Cricket: Radford narrows gap

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WORCESTERSHIRE, after their three-run Sunday League victory against the leaders, Warwickshire, moved to within four points with a game in hand. Chasing 183, it looked like a Warwickshire win when their openers Dominic Ostler (42) and Neil Smith (47) put on 105 in 14 overs but Neal Radford's spell of 4 for 36 put the game in doubt.

Brian Lara and Dermot Reeve added 38 for the sixth wicket but another collapse left them requiring eight from the final over by David Leatherdale. After conceding three runs from the first three deliveries, Leatherdale bowled Keith Piper. The task of scoring five from two deliveries proved too great for Gladstone Small and Trevor Penney.

Lancashire failed to take advantage of that slip by losing to Essex by five wickets. Lancashire's openers Jason Gallian (84) and Steve Titchard (96) hit career bests, but the fine start was not capitalised on.

John Stephenson led the Essex reply with 73 and Ronnie Irani smacked 33 from 29 balls before he was run out.

Five were required from the final over and Nadeem Shahid was out to the first ball before Jonathan Lewis and Robert Rollins saw Essex home with one ball left to take them off the bottom of the table.

Kent moved into third place with a comfortable six-wicket victory against Hampshire. Their fifth win in succession owed much to Carl Hooper. He completed his eight overs at a cost of 29 as Hampshire totalled 169 and then hit his fifth half-century of the season.