Cricket: Llong's superb catch wasted

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The Independent Online
GRAEME HICK'S return to the Worcestershire ranks lasted just four balls at Canterbury yesterday, as only 6.5 overs were possible before rain halted play for the day.

Hick failed to score, as his attempted square-cut off Ben Phillips saw Nigel Llong produce a superb one-handed catch at backward point as Worcestershire reached 16 for 2 in the seventh over.

Worcestershire won the toss and their captain Tom Moody chose to bat but went cheaply himself, caught behind by Steve Marsh off Dean Headley for one with the score at six. However, after only 28 minutes play, the rain began to fall and the umpires, Vanburn Holder and Jeremy Lloyd, took the players off and the match was officially abandoned at 5.40pm.

It was the third time this season that Kent had been frustrated by the weather. They had Sussex struggling at 50 for 5 at Tunbridge Wells in June when rain stopped play, and had reduced Leicestershire to 25 for 5 at Grace Road the following week, only for rain to intervene again.

Ben Hollioake was denied the opportunity to celebrate his England recall with deeds on the pitch as Surrey's AXA League game against Nottinghamshire was abandoned without a ball being bowled at Trent Bridge today. Hollioake, named in the 13-man England squad to face Sri Lanka on his home ground on Thursday, was able to make an early departure from Trent Bridge after rain had washed out any hope of play.

The umpires Dickie Bird and Trevor Jesty had little alternative but to call the game off with large pools of water on the outfield. Heavy rain had fallen in the two hours up until the scheduled start, leaving Trent Bridge saturated.

Leicestershire kept up the pressure on county championship title chasers Surrey and Lancashire with an eight- wicket win over Middlesex at Grace Road. The hosts, in third place, responded to their rivals' victories yesterday by recording maximum points thanks to an unbeaten third wicket stand of 82 between Iain Sutcliffe and Ben Smith. Sutcliffe (40 not out) and Smith (39no) came together with Leicester struggling at 19 for 2 chasing a victory target of 101. The win moves Leicester to within 39 points of leaders Surrey with a game in hand.

Yorkshire's Gavin Hamilton turned in a career-best bowling performance of five for 43 to steer the Tykes to a 114-run victory over Glamorgan at Cardiff.

It was a frustrating final day for Worcestershire at Canterbury, where they were unable to dismiss Kent for their expected victory and were forced to settle for a draw.