Cricket / Round-Up: Hodgson punishes leaders

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DEAN HODGSON, the Gloucestershire opener, scored an unbeaten career-best 145 as Graham Gooch's decision to field backfired on Essex, the County Championship leaders, at Southend yesterday. At the close the visitors had amassed 311 for 3.

Gooch employed eight bowlers during the day but was unable to disturb Hodgson's concentration as the 25-year-old advanced to his second Championship century of the season, hitting 19 boundaries in the process.

Hodgson's chief support came from his captain, Tony Wright, who joined him after Simon Hinks was forced to retire hurt with an injured knee. Wright struck 11 boundaries in an entertaining 69 while helping Hodgson to add 109.

At Uxbridge, Allan Lamb struck 14 fours in a high-class innings of 65 as Northamptonshire, third in the table, reached 316 for 7 against Middlesex.

Lamb, who came to the crease at 102 for 2, smashed his fourth, fifth and seventh balls from Chas Taylor to the boundary and after lunch he attacked the other seamers, Dean Headley and Angus Fraser, with a ferocity awesome even by his standards. He finally succumbed to a slip catch off the left-arm spinner, Phil Tufnell.

Mike Watkinson, the Lancashire seamer, took six for 82 - his best return for three years - as Lancashire bowled out Leicestershire for 257 at Southport.

In reply, Graeme Fowler and Mike Atherton put together an opening stand of 114 before both fell in the space of five balls as Lancashire reached 125 for 2.

Yorkshire made slow progress at Sheffield, Simon Kellett and David Byas hitting half-centuries as they were restricted to 247 for 5 in 110 overs against Warwickshire.