Cricket: Somerset sink the champions

County Championship
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The Independent Online
THE COUNTY champions, Leicestershire, suffered a crushing nine- wicket defeat yesterday after being forced to follow on against Somerset at Taunton.

Aftab Habib's 147 helped Leicester to 313 all out, which at least forced Somerset to go through the formality of collecting the 34 runs for victory. There was the annoyance of losing Jamie Cox for seven with the score on 17, but by then it was too late. Jason Kerr's 7 for 23 in Leicestershire's second innings had laid the foundation for Somerset's win.

Derbyshire recorded their first Championship win against Northamptonshire for nine years at Derby. The home side marched to an eight-wicket win after all the hard work had been done in the first innings when they took a crucial lead of 196, thanks to centuries from both Michael Slater and Steve Titchard.

Slater was then unable to see the job through in the second innings, falling for 30, but Titchard and Matthew Cassar sealed victory for Derbyshire in the 16th over. Earlier, 111 from the Australian opener, Matthew Hayden, was the highlight of the Northamptonshire innings as they were bowled out for 261.

A last-wicket stand of 99 between Hampshire's Derek Kenway and Peter Hartley helped put the pressure on Middlesex at Lord's. The visitors started the third day just 29 runs ahead, but Kenway, who made a career- best 75 not out, and Hartley (58) established a 123-run advantage. Mike Roseberry made an unbeaten 73 as Middlesex gained a 55-run lead by the close.

Yorkshire's opener Michael Vaughan hit his second century of the match against Essex at Chelmsford to set the home side an unlikely victory target of 412. Vaughan, who hit 151 from 169 balls. was well supported by David Byas, with 90.