Cricket / Round-Up: Gatting fires record run

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MIDDLESEX enjoyed a fruitful afternoon at Lord's yesterday. Apart from taking an outright lead in the table, they set a Sunday League record with their ninth successive victory - the best start made by a team in the competition - when they destroyed Worcestershire by nine wickets with 11 overs to spare.

Worcestershire may have lost only four wickets themselves, but a total of 181 was never a worry for a side in such outstanding Sunday form and although Middlesex lost Desmond Haynes in the seventh over, the unbeaten Mike Gatting (88) and Mike Roseberry (76) saw them stroll home.

It was a Sunday best for the pair this season and their partnership raised 151 in 22 overs. Roseberry struck three sixes and four fours, while Gatting managed 11 boundaries and an extraordinary pulled six that cleared long-on.

Essex, meanwhile, had been sharing top spot, but their hopes of the title were dented when they lost by 24 runs to Warwickshire at Edgbaston. They are now four points off the pace - and Middlesex have two games in hand.

Mark Waugh scored 43 and Derek Pringle 52 off 52 balls in chasing 215. But Essex were dismissed for 190 for 37.5 overs, Neil Smith finishing with his League- best return of 4 for 25 and Pieran Holloway setting a Warwickshire 40-over wicketkeeping record of 19 dismissals in a season.

Allan Lamb enjoyed a real bash at Northampton, where he came within a whisker of a record when hammering a century off 48 balls in his team's 74-run win over Sussex. Lamb's effort was only two deliveries slower than the fastest hundred in the League set by Graham Rose of Somerset in the match against Glamorgan at Neath two years ago.

Contributing 120, Lamb faced 62 balls in all and let fly with seven sixes and 10 fours. His second-wicket stand of 128 in 13 overs with Nigel Felton (61) saw Northamptonshire to 226 for 5 in a match reduced to 25 overs a side.