County round-up: Mascarenhas skittles Durham

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The Independent Online

Durham only managed to secure a couple of points in their attempt to extend their lead at the top of the County Championship while all their title rivals, Lancashire, Somerset and Warwickshire, had a week off.

Their match against Hampshire at Chester-le-Street was so severely hit by the weather that only six wickets had fallen by the start of the final day. The visitors had been put in to bat way back in the mists of time, if not the rain, and they eventually declared on 275 for 7 yesterday morning.

At this point Durham's first innings and Hampshire's second were forfeited as the home captain, Phil Mustard, sought to contrive a result. That left Durham with a generous target of 276 to win in 82 overs but they fell 50 runs short, handing lowly Hampshire their first Championship win of the season.

Durham were undone by the dibbly-dobblers of Dimitri Mascarenhas, who was playing in only his third Championship game in two years after being hampered by an Achilles injury. The all-rounder grabbed 6 for 61 while paceman Kabir Ali picked up 3 for 69.

The run-chase was in deep trouble at 79 for 5 but Mustard found an ally in the Australian paceman Callum Thorp (43) to revive their chances. However, when the captain fell for 56, cutting low to Michael Carberry at backward point, his team's hopes were dashed.

Durham lead by eight points from Lancashire, but all three title rivals can all overtake them this week, when Durham are not in action.

Hampshire still remain rooted to the bottom of Division One, but Worcestershire leapt out of the relegation places with a victory over Sussex at Horsham. The Pakistanoff-spinner Saeed Ajmal took 6 for 124 to help Worcestershire go four points above Yorkshire with a game in hand.

Sussex, resuming on 17 for 1, needed another 320 runs to win but fell 34 runs short despite Murray Goodwin's brilliant 122 off 193 balls with 14 boundaries. After the home side were reduced to 52 for 4, he shared a stand of 151 with Michael Yardy (63).

But Ajmal, in his last Championship appearance of the season, shared the second new ball with veteran seamer Alan Richardson, who returned 4 for 54 as the tailenders fell away.

In Division Two, Gloucestershire's promotion hopes were dealt a blow by Derbyshire, who won by seven wickets at Derby. Northamptonshire took their first innings up to 399 at Lord's with Australian paceman Steven Crook returning 5 for 94. Middlesex have reached 58 for 4, 24 runs behind.