Kent keep up pressure

Click to follow

The opener Darren Bicknell's 64 was in vain as third-placed Nottinghamshire lost by one run against second-placed Kent in the Norwich Union League First Division at Trent Bridge yesterday. The South African Kevin Pietersen also scored 48 before being run out as the Outlaws totalled 195 for the loss of seven wickets off their 45 overs. Mark Ealham took three wickets for 53 runs to help the Spitfires record a narrow but important victory in the chase for the title.

Kent's attempt to overtake the leaders, Leicestershire, had faltered against the Outlaws' steady bowling attack. Wickets fell steadily, with the South African Greg Smith claiming three and Richard Logan and Usman Afzaal picking up two each. The opener David Fulton top-scored for the Spitfires with 39, and four other batsmen got into the 20s as the visitors struggled to build a large total.

Leicestershire added to Yorkshire's woes despite the home side's Darren Lehmann scoring a century at Scarborough. The Foxes won by 16 runs as the Phoenix failed to reach a victory target of 248.

Leicestershire had scored 247 for 9, with the Leeds-born opener Iain Sutcliffe marking his return to his home county with a top score of 48 for the Foxes before he was caught and bowled by Lehmann. But with fellow opener Jon Dakin also hitting 39 and scores in the 30s from Ben Smith, Neil Burns and Aftab Habib, Leicestershire were able to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Dominic Ostler and Nick Knight both fell just short of their half-centuries to help Warwickshire beat Northamptonshire by four wickets at Edgbaston. Ostler and Knight saw the Bears reach 159 for 6 with more than six overs to spare against the Steelbacks.

The visitors' Michael Strong took four wickets, but his captain, David Ripley, must have been regretting his decision to bat as the Steelbacks were held to 158 for 8. Russell Warren's unbeaten 80 was in vain as only three other players reached double figures. Dougie Brown and Neil Carter claimed three wickets apiece.

Worcestershire made the most of the Second Division leaders, Durham, having their match succumb to the weather, but had to rely on their bowlers David Leatherdale and Andy Bichel to steer them to a five-wicket victory at New Road. Leatherdale hit an unbeaten 55 and the Australian Bichel was the second-top scorer with 23 after both had taken two Crusaders wickets each.

The Royals, who went top as a result of the win, had bowled Middlesex out for 128 runs with 11 balls to spare, although the Crusaders had recovered well after being from 7 for 3.

Comments