Cousins and Brown on the attack

Jason Brown and Darren Cousins claimed another four victims apiece as Northamptonshire, top of the County Championship Second Division, forced Gloucestershire to follow on 283 runs behind on a rain-affected day at Wantage Road.

Jason Brown and Darren Cousins claimed another four victims apiece as Northamptonshire, top of the County Championship Second Division, forced Gloucestershire to follow on 283 runs behind on a rain-affected day at Wantage Road.

The off-spinner Brown with 4 for 68 and the pace-man Cousins (4 for 41), dismissed the visitors for 186. Mark Alleyne's men closed on 15 without loss second time around, still needing a further 268 to make their opponents bat again.

Northamptonshire enjoyed an excellent morning, snapping up five wickets after Gloucestershire resumed on 65 for 3. Brown struck on the ninth ball of the day when opener Dominic Hewson, edged to Matthew Hayden at slip and departed for 45.

Cousins beat the bat frequently in an impressive opening spell and eventually had his reward, Alleyne out lbw playing across the line to leave his side in deep trouble at 84 for 5.

Chris Taylor provided Brown with a fourth wicket and Northamptonshire with a second bowling point, pushing a simple catch to forward short leg, and after negotiating the first 80 minutes of the session, night watchman Martyn Ball was bowled by Paul Taylor.

Gloucestershire rallied briefly through Jack Russell and Jeremy Snape, who added 32, but Snape then became Alec Swann's first Championship victim with the aid of another slip catch by Hayden.

Russell (40) was at his obdurate best, and with Jon Lewis middling some hefty blows at the other end, the pair carried Gloucestershire to 177 for 8 when rain drove the players from the field shortly after lunch.

The stoppage lasted two-and-a-quarter hours, costing 36 overs from the day's total, and when the contest resumed at 4.45pm, Cousins wasted no time wrapping up the innings. He had Lewis held at mid-wicket in the first over back and then removed Russell, who edged an attempted hook to wicket keeper, David Ripley.

Hewson and Tim Hancock were back at the crease with a scheduled 85 minutes play left, but the weather closed in again to prevent Northamptonshire making any further strides towards the victory they require to make promotion all but certain.

Jason Gallian smashed his Nottinghamshire team into a commanding position over Sussex on day three of their Second Division game with a superb exhibition of crisp stroke play at Trent Bridge. He put on a demonstration of exquisitely timed cover drives and pulls as he raced to 82 from only 98 balls.

When a heavy cloudburst brought a premature end, Nottinghamshire had scored 177 for 3, giving them a lead of 241 going into the final day.

Earlier in the day, Sussex resumed on 235 for 6 added just 52 runs before they were back in the pavilion for 287.

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