Cricket / Round Up: Northamptonshire force tie

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Northamptonshire, bottom of the AXA Equity and Law League, without a win, snatched a tie against Durham at Hartlepool yesterday. Chasing 266 for 6, they needed six off the last ball - and Rob Bailey was caught at deep mid-wicket only for the umpire, Graham Burgess, to signal no-ball. With four needed, Bailey sliced the extra ball wide of gully and John Longley made a brilliant diving stop to restrict Northants to three runs, leaving them on 266 for 3.

Neil Mallender took 4 for 45 for Somerset, including a spell of three wickets in nine balls, to condemn Yorkshire to their first defeat of the season by a two-run margin at Headingley.

Yorkshire's batsmen were unable to cope with the chasing a target of 227 despite being given a flying start by the acting captain, David Byas, who hit a six and eight fours in 58 made from 58 balls.

Worcestershire were made to work hard for a four-wicket victory after dismissing Essex for only 119 on a pitch of variable bounce at New Road. They looked set to cruise to their third win of the season after the opener, Tom Moody, hit 28 from 21 balls with five fours. But batting became a struggle after the big-hitting Australian was trapped leg before by John Stephenson.

Winston Benjamin lifted Hampshire to an improbable three-wicket victory against Nottinghamshire, hitting 35 in 19 balls. Hampshire were 161 for 6 and 59 short of their target when Benjamin joined Adrian Aymes for a match- winning partnership of 53 in five overs as Nottinghamshire wilted under the pressure.

Mike Atherton hit an unbeaten 101 to lead Lancashire to a seven-wicket triumph against Sussex, their fourth successive Sunday League win. Atherton led the way with 13 fours off 102 balls and completed his hundred by hitting Jason Lewry for four for the winning runs.

Middlesex recorded their second successive victory of the season, beating Kent by 11 runs with seven balls to spare and denying them their first Sunday League win at Canterbury this season.