Cricket: Moody in the mood to pile on the runs

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TOM MOODY'S fourth Championship century of the season put Worcestershire in a strong position with a first-innings lead of 125 against Nottinghamshire at Kidderminster.

The Australian all-rounder, who captains both his county and Western Australia, has now made 39 of his 63 first-class hundreds during eight county campaigns with Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

Moody's 112 helped his side to 289, and Nottinghamshire - despite a career- best 6 for 63 by Paul Franks - were still 25 behind when they reached the close at 100 for 2.

Unlike in previous seasons when the Chester Road pitch produced runs galore, this one has given a more equal contest - partly because of a thicker grass covering. For much of the second day, it was a battle between Moody and the pace and lift of the talented England Under-19 all-rounder, Franks.

The 19-year-old removed an overnight hold-up by dismissing David Leatherdale for 36 with his third ball, Paul Strang holding a good catch at backward point to end the stand of 77. Steve Rhodes (44) then put on 112 in 40 overs with Moody, but it might have been terminated much earlier if the wicketkeeper Chris Read had held an inside edge during an 11-over spell by Chris Tolley.

Franks came back after lunch to have Steve Rhodes snapped up from a more routine chance to Read, and the young wicketkeeper also held an edge from Moody off leg-spinner Strang. The seamer completed his third five-wicket return of the season when Phil Newport (26) misplaced a cut, and he then made Matthew Rawnsley his sixth victim with a slip catch. Stuart Lampitt (20) was last out, giving a return catch to Tolley.

Essex, missing several leading batsmen, found it tough going against Glamorgan at Chelmsford. Their progress was so laboured that they needed 111.5 overs to gather a total of 260 in reply to the visitors' 288. By the close, Glamorgan had moved to 20 for 1 in their second innings for an overall advantage of 48.

With Stuart Law and Paul Prichard on the casualty list and Nasser Hussain away on England duty, it was always likely Essex would struggle, even though Glamorgan were without the injured Waqar Younis and Steve Watkin. Darren Robinson spent 21 overs making 14; Tim Hodgson scored 35 in an effort spanning 37 overs, while Paul Grayson needed 180 deliveries to collect 59. The most entertaining innings of the day came from Ronnie Irani, who made 51 from 80 balls.