

Paul Jarvis hit a rapid unbeaten 42 and then took 3 for 30 as Sussex's bright start to the season continued at Hove, where they beat Hampshire by 49 runs. Despite 65 from John Stephenson Hampshire were never in contention after being set 233.

Kent scrambled to a four-wicket win off the last ball against Surrey at The Oval. Needing two to win, Mark Ealham hit Ben Hollioake for a straight six. Matthew Fleming's 5 for 54 for Kent gave him the Gold Award, and there were half-centuries for Kent's Matthew Walker and Surrey's Alec Stewart.

At Bristol, British Universities went down by 122 runs against Gloucestershire, whose spinner Martyn Ball took 4 for 22. The Tasmanian Shaun Young hit 52 at a run a ball for the Gold Award, while for the students Robin Martin- Jenkins finished with 4 for 57 and wicketkeeper Tim Bailey made 52.

At Trent Bridge Durham are within sight of their first win over a first- class side since 28 July last year thanks to David Boon's third half-century in four innings. When rain stopped play Nottinghamshire were 94 for 3 from 26 overs, needing 232 to win.

Only 10.5 overs were possible in the Roses match at Old Trafford, with Yorkshire 43 without loss, and at Lakenham Chris Adams was unbeaten on 95 as Derbyshire reached 166 for 2 chasing the Minor Counties' 257. The former Derbyshire player Mark Fell made 67 and Richard Dalton 76 off 59 balls.