Cricket / Round-Up: Speight goes on a spree

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The Independent Online
SHOULD the players' objections to the new format be heeded - a novel concept in itself - the first year of the 50-over Sunday slog may also be the last. In which case, Martin Speight's onslaught at Taunton yesterday is likely to be remembered as the most exhilarating in the competition's brief history, writes Rob Steen.

A product of the same Durham University XI as Nasser Hussain, Speight sprinted to three figures off 47 deliveries with 18 fours and a brace of sixes, swatting 126 in all from 56 balls to fuel Sussex's imposing 302 for 8. Despite sustaining a back injury that compelled him to retire hurt on 93, he resumed with the aid of a runner, leaving Somerset to contemplate what might have occurred had he been at full throttle.

The only member of the home attack to reap anything positive from all this was Graham Rose, whose 46-ball hundred against Glamorgan in 1990 narrowly survives as the most rapid in Sunday league history. There was little he could do to affect the outcome here, though, Adrian Jones (4 for 26) demolishing the Somerset top order as Sussex strolled home by 105 runs to remain four points behind the leaders, Kent, with two games in hand.

Contending for the Championship is all very well, but what about Glamorgan's unprecedented run over the shorter course? Having never previously finished higher than fifth, the Taffs can no longer be considered naff and duly kept pace with Sussex by dint of a resounding 121-run win over Middlesex, Adrian Dale (61) following up his double-century in the Championship game by adding 172 for the second wicket with Steve James (94) as the Morris men ran up a daunting 287 for 8.

Northamptonshire, too, remain within striking distance of the top, Kevin Curran (65 not out and 3 for 25) tying Nottinghamshire in knots at Northampton, where Mal Loye, fresh from his maiden Sunday century, strode to the fore once more with 85 to help the home team total 227 for 7, 63 too many.