McGrath pushes Surrey nearer the drop

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The County champions, Yorkshire, made a stuttering start against Surrey at The Oval on the first day of a match the home side need to win to ward off their relegation fears.

The Tykes overcame the early blow of losing Chris Taylor lbw to Martin Bicknell for just seven runs to reach a total of 179 for 5 at the close. Anthony McGrath led the Yorkshire revival with an unbeaten 69.

Surrey have struggled this year after two successive Championships and will need to make swift inroads into the Yorkshire batting line-up tomorrow to avoid the drop to the Second Division.

Somerset, second in the First Division and fresh from their Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy triumph on Saturday, had their captain, Jamie Cox, to thank for steering them to a total of 304 for 5 against Essex at Chelmsford yesterday. The Tasmanian cracked an impressive 175 not out, passing 1,000 runs for the season in the process. He was assisted by Rob Turner, who chipped in with 65.

Durham started slowly in their match against Worcestershire at the Riverside. Durham scored only 15 off 11 overs in the opening session. They picked up the run-rate after lunch, reaching 215 for 2 at the close with Jonathan Lewis 97 not out and Paul Collingwood 41 not out.

Dominic Hewson hit 168 to put promotion-chasing Gloucestershire in total command against the bottom-placed Derbyshire. The Australian Ian Harvey also weighed in with a century, scoring 104 off just 61 balls, as Gloucestershire reached an imposing total of 418 for five at the close.

* Jim Love yesterday resigned as Scotland coach following their failure to qualify for the World Cup in 2003. The former Yorkshire and England player has held the position for nine and a half years and has been behind the growth of the game north of the border.