Cricket Round-up: Fairbrother has the force

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The Independent Online
NEIL FAIRBROTHER played a typically forthright innings to keep Lancashire on top of the Sunday League table. In a match reduced to 27 overs, they needed 114 but were struggling at 51 for 3 when he was joined by his captain Mike Watkinson.

They put on 46 in just six overs and the scare was over. Fairbrother hit 32 off 34 balls, including two sixes and two fours, while Watkinson was even quicker with an unbeaten 28 off 26 balls as his side won by six wickets with 16 balls remaining.

Warwickshire won their fifth successive match to stay level with Lancashire thanks to an unbeaten 86 off 79 balls by Asif Din against Kent at Edgbaston. Brian Lara made his first half-century of the competition after compiling only 36 runs from four previous innings.

Darren Gough returned to Yorkshire's side after a month away as they enjoyed a 10-run victory over Northamptonshire, who have yet to win a Sunday game this season. He picked up 2 for 35 from 7.4 overs to keep the White Rose in third place. Richie Richardson (55) and Martyn Moxon (45) provided the bulk of Yorkshire's runs, but a crucial late flourish came from Peter Hartley. His 32 came off only 15 balls, including 22 off the last over of the innings from Tony Penberthy.

Umpire Peter Wight was unable to return to the field after tea following a blow from a Richardson straight drive, and the Northamptonshire official Roy Wills deputised at square leg with Mervyn Kitchen standing at both ends.

Leicestershire made their highest Sunday score, 301 for 7, as Phil Simmons blasted 140 and Vince Wells joined in with 101. They put on 241 for the second wicket, another county record. Middlesex had little chance of surpassing that, reaching 240 with Mark Feltham hitting a career-best 75 off just 50 balls.

Simmons faced 106 balls and hit 16 fours and five sixes before being caught on the boundary by Kevin Shine off Feltham. Wells, playing despite a broken toe, was also in sparkling form. His century came from 90 balls, hitting eight fours and two sixes.

Graham Rose produced a devastating all-round display to lead Somerset to their third successive Sunday win. He hit 62 off 55 balls with nine boundaries as the home side totalled 239 for 6, and then took 4 for 35 to restrict Surrey to 221 for 9.

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