Cricket / Sunday Round-up: Kent join race for place

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The Independent Online
WHILE the destiny of the Sunday League stakes has been a two-horse affair almost since the off, the race for place money is considerably more open, yesterday's results leaving six counties jockeying for position in third spot.

With Surrey and Somerset idle, Warwickshire and Hampshire losing and Worcestershire being washed out at Old Trafford, Kent joined the pack by dint of a six- wicket canter at Canterbury.

Mark Ealham's competition-best 3 for 24 helped the hosts keep Hampshire within bounds after Tony Middleton had belied his slothful reputation with 71 from 112 balls, but Kent were under the cosh at 86 for 4 in the 27th over before Graham Cowdrey (51 not out) and Matthew Fleming (45 not out) transformed the mood in an undefeated stand worth 90 in 12 overs.

Gloucestershire's Mark Alleyne all but doubled his League best with an unbeaten 134 off 121 balls to consign bottom-placed Leicestershire to a nine- wicket shipwreck at Bristol. Alleyne, whose previous highest Sunday score, 76, had also outfoxed the Foxes, composed an unbroken second-wicket stand of 155 with Bill Athey as the visitors' 205 was overhauled in the 39th over.

Durham may be enduring a nasty dose of Championship blues but their strengths over the shorter haul remained in evidence at Edgbaston. John Glendenen's Sunday-best 78 from 96 balls drove the newcomers to 190 for 6 on a seamer-friendly pitch before Steve McEwan and the two Simons, Brown and Hughes, took three wickets apiece to halt Warwickshire on 173, wicketkeeper Andy Fothergill helping out with five catches as Durham enhanced their prospects of finishing in the frame.

Ian Botham, for once, contributed little. In fact, it was a poor day all round for the Botham clan, son Liam managing only six before being caught off a mistimed off-drive as England totted up 276 for 7 before declaring 46 behind South Africa in the Under-15 'Test' at Arundel. For some, unfortunately, life in the goldfish bowl starts early.