Carter shows Warwickshire the route to safety

<preform>Warwickshire 350 &amp; 308-8<br>Gloucestershire 592-8 dec<br>Match drawn</preform>

Their nerves might have been shredded by the time proceedings were called off, but the steely character that Warwickshire displayed in turning what looked like defeat into a hard-fought draw may yet be the making of them as County Champions.

Their nerves might have been shredded by the time proceedings were called off, but the steely character that Warwickshire displayed in turning what looked like defeat into a hard-fought draw may yet be the making of them as County Champions.

There is still a long way to go before they can get their hands on the title, a crucial encounter against Sussex starting tomorrow at Edgbaston commencing a run of three tough games.At least Warwickshire will have their England debutant, Ian Bell, back in the side for that match, although they would clearly also like to have Gloucestershire's Jon Lewis, whose 3 for 89 took him to 50 wickets for the season, in their attack as well.

It emerged yesterday that Warwickshire have made a formal request to Gloucestershire to approach the seamer, who is out of contract and is still discussing terms for a new one.

There was also the consoling thought that, by the end of a game which had fully exposed their threadbare, injury ridden attack and patchy batting, Warwickshire - and especially Dougie Brown, Naqqash Tahir and tail-ender Neil Carter - had demonstrated the nerve necessary for the title run-in.

The doughty, aggressive Brown could not quite finish off the job of saving the game. He was well caught at short extra cover five overs before the draw was declared, and just one run away from a deserved half-century. But his selfless three-and-a-half hours at the crease was precisely what was called for as Warwickshire dragged themselves past the 242 run first-innings deficit and far enough ahead - 66 runs - to render it impossible for Gloucestershire to smash their way to victory in the half-a-dozen overs remaining.

Tahir was equally heroic, digging in for 23 overs and not being at all fazed when the Gloucestershire captain, Chris Taylor, packed everyone around the bat for left-arm spinner Ian Fisher's last few overs, while Carter kept Gloucestershire hearts fluttering and the Warwickshire flag flying with his unique brand of survival batting.

¿ Glamorgan secured the totesport League title with a five-wicket win over Lancashire at Colwyn Bay yesterday, Robert Croft hitting 106 as the Welsh side overhauled the visitors' total of 218 for 7 with more than four overs to spare.

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