Lancashire fail to dispel the gathering gloom

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The Independent Online

Rain appropriately had the last word in a soggy draw between Lancashire and Hampshire at Old Trafford, which did nothing to lighten the County Championship First Division relegation gloom for either side.

Rain appropriately had the last word in a soggy draw between Lancashire and Hampshire at Old Trafford, which did nothing to lighten the County Championship First Division relegation gloom for either side.

For the record, Hampshire had old favourites Adrian Aymes and Shaun Udal to thank for carrying their first-innings 84 for 7 on to 122 for 8 declared. Lancashire then posted 52 without loss before the weather closed in again and put the match out of its misery.

Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire had to call it a draw too, in the Second Division at Kidderminster.

But Worcestershire's young all-rounder Gareth Batty had a day to remember, contributing an unbeaten 66 to a second-innings 336 for 5 declared and then taking three wickets in Nottinghamshire's 292 for 5.

Half-centuries from Usman Afzaal (91), Guy Welton (76) and Paul Johnson (56 not out) saw the visitors to safety.

In the Norwich Union League, Kent took a measure of revenge for their Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy semi-final defeat by Somerset with a 126-run win at Canterbury.

Ed Smith's 83 underpinned Kent's 238 for 6 in the First Division match. Somerset's reply lasted just 33 overs as they slumped to a paltry 112 all out.

Durham kept alive their faint hopes of avoiding relegation with a timely five-wicket win over Leicestershire.

The seamer Neil Killeen's 4 for 12 in nine overs restricted Leicestershire to 230 all out.

There were three 50s in Durham's successful reply – Gary Pratt (60 not out), Michael Gough (54) and Jon Lewis (52) doing the honours. In the end it was the Pratts who got Durham home with seven balls to spare, Gary joined at the crease by his big brother Andrew.

A telling all-round performance from Robert Croft helped Glamorgan leapfrog Yorkshire on the fringes of the title race.

Croft figured in an opening stand of 84 in a home total of 149 for 6 from 22 overs in a rain-affected match at Cardiff.

Croft and his fellow spinner Dean Cosker (4 for 17) then took seven wickets as Yorkshire fell 21 runs short of a Duckworth-Lewis target despite a 39-ball 55 from Chris Silverwood at the top of the order.

In the Second Division, Northamptonshire thumped their fellow promotion hopefuls Middlesex by 214 runs at Lord's.

A 128-ball innings of 110 from Australian Mike Hussey set the tone in a 125-run opening stand with Mal Loye (56) as Northamptonshire racked up 286 for 7, with Jeff Cook (61) scoring at almost two runs a ball down the order. Shell-shocked Middlesex then had no answer to Darren Cousins, who took 5 for 22 as the hapless hosts were bowled out for 72 in 24 overs.

Essex moved above Derbyshire with a 49-run victory at the Racecourse Ground.

The left-arm seamer Kevin Dean (4 for 33) was Derbyshire's most successful bowler as Essex reached 209 for 7, thanks principally to Andy Flower (52) and Jon Dakin (45 not out). But Justin Bishop, employing the same method as Dean, took 3 for 39 and help harry the hosts out for 160 inside 38 overs.

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