Cricket: Frustrated Surrey lose ground

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The Independent Online

Surrey's hopes of wringing a result from the soggy remnants of their match against Nottinghamshire ultimately came to nothing when more rain forced an abandonment with only 50 minutes play possible on the final day, writes Jon Culley from Trent Bridge.

It was especially frustrating for the title contenders because, despite the loss of almost half the first three days, circumstances had contrived to offer them an outside chance of victory.

A wet outfield delayed the start until 2pm and Surrey then declared their first innings where they had left it on Saturday, in response to which Nottinghamshire forfeited their second innings to give the visitors a target of 319 from a minimum of 59 overs.

Had the weather stayed fine, Surrey would have fancied themselves at least to go close against a lightweight attack, and Darren Bicknell's five early boundaries underlined their confidence as they reached 53 without loss.

No sooner had the contest resumed than dark clouds began to gather around the ground and more rain arrived during the 13th over, forcing the players off the field and then developing into a prolonged downpour.

Surrey's seven points may yet prove valuable but for the moment they drop back in the Championship race on a day when the weather was kinder to some more than others.

Leicestershire were even more frustrated by the elements. Instead of gong to the top of the table they found themselves one wickets short of an innings victory against Hampshire.

After mopping up the visitors' first innings for 137 they enforced the follow-on and in between the breaks for rain they took wickets at frequent intervals - six wickets fell for 69 runs in 32 overs in the afternoon session - as Hampshire staggered in to tea at 98 for 7.

The final-wicket pair were at the crease with the score on 105 and James Bovill and Simon Renshaw took the score to 135 for 9 before rain intervened for the final time.

That allowed Essex, who had no such problems with the weather, to join Kent on the top with 212 points. Their fifth successive win came against Gloucestershire by an innings and 64 runs. Neil Williams returned his best figures for Essex, finishing with 5 for 43 as the visitors were bowled out for 188 after resuming on 27 for 4.

Kent's chances of taking a clear lead were frustrated by Glamorgan. After Kent batted on in the morning, the home side forfeited their first innings and Kent did the same with their second to set a target of 324 off a minimum of 70 overs. Glamorgan were in no mood to crumble, however, Hugh Morris hitting 118 as his side reached 273 for 5 by the close.