Cricket: Foxes are saved from relegation by rain

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The Independent Online
LEICESTERSHIRE'S FINAL National League First Division match against already relegated Essex Eagles was washed out without a ball being bowled at Grace Road yesterday.

The decision came in mid-afternoon and left the Foxes sweating on the outcome of other games around the country. However, they were saved when Warwickshire's match against Hampshire was also abandoned. That meant Leicestershire will be guaranteed First Division cricket next season and left Warwickshire and Hampshire contemplating second division cricket in 2000.

A Warwickshire win would have relegated Leicestershire and they reached 114 for 5 in their rain-reduced innings. Hampshire Hawks were reduced to 76 for 6 but then the weather intervened to scupper the Bears.

They will be replaced in the top division by Sussex, Somerset and Northamptonshire. Sussex took the Second Division title with a seven wicket victory in a 10-over slog. Chasing 94 they scored 97 for 3 with five balls remaining at Derby thanks to 28 from Tony Cottey and 16 from Kevin Greenfield.

Somerset, who would have won the title had Sussex lost, still finished off their season with a victory. Piran Holloway was their top-scorer with 54 on their way to 209 for 9 at Taunton. Despite 57 from new England tourist Graeme Swann Northamptonshire fell short by 29 runs.

Heavy rain spoilt Tom Moody's farewell party when Worcestershire Royals' game against First Division champions Lancashire Lightning was washed out.

The match was due to have marked the end of Moody's eight-season career at New Road. His overseas place next season will be filled by Glenn McGrath.