Cricket: Worcestershire secure third place

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The Independent Online
Worcestershire sneaked into third place in the County Championship with a comfortable nine wicket win over Hampshire at Southampton.

Hampshire began the last day still trailing by 99 at 127 for 1 in their second innings after being forced to follow on. They subsided to 313 all out with departing Australian Matthew Hayden top scoring with 77 while their captain, John Stephenson, hit a rapid 39.

Richard Illingworth finished with 10 wickets in the match for the sixth time in his career despite the Hampshire tail's resistance. Simon Renshaw hit seven boundaries in his 34 not out but Illingworth finished with figures of 3 for 68.

This gave him a match analysis of 10 for 147 while Graeme Hick took 3 for 90 to add to his colossal 303 not out in the Worcestershire first innings.

Hick's match aggregate of 331 not out left him top of the championship batting averages and Worcestershire collected 24 points to see them leap above Yorkshire, Middlesex and Warwickshire into third spot with their sixth win.

Leicestershire fast bowler David Millns wrecked Durham's bid for their first away win in the Championship for two years with a devastating three wicket burst at Grace Road. Millns snapped up the last three wickets in 14 balls without conceding a run and Durham, chasing 328, were all out for 310.

The Leicestershire pace-man finished with 6-81 and match figures of 10- 130 as last season's champions collected their fourth win of the season and their second at home to preserve their two year unbeaten home record.

At lunch Durham were 198-3 and looking in good shape with David Boon still there on 72. When he was dropped off Millns in the first over after lunch it appeared to be Durham's day but Millns finally gained revenge with the Durham captain edging a catch to Paul Nixon having made 93 off 173 balls with 17 fours.

Gritty knocks from Jimmy Daley, James Boiling and Simon Brown continued to frustrate the home attack and at 302 for 7 Durham looked set for that victory. Then Millns, having taken the new ball, removed Boiling, Brown and Alan Walker to give Leicestershire victory by 17 runs.

Middlesex were content to settle for a draw against Essex at Chelmsford today after spurning a victory target of 267 in a minimum of 50 overs.

A win would have carried the visitors to third place in the championship but it soon became obvious such a challenge was beyond them.

Mark Ilott and Ashley Cowan reduced Middlesex to 21 for 3 in the first seven overs and Mike Gatting soon followed after a brisk 27, a victim of left-arm spinner Paul Grayson when pulling across the line.

The visitors eventually closed on 139 for 5 without the option of the extra half-hour of play being taken.