Hampshire's openers set up victory

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The Independent Online

Hampshire stepped up their bid for promotion from the County Championship Second Division when they reached a target of 214 in 53 overs with eight wickets and one over to spare against Durham at Chester-le-Street yesterday. The win took them back into second place, 12 points behind Sussex with three games left.

Durham, who resumed on 87 for 4, were dismissed for 202 with a career-best 5 for 39 for Alex Morris. Hampshire had the best of the conditions and, against some ordinary bowling, Jason Laney and Giles White put on 110 for the first wicket.

Laney hit seven fours in his 66-ball half-century but he was out for 60 in the 27th over, caught at slip by Martin Love off the left-arm spinner Graeme Bridge.

White and Will Kendall took the total to 185 before the opener fell for 74, bowled when going for a big hit off Bridge.

On the ground where he has scored centuries in each of the last two seasons, Kendall followed his first-innings 49 with 54 before he was lbw to Stephen Harmison when five runs were needed off five overs. Robin Smith was able to cut the winning boundary off Harmison, but only after he was dropped at mid-wicket off Bridge.

Earlier, Durham's Martin Love moved from his overnight score of 43 to 52, then shouldered arms and was out lbw. It was Love's 12th championship half-century of the season, but he has only once managed to go on to three figures.

Yorkshire can reclaim their long-lost crown at the pinnacle of English cricket this week as they entertain Glamorgan. It has been 33 years since the championship's most successful side last won the title, but a maximum of 20 points against the Welshmen in the game starting today will complete their resurgence.

The only thing that could then separate them from the First Division title would be the new over-rate rules, which have seen Kent, Surrey, Warwickshire, Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire all docked points this year.

Yorkshire go into the game 40 points clear at the top of the table, but the game is just as important for Glamorgan, who remain in the relegation zone. The county has succeeded this season against a backdrop of constant enforced changes due to injuries and numerous England call-ups. Their coach Wayne Clark said: "We have used something like 23 or 24 players this season but everyone that has come in has done very well."

Unusually, Clark has been able to name an unchanged squad from the one which beat Leicestershire by 168 runs, with Michael Vaughan not called up by England for Thursday's Test at The Oval.

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