Cricket: Fleming uses match-winning maths

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Worcestershire 186-9; Kent 143-5

Kent win on faster run rate

YOU HAD to be cold and certainly calculating to work this one out. Kent stayed in the hunt for the pounds 30,000 first prize in the Sunday League by a margin that had the scorers reaching for their pocket Casios here yesterday while chilled spectators were totally in the dark as to the outcome. In the event, a little matter of .04 of a run settled it.

As the rain clouds rolled in at New Road, this was down to Matthew Fleming, whose push for two through mid-wicket off Stuart Lampitt from the last ball of the 38th over proved decisive. It was to be the final delivery of what had developed into a thoroughly miserable afternoon, though Fleming was far from unhappy. Which goes to show that all that expensive education has its merits.

Fleming went to Eton College and his mental arithmetic is such that he knew exactly what was required. The rest, meanwhile, did their sums by what has become the traditional method and by the time an official announcement was given, the ground was virtually deserted. A question perhaps, so far as Worcestershire locals were concerned, of who cares who wins?

Well, it mattered to Kent, who lie second in the table. They next play Lancashire at Old Trafford and then there is a fair old Canterbury climax building up against Northamptonshire and, on the closing Sunday, leaders Glamorgan. Hopefully, the weather will have brightened up by then.

Fleming apart, the leading figures yesterday were Alan Igglesden and Carl Hooper. Worcestershire had won the toss and decided to bat, but they were immediately set upon by Igglesden, who exploited an unpredictable wicket to collect five for 29 from his 10 overs.

Robbed of a Test place through injury, Igglesden was moving freely again and he left Worcestershire reeling on 51 for four with a spell of three for six in 17 balls. Steve Rhodes, who made 35, helped to pull things round but a total of half a dozen boundaries in the innings told its own sorry tale. As for Hooper, he grafted away for Kent to make 46 off 89 deliveries and included just one four. It was that sort of day.

Lancashire's Wasim Akram came up smelling of roses after his 51 not out in 45 balls put paid to Yorkshire. Lancashire were in difficulty at 98 for 4 in reply to Yorkshire's 173 for 9 in 45 overs before he came to the crease for a fifth-wicket stand of 49 with his captain, Neil Fairbrother. He helped his county move to fifth in the table.