Cricket: Nottinghamshire warned over pitch

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NOTTINGHAMSHIRE WILL not be docked any points after the Trent Bridge pitch used for this week's County Championship match with Yorkshire was classified as "poor".

But the Midlanders will be punished with an automatic 10-point penalty if any of their wickets in the next 12 months are of a similar standard.

The England and Wales Cricket Board pitch panel decided the match, won by Yorkshire by three wickets on Thursday, was played on a track with too much grass on it.

Yesterday, Tim Hancock hit a half-century as Gloucestershire chased a formidable victory target of 396 against Leicestershire at Grace Road. Hancock reached his 50 off just 53 balls and was still there at lunch on 68 with the visitors at 127 for 2.

The Leicestershire all-rounder Jon Dakin, who hit 124 in their second innings, brought them back into the match by taking both wickets at a cost of 22 runs in a lively eight-over spell just before lunch.

Before then the home attack had been hammered by Hancock and his fellow opener, Rob Cunliffe, who shared a stand of 95 in just 22 overs.

They made the most of some wayward bowling from the Leicestershire attack, with Hancock collecting three successive boundaries off the Australian fast bowler, Michael Kasprowicz.

Alan Mullally also struggled with his direction and until the appearance of Dakin, the Gloucestershire batsmen were having a field day.

Hancock reached his fifty with his ninth four, ironically a hook to the boundary off Dakin, but the all-rounder then struck with two vital wickets.

He had Cunliffe brilliantly caught behind the wicket by Paul Nixon diving low to his right and followed that up by clean bowling Matt Windows, the ball nipping back as the batsman offered no shot.

Dakin then gave Gloucestershire's Mark Alleyne a testing time with one delivery rapping him on the helmet. But Hancock looked safe and when Gloucestershire went into lunch, the victory target had been reduced to 269.